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Will democracy in the Philippines go the way of Thailand?

Will democracy in the Philippines go the way of Thailand? by Michael Vatikiotis, 14/09/2017, The Economist

Rodrigo Duterte bears many similarities to Thaksin Shinawatra

WHEN Filipinos attempt to explain the political success of their tough-guy president, Rodrigo Duterte, they tend to point to local precursors. Joseph Estrada, a former matinée idol who had often played Robin Hood types, rose to the presidency by promising to be hard on bad guys and good to the poor. And then there is Ferdinand Marcos, who cultivated an image as a war hero to win election before assuming dictatorial powers, and whose reputation Mr Duterte is doing his best to restore.

Both these comparisons make Mr Duterte’s knack of casting himself as a friend of the people while giving short shrift to the niceties of democracy seem like a function of Philippine politics, in which populists occasionally attempt to stir up resentment against the hereditary caste of landowners who dominate government and the economy. After all, despite regular elections and much talk of reform, the 40 best-connected families still control about three-quarters of the Philippines’ wealth. Poverty is equally entrenched, as a visit to Manila’s slums or the southern, partly Muslim island of Mindanao makes clear.

But the Philippines is not the only country in South-East Asia with an entrenched establishment presiding over profound inequality. Most are blighted by single-party rule, or by a political churn which does not seem to have much impact on local power structures. Thailand, with a monarchy manipulated by the elites, is a case in point. The purpose of 12 military coups, two in the past 12 years, has been, as Michael Vatikiotis argues in “Blood and Silk”, a perceptive new book on the region, to maintain “an imposing if arcane edifice of power and [cultivate] a conservative mindset that has prevented the devolution of power and autonomy to ordinary people.”

Lire la suite sur : https://www.economist.com/news/asia/21728953-rodrigo-duterte-bears-many-similarities-thaksin-shinawatra-will-democracy-philippines-go?frsc=dg%7Ce

Rohingya identity and the limits to history

Rohingya identity and the limits to history by Jonathan Saha, 17/09/2017, New Mandala

Public discussions around Rohingya people currently fleeing violence in Rakhine state, Myanmar, have often involved arguments about history. While critical historical analysis is useful in offering insights into conflicts, History—if treated as a single, knowable past—is not. This is especially true when dealing with ethnicity. Whatever the past was, no amount of historical research can justify the current violence against Rohingya people.

The debate around Rohingya ethnicity lacks awareness of wider historiography (the history of historical research). On the one side, those denying that this is ethnic cleansing argue that there is no such thing as a Rohingya ethnic group. It is claimed that these people are actually Bengali Muslim migrants. The writings of historians such as Jacques Lieder have been used, by some, to support this position. He argues that the use of the term Rohingya to connote this Muslim population, although noted by eighteenth-century European travelers, is a modern one. For him, Rohingya is primarily a political identity. On the other side, Rohingya activists have resisted this characterisation. They have countered that there is evidence of Muslims living in the Rakhine region for centuries, and that these groups have periodically been called Rohingya.

Writing in The Diplomat last year, one commentator attempted to disentangle these debates by arguing that “the Rohingya are not an ethnic, but rather a political construction. [emphasis in original]”. This is wrong. Not only wrong in the sense of it being inaccurate, but wrong in two other ways: 1) in that it relies on a false division between the categories “political” and “ethnic”, and then treats the two as if they are mutually exclusive; and 2) in that it assumes that we can definitively know people’s ethnic identification in the past.

Lire la suite sur : http://www.newmandala.org/rohingya-limits-history/

Alexandra de Mersan  » Retour en Arakan ou comment comprendre la lente exclusion des Rohingyas « 

Zones de conflits au Myanmar depuis 1995 (carte datée de 2016). CentreLeftRight, Aoetearoa/Wikimedia

 

 

Le 25 août dernier, des membres d’une organisation armée dénommée l’Armée de libération des Rohingyas de l’Arakan (ARSA) ont mené une série d’attaques contre des postes de police dans l’État d’Arakan (ou Rakhine), à l’ouest de la Birmanie, afin de « défendre et de protéger la communauté musulmane d’Arakan ».

En octobre 2016, ce groupe avait déjà attaqué trois postes frontière dans la région. La réponse de l’armée birmane et les affrontements qui ont suivi ont provoqué en l’espace de deux semaines, un nouvel exode de musulmans dans le Bangladesh voisin. Quelques 300 000 réfugiés sont alors venus s’ajouter à d’autres dizaines de milliers, installés dans des camps, ou alentours, près de la frontière, tandis que les autres populations civiles d’Arakan non musulmanes, bouddhistes et hindoues surtout, se réfugiaient vers le sud de la région.

