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Burma and Aung San Suu Kyi

Discussion in 'News' started by serum, Sep 26, 2007.

  1. serum

    serum Elite Member

    Joined: Aug 9, 2000 Messages: 4,200 Likes Received: 138
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    Profile: Aung San Suu Kyi




    1989: Put under house arrest as Burma's leaders declare martial law
    1990: National League for Democracy (NLD) wins general election; military does not recognise the result
    1991: Wins Nobel Peace Prize
    1995: Released from house arrest, but movements restricted
    2000-02: Second period of house arrest
    May 2003: Detained after clash between NLD and government forces
    Sep 2003: Allowed home after medical treatment, but under effective house arrest



    Like the South African leader Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi has become an international
    symbol of heroic and peaceful resistance in the face of oppression.
    For the Burmese people, Aung San Suu Kyi, 62, represents their best and perhaps sole hope that
    one day there will be an end to the country's military repression.





    As a pro-democracy campaigner and leader of the opposition National League for Democracy party
    ( NLD), she has spent more than 11 of the past 18 years in some form of detention under Burma's
    military regime.

    In 1991 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to bring democracy to Burma.

    At the presentation, the Chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, Francis Sejested, called her
    "an outstanding example of the power of the powerless".

    After a period of time overseas, Aung San Suu Kyi went back to Burma in 1988.

    House arrest

    Soon after she returned, she was put under house arrest in Rangoon for six years, until she was
    released in July 1995.



    She was again put under house arrest in September 2000, when she tried to travel to the city of
    Mandalay in defiance of travel restrictions.

    She was released unconditionally in May 2002, but just over a year later she was put in prison
    following a clash between her supporters and a government-backed mob.

    Following a gynaecological operation in September 2003, she was allowed to return home - but
    again under effective house arrest.


    During these periods of confinement, Aung San Suu Kyi has busied herself studying and exercising.

    She has meditated, worked on her French and Japanese language skills, and relaxed by playing Bach
    on the piano.

    In more recent years, she has also been able to meet other NLD officials, and selected visiting
    diplomats like the United Nations special envoy Razali Ismail.

    But during her early years of detention, Aung San Suu Kyi was often in solitary confinement - and
    was not even allowed to see her two sons or her husband, the British academic Michael Aris.


    I could not, as my father's daughter, remain indifferent to all that was going on
    Aung San Suu Kyi, 1988


    In March 1999 she suffered a major personal tragedy when her husband died of cancer.

    The military authorities offered to allow her to travel to the UK to see him on his deathbed, but she
    felt compelled to refuse for fear she would not be allowed back into the country.

    Aung San Suu Kyi has often said that detention has made her even more resolute to dedicate the
    rest of her life to represent the average Burmese citizen.

    The UN envoy Razali Ismail has said privately that she is one of the most impressive people he has
    ever met.


    Overseas life

    Much of Aung San Suu Kyi's appeal within Burma lies in the fact she is the daughter of the country's
    independence hero General Aung San.

    He was assassinated during the transition period in July 1947, just six months before independence.

    Aung San Suu Kyi was only two years old at the time.

    In 1960 she went to India with her mother Daw Khin Kyi, who had been appointed Burma's ambassador to Delhi.

    Four years later she went to Oxford University in the UK, where she studied philosophy, politics and
    economics. There she met her future husband.

    After stints of living and working in Japan and Bhutan, she settled down to be an English don's
    housewife and raise their two children, Alexander and Kim.


    Aung San Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991
    But Burma was never far away from her thoughts.

    When she arrived back in Rangoon in 1988 - initially to look after her critically ill mother - Burma
    was in the midst of major political upheaval.

    Thousands of students, office workers and monks took to the streets demanding democratic reform.

    "I could not, as my father's daughter remain indifferent to all that was going on," she said in a
    speech in Rangoon on 26 August 1988.

    Aung San Suu Kyi was soon propelled into leading the revolt against then-dictator General Ne Win.

    Inspired by the non-violent campaigns of US civil rights leader Martin Luther King and India's
    Mahatma Gandhi, she organised rallies and travelled around the country, calling for peaceful
    democratic reform and free elections.

    But the demonstrations were brutally suppressed by the army, who seized power in a coup on 18
    September 1988.

    The military government called national elections in May 1990.

    Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD convincingly won the polls, despite the fact that she herself was under
    house arrest and disqualified from standing.

