Religious and racial hatred simmers in the once repressed southeast Asian country of Myanmar.

Optimism for the country's reforms is fast fading as tensions between majority Buddhist and minority Muslim communities have left over 250 people dead and displaced more than 140,000.

In the newly liberated media, free speech has quickly turned to hate speech, drowning out moderate voices. Some say powerful interests are igniting decades of suppressed prejudice in order to derail the country's transition to democracy.

Unless leaders and moderate voices are willing to speak out, only the loudest and most extreme voices will be heard. Unless the country can come to embrace its diversity, and see it as a strength, peace and stability could remain elusive. Pro-democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi famously wrote about freedom from fear, but can Myanmar now free itself from hate?

101 East returns to Myanmar to investigate whether dark schemes are at play, or if the country faces a more fundamental problem - a crisis of national identity.


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Comment by Napoleon Bonaparte on October 25, 2013 at 3:02am

I can't stand Buddhists.

You hear them say Buddhism is the religion of peace and tolerance but it is a load of crap.

In Myanmar it is not the first time that Buddhism has embraced nationalism. Let us not forget Imperial Japan of the last century when coastal China was occupied and atrocities were committed on Chinese civilians and the use of prisoners of war as guinea pigs for germ warfare experiments. The Buddhist Japanese took Singapore and used British and Australian POW's as slave labour in atrocious conditions. The Japanese armies advance was stopped by Australian soldiers in Indonesia and New Guinea so Australian citizens were saved from tyranny and enslavement.

I find Buddhism to be a joke. In Thailand today orange robed monks are a common sight. On my first visit to that country a monk approached me and I decided to hear him out. He purported to deepen my understanding of myself and predict my future before demanding 10 baht for his divine services. Being on unfamiliar territory I gave him the money to get rid of him. What a crap head !

Comment by Napoleon Bonaparte on October 18, 2013 at 12:55am

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