Lire la suite

intervention d’Alexandra de Mersan sur RFI – samedi 16 sept. 20h10 Géopolitique, le débat Podcast La transition démocratique et la stabilité de la Birmanie sont-elles menacées?

Des Rohingyas dans le camp de réfugiés de Kutapalong, au Bangladesh, où ils ont fui la répression de l’armée birmane, le 9 septembre 2017.© AFP/Munir UZ ZAMAN

 

Le cap des 350.000 musulmans Rohingyas réfugiés au Bangladesh pour fuir les violences a été franchi. L’ONU évoque ce qui semble être un exemple classique de nettoyage ethnique. Que veut l’armée birmane ? Aung Saan Suu Kyi à la tête de l’Etat birman est-elle impuissante ou indifférente ?

Invités :
Sophie Boisseau du Rocher, chercheure associée au Centre Asie de l’IFRI.
Alexandra de Mersan, enseignante chercheure à l’INALCO. Rattachée du Centre Asie du Sud-Est au CNRS. Détachée à l’IRASEC, l’Institut de Recherche sur l’Asie du Sud-Est Contemporaine.

 

Spatializing Enlightened Civilization in the Era of Translating Vernacular Modernity: Colonial Vietnamese Intellectuals’ Adventure Tales and Travelogues, 1910s–1920s

« Spatializing Enlightened Civilization in the Era of Translating Vernacular Modernity: Colonial Vietnamese Intellectuals’ Adventure Tales and Travelogues, 1910s–1920s » by Yufeng Chang in The Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 73, n° 3, August 2017

This article examines the strategy of literary spatialization employed by colonial subjects to imaginatively engage with colonial civilizing projects. It analyzes twelve adventure stories written between the 1910s and 1920s by colonial Vietnamese reformed scholars, whose lives were impacted by the pan-Asian reform movements that swept Japan, China, and Vietnam between the 1860s and 1900s. They reflected their experiences with Enlightened civilization as they were pushing for vernacularization and modernization through translating the Chinese transculturation of Japanese texts into Latin-based quốc ngữ script while constructing a national literature. Adventure tales and travelogues were considered suitable for aspiring writers to translatively imitate Western literature as presented in Chinese translation of Japanese texts. The authors negotiated with the French version of Enlightened Civilization by employing two East Asian literary tropes: the dangerous but exciting Rivers-and-Lakes World, where the protagonist ventures to search for văn minh, and the peaceful and other-worldly Peach Blossom Spring utopia, where the true qualities of văn minh are realized. These stories reveal colonial subjects’ admiration for and anxiety regarding the French mission civilisatrice, and their literary efforts to imagine a Vietnamese văn minh that would both impress and surpass the original models.

Voir : https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-asian-studies/article/spatializing-enlightened-civilization-in-the-era-of-translating-vernacular-modernity-colonial-vietnamese-intellectuals-adventure-tales-and-travelogues-1910s1920s/878B6571DC96BFDD288864B169756EA5

Putting Myanmar’s “Buddhist Extremism” in an International Context

Putting Myanmar’s “Buddhist Extremism” in an International Context by Aye Thein, 01/09/2017, Tea Circle (Oxford)

Aye Thein argues that the international influences on “Buddhist extremism” have been overlooked.

This article further develops an idea I had briefly discussed in an earlier piece written for New Mandala in February 2017. A recent phenomenon in Myanmar, which has been called by different names by commentators depending on their preference, has put the country in the international spotlight. It has been characterised, among others terms, as “Buddhist nationalist”, “ultra-nationalist”, “militant Buddhist” and “Buddhist extremist”, the latter being used in the title of this article. MaBaTha or the Organisation for the Protection of Race and Religion, being the largest of the groups described by these various terms, has triggered a good deal of scholarly and journalistic attention.

What is problematic with the articles such as the ones using the terms quoted above is that most of them overemphasise the role of these groups as promoters of Islamophobia. In order to advance our understanding of this worrying trend, I will make the case here that more attention needs to be given to another role Buddhist nationalist groups play, which has hitherto been glossed over or commented on only in passing: that is, that they are in fact voracious consumers, albeit uncritical and selective, of global media coverage on Islam. This is where the international factor comes in.

