Gavin Jacobson is currently based in Hong Kong, before which he lived in Myanmar. He writes about Asian and European history and politics, and is a contributor to The London Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, and Financial Times. (August 2017)

NYR DAILY

The Hateful Monk

Ashin Wirathu and his followers in Barbet Schroeder's The Venerable W., 2017

Ashin Wirathu, the subject of Barbet Schroeder’s new documentary, The Venerable W., is composed and polite—he’s also responsible for inciting some of the worst acts of ethnic violence in Myanmar’s recent history. What’s disturbing about Wirathu is that the aim of his public sermonizing is to transform the impressionable into unthinking agents of his intolerance. Wirathu both channels and reflects the ways in which social media has transformed hate into a thoughtless pastime.