    But the junta refused to hand over control, and has remained in power ever since.










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    Burmese Junta Sets Curfew to Combat Protests



    By SETH MYDANS
    Published: September 25, 2007
    BANGKOK, Sept. 25 — The government in Myanmar imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the two
    major cities of Yangon and Mandalay this evening and said they would be placed under the control of
    local military commanders, after tens of thousands of Buddhist monks and supporters defied a
    warning by the authorities and held an eighth day of peaceful antigovernment protests.

    For the first time since protests began on Aug. 19, the government began to issue warnings and to
    move security forces into positions in Yangon, the largest city and former capital. Witnesses said
    they saw truckloads of soldiers apparently moving into position in Yangon.

    It was the most ominous situation that the protesters had seen during a month of demonstrations
    that began after a sharp fuel price increase in mid-August. The protests have swelled into a huge
    outpouring that has filled the streets of several cities, although as evening fell today the day’s
    protests dispersed without incident.

    Official vehicles were on patrol calling on monks to return to their temples, inserting a government
    presence into streets that had been largely given over to huge waves of protesters. “People are not
    to follow, encourage or take part in these marches,” the announcements said. “Action will be taken
    against those who violate this order.”

    In its later announcement, the government said Yangon and Mandalay would be under the control of
    the local military commanders for 60 days.

    Diplomats in Yangon said uniformed security personnel were moving discreetly into the city, where
    they had not been visible in past days.

    According to one report, five army trucks, each capable of carrying 50 soldiers, were parked less
    than a kilometer from City Hall and the Sule Pagoda, which has been one gathering place for
    demonstrators.

    The plaza between the two buildings was the scene of the first killings in 1988, when the
    government crushed a similar pro-democracy protest at the cost of as many as 3,000 lives.

    Reuters reported that an ethnic militia that has been fighting a decades-long guerrilla war said that
    government troops had been withdrawn from their remote jungle area.

    “The government has ordered the 22nd Division troops to pull out of Karen state and return to
    Yangon,” Colonel Nerda Mya of the Karen National Union told the news agency. “We believe the
    troops will be used as in 1988.”

    Troops from remote areas, unfamiliar with current events in the big cities, were deployed at that
    time in the killings of civilians.

    There were also concerns that the government might use provocateurs to stir violence and justify a
    crackdown, as it did in 1988. The Burma Campaign UK said its sources had reported the junta
    ordering large numbers of maroon monastic robes and telling soldiers to shave their heads, possibly
    to infiltrate the monks.

    Soe Aung, a spokesman for the National Council of the Union of Burma, a coalition of opposition
    groups based in Thailand, assessed the position of the Burmese junta.

    “They are in a difficult situation,” he said. “Can their troops be relied on when the situation becomes
    critical? What happened in 1988 was that they called in troops from remote areas and then staged
    unrest and told the soldiers they were followers of the Communist Party of Burma.”

    According to reports from inside Myanmar, which is mostly closed to foreign reporters, the cheers
    and the vigor of the day’s demonstrations were as strong as ever, but with a new sense of
    trepidation over the possibility of a violent crackdown.

    Some of the monks reportedly carried small banners that summarized the grievances of the public:
    “Sufficiency in food, clothing and shelter, national reconciliation, freedom for all political prisoners.”


    The government-controlled press broke its silence on the week of protests by monks and their
    supporters, warning them to go home.

    On Monday, the head of the official Buddhist organization, the Sangha, directed monks to confine
    themselves to learning and propagating the faith. It said young monks were being “compelled by a
    group of destructive elements within and without to break the law,” according to The New Light of
    Myanmar, an official newspaper.

    It also quoted the religious affairs minister, Brig. Gen. Thura Myint Maung, as saying that protests
    by monks had also spread to cities like Mandalay, Hinthada and Monywa in seven of the 14 states
    and divisions.

    In televised comments on Monday night, he told religious leaders to restrain the protesting monks or
    face unspecified action against them by the government. The minister was quoted by the newspaper
    as saying these “destructive elements” included the political party led by Aung San Suu Kyi, the
    democracy advocate who is being held under house arrest; remnants of the now-defunct Communist
    Party; and some foreign radio stations.

    “The authorities concerned are handling the current situation with care and the least mistakes,” he
    said.