Based on my reading of recent literature of the Buddhist nationalists in the Burmese language, I have observed at least three ways in which the international factor feeds into Islamophobia, as consumed and purveyed by these groups in Myanmar.

Lire la suite sur : https://teacircleoxford.com/2017/09/01/putting-myanmars-buddhist-extremism-in-an-international-context/

The Staying Power of Dynastic Politicians in the Philippines

The Staying Power of Dynastic Politicians in the Philippines by Nico Ravanilla, Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia (Issue 22), Young Academics Voice, September 2017

… And How We Might Think About Reforms that Could Undermine Their Entrenchment.

Elections in the Philippines are a family affair. Family dynasties control the political landscape, fielding candidates at all levels of government. The current makeup of the Philippine Senate is illustrative: a third of current Filipino Senators are either related to one of the last six Presidents or to former members of the Senate. But where political families are most prevalent is at the local level. What explains why the Philippines tend to elect candidates from the same set of political clans?

One explanation is that dynastic candidates tend to come from central families in social networks, and these families have an advantage in winning office. In a recent article published in American Economic Review, Cruz, Labonne and Querubin (forthcoming) find evidence that centrality in family networks matter a lot for the electoral success of mayoral candidates in the Philippines. Candidates from central families are not only more likely to stand for office; they also capture greater vote-shares all else equal. But what explains the electoral success of candidates from well-connected families? In a new paper, my co-authors and I argue that a key part of the answer is because family networks matter a lot to voters.

Lire la suite sur : https://kyotoreview.org/yav/the-staying-power-of-dynastic-politicians-in-the-philippines/

 

 

Political Communication and Transformative Citizenship in Myanmar (Part II)

Political Communication and Transformative Citizenship in Myanmar (Part II) by Matthew J. Walton, 07/09/2017, Tea Circle (Oxford)

One of the holy grails of democratic studies is the idea of transformative citizenship. Many have theorized about how democracy could be transformative or how engaged citizenship could transform relationships between citizens and government, but it is difficult to really track this concept.

A national political dialogue process made up of biannual 21st Century Panglong Conferences, themselves consisting of 700 elite representatives mostly drawn from a few centrally important institutions, reflects multiple views on citizenship, none of them transformative in empowering or ennobling ways. It further privileges direct political participation and decision-making for a select few, while imposing a set of passive citizenship practices on the vast majority of the population. A meaningful voice in political decision-making (particularly about their own affairs) is the central complaint of almost every interest group in Myanmar, from ethnic armed groups to women’s organisations to opposition parties and student unions. Yet almost every step of the process leading to the current national political dialogue framework (from initial negotiations between a small government team and ethnic armed group leaders through to the drafting of the final framework by a nine member, all male group behind closed doors) has reinforced the notion that for most, citizenship is primarily a non-participatory notion, merely the act of being represented. And this type of citizenship cannot be transformative in the sense of turning people into more active, knowledgeable, inter-connected, and empathetic members of a political community.

What types of citizen engagement might be potentially transformative? A 2011 study looked at the presumed benefits of citizen participation in democratic governance and found that the positive effects of expanded participation are noticeable primarily to those actually taking part, which should not be surprising. The study specified these benefits as coming in the form of “knowledge, skills, and [democratic] virtues” (Michels 2011, 290). This insight helps to distinguish between the effects of different types of “democratic innovations,” for example referendums and deliberative forums. While referendums seem to result in more direct policy influence, deliberative forums would contribute more to individual citizen development, not to mention the embeddedness that seems to be so critical in the citizen-political community relationship.

Lire la suite : https://teacircleoxford.com/2017/09/07/political-communication-and-transformative-citizenship-in-myanmar-part-ii/

Political Communication and Transformative Citizenship in Myanmar (Part I)

Political Communication and Transformative Citizenship in Myanmar (Part I) by Matthew J. Walton, 06/09/2017, Tea Circle (Oxford)

Citizenship is undoubtedly one of the more contentious issues in Myanmar today. But with so much focus on the boundaries of national inclusion, discussions usually ignore a key aspect of citizenship: its practice. The following two posts are excerpted from a chapter that will appear in an upcoming volume, Citizenship in Myanmar: ways of being in and from Burma, edited by Ashley South and Marie Lall (ISEAS Press and Chiang Mai University Press, 2018).

