September 2017 will mark the 10th anniversary of the so-called “Saffron Revolution.” Tens of thousands of monks and nuns, eventually joined by laypeople, marched in cities across the country, continuing a protest against military rule and government policies that was started by lay activists, but taken up by the religious community. After several days of growing anticipation and rapidly expanding global media coverage, the marches were brought to a halt by a violent crackdown from security forces, followed by raids and increased surveillance of monasteries.
People inside and outside of Myanmar were captivated by the images of monks chanting and marching in protest, although misperceptions of the event’s dynamics and the motivations of participants were also widespread, especially among outside observers. Even its evocative title is contested, both for the fact that Burmese monks’ robes are not saffron-coloured and because some are reluctant to associate the term “revolution” with what was seen by some as a form of spiritual resistance. While a wide consensus exists that this was an important moment in the recent political and social life of Myanmar—and to some extent maybe even in its religious life—there are a great variety of opinions over the event’s origins, its history, its role in the change the country has experienced since then and its general significance.
Tea Circle would like to take the opportunity offered by this anniversary to reflect on the “Saffron Revolution,” and to offer a space for considering and debating this variety of perspectives. We invite personal recollections, opinion pieces, critical analyses, or any other type of writing. Multi-media submissions are also welcome. Tea Circle is open not only to academic analysis but to anyone who wishes to share his/her views in reflecting on this important event in Myanmar’s recent history.
Submissions can be submitted any time and should be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Saffron Revolution.” The text of the submission should be attached in a word document with minimal formatting (although hyperlinks are welcome). A short biography (under 100 words) should be included in the document, as well as a proposed title for the piece and a related image, if possible. We will make every effort to provide prompt feedback on submissions and the forum will run for at least two months, allowing readers to interact with previous posts.