Press ReleaseBy Asian Human Rights Commission (HRC) October 4, 2007
HONG KONG – A Filipino priest in Hong Kong found a new way to observe a Catholic holy day on Thursday by having his head shaved to show solidarity with Burma's Buddhist monks.
Fr. Robert Reyes had his head shaved outside the legislative assembly in the city centre to mark the feast for St. Francis of Assisi and commune with Buddhist monks suffering from the continuing violent crackdown by the military junta in Burma after they led protests against it in September.
"Today, I will have my head shaved for the first time... It is such a small price to pay to express what is deepest in my heart and the heart of all peace and justice loving persons," Fr. Reyes said in a statement that he read out beforehand.
"I let go of my hair and ask the rest of the world to let go of their indifference as well. Hair represents both attachment and defilement. The Burmese Generals led by General Than Shwe are madly attached to power which has not only defiled them but is now leading them to murder those who stand for what they are not... the Buddhists monks," he said in the statement.
He likened the monks' actions of going out to the streets to demonstrate to how St. Francis of Assisi had also lived his life, through non-violence and love.
Like the monks, St. Francis too had lived a simple life deprived of wealth and privileges, he noted.
Reyes also likened the shaving of his head to St. Francis' stripping his clothes to express anger.
"For these monks to lead the protests was a form of self sacrifice. They have risked their own lives and chosen to break their silence for the welfare of their people," Reyes observed.
"But even these peaceful actions were too much for the regime to tolerate," he added.
Reyes stressed that Catholics around the world must pay constant attention to the continuing violent crackdown by Burma's regime and do whatever possible through their communities to end the suffering there.
Photographs of his solo protest can be viewed online at:
The protection of human rights and civil liberties and access to democracy are among the general aspirations of humanity in this world. The Burmese people are members of the human family. It is only proper that the wise citizens of this world would readily help the Burmese people in their peaceful and lawful struggle for the protection of their human rights and civil liberties and their attainment of actual and real democracy.
The wise citizens of this world should continue the peaceful or lawful means of pressuring the junta in Burma to give way to democracy now.