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Stand up for their rights!

October 3, 2007

monk2stor-copy.pngDespite the Burmese military junta’s violent crackdown on all forms of protests, the Burmese people keep fighting for their rights.

UN envoy to Burma, Ibrahim Gambari, has now left Burma, after meeting both senior generals and democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. While the Independent sees the fact that Gambari was allowed to meet twice with Aung San Suu Kyi as reason for “a flicker of hope”, things still do not look particularly good in Burma.

The brutal military regime now seem to be focusing on silencing the media and the political opposition. The government has called upon state-run media agencies to publish photographs of citizen journalists who shot and distributed footage of government brutality during the recent protests in Rangoon. Many journalists and writers are reported missing, their whereabouts unknown. While some of the monks who were arrested during the protests last week are now released, the government keep rounding up and arresting more monks, as well as journalists, writers and NLD politicians.

This is not the end

However, the brave Burmese people has not given up. The BBC reports that the Burmese are not just afraid but intensely angry, and that this is definitely not the end of the protests. According to the Democratic Voice of Burma, over 10,000 people in Man Aung have staged another protest against the Burmese government’s harassment of demonstrators. So far, I have read no news of any violence against this protest, which took place on Sunday September 30.

Even when faced with very real threats of violence, torture and death, the Burmese people keep fighting for their rights.

– We cannot stop our fight now. We just have to think of other ways to go on protesting,one brave Burmese woman told the BBC.

Burma wants you…

…to support the protesters. Brave as they might be, Burmese protesters cannot topple the military regime without international support. Luckily, there is a lot you can do without even leaving your computer.
China is still the key – the country with the most power to halt the Burmese generals’ reign of terror. Sadly, the Chinese have used their permanent seat in the UN Security Council to block all resolutions mentioning sanctions against the junta. Hopefully, China should be sensitive to international pressure now, as the 2008 Olympics will be held in Beijing. It is time to put some pressure on China. Do so here and here!

If you prefer to target the Burmese junta directly, you can do so by send emails, faxes or letters demanding the release of detained protesters. Amnesty International can provide you with both a suggested text and an address to mail it to.

If you care enough about Burma to leave your house, the US Campaign for Burma are calling for global demonstrations Saturday, October 6th to demand UN Security Council action on Burma and a global boycott of the 2008 Olympics. They are expecting demonstrations and protests in up to 35 countries around the world, and are asking for everyone to wear the color red on that day.

For the (graffiti) artists among us and others who might want to express their support visually, Saffron Revolution Worldwide offer stencils for painting, printing or spraying saffron robed monks on virtually any surface. The silhouette monks can also be used digitally. All the saffron monks appearing on this blog are based on images from the stencils, and In my view, they make a great symbol. Please do not paint or stencil on private property (unless it belongs to you, of course). The idea, after all, is decreasing, not increasing the number of saffron revolutionists behind bars.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Åsmund permalink
    October 4, 2007 2:15 pm

    I remembered learning many years ago that Burma had changed name to Myanmar, and today I looked it up in both Norwegian and English wikipedia, wich both states that Burma is now officially named Myanmar. Furthermore, it states that Rangoon is actually named Yangon, why doesn’t any newspaper mention this? Or is there something that I am missing?


  2. October 4, 2007 4:04 pm

    Actually, you are right. Myanmar and Yangon are the official names. However, as the events of the last few weeks show all to clearly, in Burma, official does not always mean correct.

    As you might remember, I worked as a volunteer for the Student peace prize in 2001, and met a couple of Burmese student activists. They all used the name Burma. The reason for this is as follows:

    The name was changed by the military junta (in the mid-eighties, I believe). Their reason was that Burma was the name used by the British colonial government, and changing it was a way of marking independence from the west.

    However, the military junta is not a legitimate government. Hence it follows that the decision to change the name was not legitimate, and in the eyes of many Burmese, the very name “Myanmar” is not the legitimate name of the country. Using the name Burma in place of Myanmar is just one of many small everyday protests against the current regime.

    Snodig å skrive engelsk med deg, forresten, men bra du stilte spørsmålet på engelsk, for det er mange som lurer på dette.


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