The practice of citizenship includes various perspectives on what citizenship entails (the different rights and responsibilities), the roles of state and civil society groups in fostering citizenship, and expectations of citizen participation (as well as expectations of the state in facilitating that participation). A discussion of the practice of citizenship should also include attention to the many “skills” of citizenship that go beyond basic rights and responsibilities. Especially important—but often unaddressed—are the particular citizenship skills that need to be cultivated by government officials.

Developing a broader understanding of a diverse range of citizenship skills and practices is particularly necessary in the context of Myanmar’s rapid political change. Since at least the 2008 constitutional referendum, the country’s citizens have been expected to participate in politics in a variety of ways that were not only previously unavailable to them, they were actively denied by military-led governments. The result is a situation in which the meaning and content of citizenship is either limited among citizens or expressed in ways that do not necessarily accord with centralized notions of citizenship and participation in Myanmar or with international norms.

In these two posts, I consider the practice of citizenship primarily in relation to the national political dialogue process, now officially reconfigured as the 21st Century Panglong Conference, arguably the forum that (in some form or another) will shape Myanmar’s political future. This is a useful starting point for critical analysis, especially because many of the crucial aspects of citizenship practice that I discuss are completely ignored in the current political dialogue process.

Lire la suite sur : https://teacircleoxford.com/2017/09/06/political-communication-and-transformative-citizenship-in-myanmar-part-i/

Feminist Fiction From the Philippines, Written 50 Years Ago

« Feminist Fiction From the Philippines, Written 50 Years Ago » by Melissa Chadburn, 01/09/2017, The New York Times

To enter the world of “The Woman Who Had Two Navels and Tales of the Tropical Gothic,” your faith must bend to the following: Time travel exists. Shapeshifting is possible. And a woman could be in power.

Nick Joaquin is considered one of the Philippines’ greatest writers. By introducing him here, the publisher Elda Rotor continues her careful curation of Filipino classics for Penguin’s roster. With authoritarian threats surging in both his home country and the United States, Joaquin’s re-emergence feels especially timely. Born in 1917, and a young man during World War II, he depicts war’s effects on a population still capable of rebellious celebration. Fluent in Spanish, Tagalog, and street slang, Joaquin wrote in English but summoned a space between languages. He was not a joiner but a man of singular pursuits. “I have no hobbies, no degrees; belong to no party, club or association,” he once said. “I like long walks … Dickens and Booth Tarkington, the old Garbo pictures, anything with Fred Astaire.” He was also defiant, even against dictatorship: When he was named National Artist of the Philippines in 1976, he said he would accept the honor only if Ferdinand Marcos freed the imprisoned poet Jose F. Lacaba. Marcos obliged.

Drafted in an age of strongmen, during the first two decades of the country’s postcolonial period between 1946 and 1965, the 11 works collected in this volume — 10 stories and a play — read as feminist. The story “Three Generations” presents a battle of two masculine wills, but a woman’s inner life drives it: The patriarch is mystified “by a certain nakedness in his wife’s mind; in the minds of all women, for that matter. You took them for what they appeared: shy, reticent, bred by nuns, but after marriage, though they continued to look demure, there was always in their attitude toward sex, an amused irony, even a deliberate coarseness.” Though they may lack the trappings of external power, women maintain the emotional and sexual self-possession to direct Joaquin’s narrative outcomes.

Lire la suite sur : https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/01/books/review/nick-joaquin-the-woman-who-had-two-navels-and-tales-of-the-tropical-gothic.html

Myanmar’s Peace Process (Part III)

« Myanmar’s Peace Process: Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration, Borderland Economies, Service Delivery, and other Post-Panglong Concerns » (Part III) by Bobby Anderson, 25/08/2017, Tea Circle (Oxford)

DDR processes are only one aspect of the state building process that will need to occur in EAO areas; durable peace will only arrive when communities in EAO areas discern value in citizenship, and so a distrusted state must deliver health, education, and other services, and offer impartial protections, including the provision of land tenure. Education is particularly important: successful reintegration and enhanced livelihood security in EAO areas are fundamentally a question of human resources, the foundation of which is public schools. Across Myanmar, the educational system is in need of repair, and this is doubly so in many EAO areas. Education is supposed to create citizens as well as workers literate in a common language. A lack of vocational and technical training centers, not only in areas accessible to EAO populations, but in Myanmar as a whole, is also an urgent issue. These matters warrant much greater exploration— exploration that is beyond the scope of this analysis, however.  Afghanistan amply demonstrates how both DDR and alternative livelihood programs fail when they are standalone programs occurring in areas lacking the administrative, service-oriented, and coercive presence of the state. 

