NEWS: Burmese Pagoda Inauspiciously Collapses

The wife of Myanmar’s supreme leader, Senior General Than Shwe, blessed the Danok pagoda in a ceremony on May 7, adorning it with a “diamond orb.” Several weeks later, the 2300-year-old structure collapsed. Many people, both within Burma and outside the country, believe that the pagoda’s collapse is the most recent of several bad omens for the ruling junta, which has kept Burma’s democratically elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, under house arrest for the past nineteen years. While Than Shwe has been trying to legitimize his authority by engaging in acts with significant Buddhist symbolism, many Burmese Buddhists see this recent incident as further proof that Than Shwe does not possess the spiritual power that he would like. His dedication to Buddhism was also brought into question in 2007, when protesting Buddhist monks were beaten, shot, and detained by the military government. Read more here.

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