From the Archive

The Saffron Revolution in Cartoons

By The Irrawaddy 15 September 2017

When the popular demonstrations led by monks, dubbed the Saffron Revolution, shook Myanmar in 2007, The Irrawaddy provided extensive coverage of the nationwide protests for the international community. One of the most notable parts of the coverage was the editorial cartoons published in the magazine and online at the time by our then in-house artist Harn Lay and contributor Stephff. As this September marks the 10th anniversary of the revolution, here is a selection of Saffron Revolution related cartoons we have published in the past.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Guns. Sept. 28, 2007. (Stephff)

Japanese photojournalist Kenji Nagai was shot dead by security forces in downtown Yangon on Sept. 27, 2007 while he was covering the peaceful protest led by Buddhist monks.

‘We Will Deal with the Protests in a Correct Manner’—Junta official. Sept. 26 2007. (Harn Lay)

When hundreds of Buddhist monks took to the streets for economic and political protests on behalf of their followers in September 2007, the then military junta brutally cracked down on them. Prior to the crackdown, a member of the government said they would handle the demonstrations properly.

A Bold Step Forward. Sept. 20, 2007. (Stephff)

In a surprise move to the military government, hundreds of Buddhist monks staged peaceful protests against the junta over the economic and political woes their followers were suffering. The protests in September ten years ago turned out to be the biggest since the 1988 Uprising.

No Thanks, We’ll Handle This Our Way.  Oct. 12, 2007. (Harn Lay)

When the United States and some European countries attempted to push through a resolution that would condemn the Burmese government for its bloody crackdown on the Saffron Revolution, China blocked the attempt, saying such a move would “not be useful” as the protests were a domestic issue and did not constitute a threat to regional and international peace.

‘As Always, We Are Closely Watching Events.’ Sept. 19, 2007. (Harn Lay)

When the army and their thugs staged violent crackdowns against the monk-led protests in September 2007, Myanmar’s neighboring China and Asean decided not to intervene.

‘Hold on, I Think He’s Got a Weapon! It’s a Bomb! No Wait…It’s a Rice Bowl. Repeat, Suspect Has a Rice Bowl!’ Sept. 24, 2008. (Harn Lay)

Buddhist monks led street protests in Yangon in September 2007. Despite the religious status of monks in Myanmar, the security forces were under instructions to treat them as common criminals.

‘Lay Down Your Alms or We’ll Open Fire.’ Printed in the November 2007 issue of Irrawaddy Magazine. (Harn Lay)

A hike in fuel prices led to street protests in Yangon in September 2007. Led primarily by Buddhist monks, the Saffron Revolution raised international awareness to the oppression in Myanmar but did little to convince the military generals of the folly of their ways.