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Myanmar Military Arrests Swiss National for Allegedly Insulting Buddhism in Film

A Swiss citizen named Didier Nusbaumer, 52, was arrested in military-ruled Myanmar for creating a film that allegedly insulted Buddhism, according to state media reports. The arrest took place on August 8th, and Nusbaumer was taken into custody along with 13 Myanmar nationals, including a 12-year-old girl. Insulting Buddhism is considered a punishable offense in Myanmar, where religious nationalism has gained prominence in recent years. The film in question, titled “Don’t Expect Anything,” was written, filmed, and edited by Nusbaumer and was posted on YouTube. Short clips from the movie circulated on social media platforms, drawing criticism from Buddhist nationalists in Myanmar. The media report stated that the film’s main characters, although Buddhist, behaved inappropriately and degraded the dignity and morals of monks through their actions and dialogue. Myanmar has been under military rule since February 2021.

This incident is not the first time a foreigner has been detained in Myanmar for insulting Buddhism. In 2015, a New Zealand citizen and two Myanmar nationals were sentenced to imprisonment for insulting Buddhism in an online advertisement. Similarly, a Dutch tourist was jailed in 2016 for unplugging a loudspeaker used by Buddhist monks in Mandalay, and a Spanish tourist was deported from Myanmar in the same year due to a tattoo of Buddha on his leg.

Unique Perspective: This incident highlights the sensitivity surrounding religion in Myanmar, particularly Buddhism. Insulting Buddhism is considered a serious offense, and individuals, both locals, and foreigners, can face legal consequences for such actions. It is essential to respect the religious beliefs and customs of a country when visiting or creating content. Religious harmony and understanding play a crucial role in maintaining peace and stability within society.

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