Burma stands on a knife edge of hope and fear, threatened by extreme Buddhist nationalism, writes Yangon Archbishop Charles Bo in The Washington Post.
During the past three years, President Thein Sein's government has taken significant steps to relax restrictions and permit a more open society. Many political prisoners have been freed, civil society and media are being allowed more room to operate, and democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi sits in parliament after years of imprisonment. The world has rightly welcomed these streaks of hope.
Yet my country's transformation is still in its infancy. There is a long way to go. The ray of sunshine that the world has heralded is in danger of being replaced by storm clouds. Concern fills our hearts as we see darkness compete with hope. We pray this is not a false dawn.
For five decades, Burma endured crucifixion on a cross of injustice bearing five nails: dictatorship, war, displacement, poverty and oppression. Today, a new crucifixion threatens the country, with five new nails: land-grabbing, corruption, economic injustice, ethnic conflict and displacement and religious hatred and violence.
Burma is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious country, with a majority Burman, Buddhist population. If Burma is to be truly free, peaceful and prosperous, the rights of all ethnicities and religious faiths must be protected. A movement that has grown in volume and influence threatens this: extreme Buddhist nationalism.
- Archbishop Charles Bo
Read more: Burma needs tolerance to reach its potential (The Washington Post)