The process of state building in insurgent areas will occur through an inflow of Bamar civil servants into these areas to deliver services, and this will also lead to resentment. As a rule of thumb, many EAO host populations will not possess the requisite human resource capacity to completely staff education, health, and general administrative posts. Business and capital, some of it exploitative, will follow. Migrants historically dominate local markets in newly colonized areas; Chinese already play this role in Kachin, while Naga markets in Northeast India are dominated by Marwaris and Biharis, and Han Chinese in Tibet. This can also cynically play into conflict resolution efforts, if it gives struggling ex-EAOs entities to levy extra legal taxes on.

Myanmar’s ethnic minorities—and for that matter, China’s Tibetans, Indonesia’s highland Papuans, Thailand’s hill tribes, and others—know that uncontrolled in-migration will reduce them to minorities, with their cultures and lands subsumed by newcomers. James C Scott’s engulfment— defined as the settlement of loyal (read: docile) populations with an existing “national” identity in areas where such identity was lacking among indigenous peoples— may occur as a part of an unstated but overarching government strategy to dilute the concentration of peoples with separatist tendencies in sensitive areas.

Lire la suite sur : https://teacircleoxford.com/2017/08/25/myanmars-peace-process-disarmament-demobilization-and-reintegration-borderland-economies-service-delivery-and-other-post-panglong-concerns-part-iii/

Myanmar’s Peace Process (Part II)

« Myanmar’s Peace Process: Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration, Borderland Economies, Service Delivery, and other Post-Panglong Concerns » (Part II) by Bobby Anderson, 24/08/2017, Tea Circle (Oxford)

Disarmament:

The government of Myanmar possesses the capacity to undertake disarmament and demobilization processes. But what it is still theoretically building with EAOs is the trust necessary to engage in such a process. Despite this, the government is unlikely to go down the well-trod path many other states have travelled via the subcontracting of Disarmament and Demobilization processes to the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and other UN agencies that have expertise in such work. China’s acquiescence, however, matters here: elements of One Belt, One Road require the stability in Myanmar’s border with Yunnan, and this has been amply demonstrated by the involvement of special envoy Sun Guoxiang in the latest Panglong Meeting. It is unlikely that China would involve itself in disarmament and demobilization directly; a process under the auspices, not of the EU or DPKO, but of ASEAN, may be more palatable for them.

The disarmament aspect of DDR is a technically easy, time-bound process that only requires the will of each entity to engage with the other, under third party facilitation. This may involve insurgent entry into cantonments and dual-key weapons storage after a given peace process reaches a certain pre-defined milestone. The weapons initially handed over will likely be constituted in large part by “museum pieces”, while better functioning weaponry is held back in case Panglong 21 breaks down, or for sale. Implicit in such a process is the building up of state police forces in insurgent areas— often made up of ex-insurgents under state command— in a structure resembling BGFs, but more lightly armed.

Lire la suite sur : https://teacircleoxford.com/2017/08/24/myanmars-peace-process-disarmament-demobilization-and-reintegration-borderland-economies-service-delivery-and-other-post-panglong-concerns-part-ii/

Myanmar’s Peace Process (Part I)

« Myanmar’s Peace Process: Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration, Borderland Economies, Service Delivery, and other Post-Panglong Concerns » (Part I) by Bobby Anderson, 23/08/2017, Tea Circle (Oxford)

Myanmar’s history is defined by violence between a relatively stable lowland Bamar core and a fragile non-Bamar highland periphery. The country hosts numerous ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) including the world’s longest-running separatist insurgency. Since independence in 1948, Myanmar has never met Weber’s minimalist definition of a state as the holder of the monopoly of the use of physical force within a given territory. Beginning from a low point in 1948, when Karen separatists were assembled on the outskirts of Rangoon, Myanmar’s army or Tatmadaw grew over the years into a formidable military force as it asserted central control over all lowland areas, pushing insurgents year-by-year into more inhospitable and state-resistant terrain.

The country’s “Panglong 21” Peace Process, which seeks to end 70 years of insurgency in the country’s borderlands, has been subjected to significant criticism, not least from the participants themselves. Of the 17 EAOs who have signed the National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), in July 2017, eight formed a “Peace Process Steering Team” to evaluate the current NCA, referring to it as a “deviation from the path they had envisioned.” Other EAOs excluded from signing by the Tatmadaw, and still others who declined to participate, have come together under a bloc, the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee (FPNCC), led by the most powerful EAO in the country, the United Wa State Party, but the government refuses to negotiate with them collectively. A previous bloc, the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), has, for all intents and purposes, fallen apart. Apparent from the process is the disconnect between the EAOs and the Tatmadaw in regard to sequencing: for example, EAOs want a political dialogue about the parameters of a federal state followed by security sector and constitutional reform, after which disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants (DDR) shall occur. Conversely, the Tatmadaw want DDR immediately, pressing for a disarmament prior to political negotiations. Each side has its own understanding of federalism that is, so far, incompatible with the other.

