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From the Venerable W review - the toxic friar behind Myanmar's anti-Muslim venetta | Movie
The overwhelmingly dark Barbet Schroeder film about the Buddhist friar who fosters hatred of Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims is the third in his newly created "Trilogy of Evil" - a troubling set of documents, the first two of which were General Idi Amin Dada in 1974 and Terror's Advocate, who advocated Klaus Barbie's ingenious, cigar-smoking Jacques Vergès in 2007.
It' actually about Ashin Wirathu, an orange-clad Buddhist friar with a crowd of followers who, despite his flimsy and almost sluggish nature, is a fanatic anti-Muslim campaigner who uses societal medias and incessant programs of popular speech and CD recommendation to incite hatred against the Rohingya Muslims - and claims that they are a Saudi-backed Bangladesh uprising whose goal is to invade the state.
At the end of the movie Ichathu himself abandons his silent manners for a harsh talk that calls the UN commissioner for the protection of fundamental freedoms Yanghee Lee a "whore", and for a sour interviewer who mocks Angela Merkel. The Times magazin published a title piece about Erathu in 2013, but Schroeder's movie gives a more substantive and gastrointestinal in-depth account of the man, which is all the more pertinent as Aung San Suu Kyi's downfall by mercy has drawn our gaze to Myanmar's being a sect.
Schroeder's movie convincingly points out that Rohingya's pursuit is nothing new. Beat up and kill the Moslem population is a classic, risk-free way of affirming Myanmar's struggling state. The Buddhist friars of the land are a willing milice. In this movie there are cruel pictures of force that remind me of Josh Oppenheimer's The Act of Keying (2012) and The Look of Silence (2014), about the violent clashes in Indonesia, or maybe Matthew Heineman's City of Ghosts (2017) about Isis in Raqqa.
So, is this movie further proof that we are living the 1930' s again? That ridiculously toxic friar reminds me of the Belgian-born reporter and spokesman Georges Ruggiu, whose insurgent programmes in Rwanda against the Tutsis were a major cause of the massacre. There is the same hint of purely Iranian malice like Wirathu, something that has no acronym.
And, of course, there is the example of Bosnia's genocide: massive murders in the heart of Europe, where "never again" has been a biological cantra. Weathu even claims that Rohingyas are burning their own village people on fire to receive global assistance.
Perhaps Wirathu had been studying Serbian PR in the 1990s: they said that the Muslims were bombarding their own position in Sarajevo. It' a dark, gloomy, yet necessary one.