When an interest group starts using the name of a small creature to diminish an opponent, it’s not a good sign.
But in historical cases, the creature is especially repellent, worsening the comparison.
Think rats (Germany under the Nazis). Think cockroaches (Rwanda).
Which is why we were scratching our heads over the choice of vocabulary that a senior monk from the Committee to Protect Race and Religion used to refer to Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy.
Maw Kyun Sayardaw, the deputy secretary of the committee more widely known as Ma Ba Tha, referred to the NLD – not by name, but indirectly – as the “League of Prawns,” according to a translation in Mizzima.
He was speaking on Tuesday at an event in Yangon to celebrate the recent passing into law of four race and religion bills.
“On that day of voting, the Chairman of the ‘League of Prawns’ who is also a MP didn’t attend Parliament,” he said, seemingly alluding to Suu Kyi. “In fact, she avoided voting. However, she ordered all ‘Prawn’ MPs to reject the bills.”
The bills restrict interfaith marriage, enshrine monogamy, control the space between pregnancies and regulate religious conversion. Many see them as thinly veiled pieces of legislation designed to target Muslims.
But back to the prawns for a moment. Apparently, what the monk is saying is that NLD members have “shit for brains. Prawn-headed is a common put down.
But aren’t prawns tasty? Still lost on this one.
Editor’s note: This post has been updated to better explain the meaning of the insult
Photo / Hongsar Ramonya