Lire la suite sur : https://teacircleoxford.com/2017/08/23/myanmars-peace-process-disarmament-demobilization-and-reintegration-borderland-economies-service-delivery-and-other-post-panglong-concerns-part-i/

 

East Timor’s “Red Rosa”

« East Timor’s “Red Rosa” » by David Hutt, 18/08/2017, New Mandala

When East Timor gained its independence in May 2002, after a 24-year struggle against Indonesian occupation, how to compensate those who fought was one of the first decisions the new government had to make. By September of that year, two commissions had been established to register veterans of the armed struggle. Almost 40,000 people registered at the time, and a further 76,000 registered when another commission was established two years later. Veterans’ benefits are a sensitive issue in East Timor. Misgivings about favouritism were partly behind the 2006 violence that spread throughout the nation, while a significant chunk of the state budget is still today handed over for pensions, not without politically-motivated reasons.

But more aggrieved than most were the women of East Timor. In the first two commissions, out of 36,959 registered individuals only 13 were women. At the 2004 commission, which was intended for those who had fought in the clandestine resistance, 10,337 of the 76,061 registered were women—roughly 13%. This is despite some estimates that as many as 60% of the clandestinos (as they are known) were female…

When I visited Dili in 2015, an idle afternoon provided me the time to wander the city. Under a sedulous sun, I stopped to rest in a small, unassuming park that I later discovered is dedicated to Rosa “Muki” Bonaparte Soares, a little known but important figure of the early nationalist movement. Back home, I consulted the books I own on East Timorese history: Bonaparte’s name arose only in either a long list of other names from the period or as a passing reference to her stewardship of the OPMT. Academic essays bore more fruit. Perhaps the finest exploration of Bonaparte’s life, and of the East Timorese women’s movement during the 1970s, is Hannah Loney’s essay, “The Target of a Double Exploitation: Gender and Nationalism in Portuguese Timor, 1974–75”, published in 2015.

Bonaparte was one of only three women—along with Maria do Céu Pereira and Guilhermina Araújo—to be part of FRETILIN’s original 50-strong central committee. And, on 28 August 1975, she was named Secretary General of the first East Timorese women’s organisation, the OPMT. It wasn’t long before organisation chapters spread across the half-island nation, with 7,000 members within weeks. Free classes were provided to illiterate women and, for the first time, taught in the Timorese language, Tetum, and crèches were established for child-care.

Lire la suite sur : http://www.newmandala.org/rosa-bonaparte-east-timors-red-rosa/

In Indonesia, Chinese Deity Is Covered in Sheet After Muslims Protest

« In Indonesia, Chinese Deity Is Covered in Sheet After Muslims Protest » by Russell Goldman, 10/08/2017, The New York Times

A 100-foot statue depicting a Chinese deity was covered with an enormous sheet this past weekend in East Java Province, Indonesia, after Muslims threatened to tear the colossus down amid mounting ethnic and religious tensions across the country.

The Islamist campaign against the statue, a depiction of the third-century general Guan Yu, who is worshiped as a god in several Chinese religions, began online and soon spread to the gates of a Chinese Confucian temple in Tuban, near the Java Sea coast, where the figure was erected last month.

On social media, Muslims assailed the statue as an “uncivilized” affront to Islam and the island’s “home people,” and a mob gathered this week outside the East Java legislature in the city of Surabaya to demand its destruction.

Statues deemed un-Islamic have been destroyed or vandalized around Indonesia in recent years, and several Chinese temples have been set on fire. Covering the statue with a large white tarp was a stopgap measure proposed by the temple’s officials after a governmental religious body pushed them to find a solution…

Colossal statues of Guan Yu have been erected around the world. The Tuban statue, which took more than a year to build at a cost of about $188,000, is the largest of its type in Southeast Asia, according to Indonesia’s Museum of World Records.

Lire la suite sur : https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/10/world/asia/indonesia-chinese-statue-islam-muslims-protest-guan-yu.html