    Foreign governments and human rights groups warned of possible bloodshed. “The regime has a long
    history of violent reactions to peaceful demonstrations,” Gareth Evans, head of the International
    Crisis Group, said in a statement.

    “If serious loss of life is to be averted, those United Nations members with influence over the
    government are going to have to come together fast,” he said in an allusion to China, Russia and
    India.

    China, the nation with the most influence over Myanmar because of its trade and economic ties,
    today repeated its public stance of noninterference in Myanmar’s internal affairs.




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    Last edited: Sep 26, 2007
  2. serum

    serum Elite Member

    Joined: Aug 9, 2000 Messages: 4,200 Likes Received: 138
    has anyone been following this?
    i truly hope something positive can come out of this latest protest
    but im afraid without international help it will become a bloodbath.

    if they can get the help of the people as well perhaps the soldiers will lay down their guns
    but usually the soldiers brought to fight protests are from far away and have no family
    members in the area so less guilt when gunning them down.

    any thoughts?
     
  3. serum

    serum Elite Member

    Joined: Aug 9, 2000 Messages: 4,200 Likes Received: 138
    [​IMG]


    BUDDHISM
    Buddhism is non-violent, non-dogmatic and meditative
    Not centred on a god
    Aimed at gaining insight into life's true nature
    Two schools: Theravada (S, SE Asia) focuses on freedom from craving and suffering
    Mahayana (NE Asia) emphasises helping others achieve that freedom
    Burmese observe the Theravada school




    Burma's saffron army
    By Sarah Buckley
    BBC News


    Monks command such respect in Burma because some 80-90% of the country's population is
    Buddhist, and even those who do not choose to become a "career" monk usually enter the orders for
    short periods of their lives, giving the monasteries a prominent role in society.

    There is a monastery in every village, according to Myint Swe of the BBC Burmese service, and
    monks act as the spiritual leaders of that community.

    They give religious guidance and perform important duties at weddings and funerals.



    Many children are sent to monasteries for a cheap education

    In return for these duties, they are given donations by laymen. As they are forbidden from handling
    cash, they are completely reliant on these handouts. Each full moon day, they are also given
    donations such as robes.

    If they refuse these handouts, they are denying the donor the potential to earn spiritual "credit" -
    "the strongest possible penalty that can be expected from a Buddhist", said Myint Swe.

    That is why the announcement by the monks currently protesting in Burma that they would refuse
    all donations from the ruling military - most of whom would be Buddhist themselves - was so
    powerful, he said.

    "The government wants the image that they are pious and helping the monks," he said.

    Monastery 'holidays'

    There are 400,000-500,000 professional monks in a country of 53 million people, but many more
    laymen worship alongside the monks for a few weeks at a time throughout their lives in order to
    earn spiritual credit.

    Myint Swe said he had himself entered the monasteries three times in his adult life, on each
    occasion for just a few weeks.

    "Buddhism is very individualistic - you have to work for your own liberation," said Aung Kin, a
    Burmese historian.

    A monastery not only provides spiritual guidance, but also fulfils a practical role in Burmese society.


    Entering a monastery as a child - or novice - is a cheap way of gaining an education. Although
    education is free in Burma, extras such as uniforms may still prove a struggle for impoverished
    families.

    And some parents choose to send their children during the school holidays, while they are out at
    work, Myint Swe said.

    Those who choose to adopt Buddhism as a career often do so for financial reasons, Mr Aung Kin
    said, with donations collected by the monks shared with family members.

    In return, however, prospective monks have to pass religious exams and agree to adhere to more
    than 220 restrictions.

    Burmese monks not only play a spiritual role, but also have a history of politicisation. They have
    been at the forefront of protest against unpopular authorities, from British colonial power in the
    1930s to the last pro-democracy campaign in 1988.


    Burma's monks have a history of politicisation

    Their political role stems from the days of the Burmese monarchy, which operated until the late
    19th century, under which monks worked as intermediaries between the monarch and the public, and
    lobbied the king over unpopular moves such as heavy taxation, said Mr Aung Kin.

    They became more confrontational during colonial times, in protest at the failure of foreigners to
    remove their shoes in pagodas, he said.

    But the historian stressed that only about 10% of Burma's monks are politicised, and many of the
    monasteries may be unaware of the scale of the agitation currently under way in the country.

    If fully mobilised, however, the monks would pose a major challenge to the military, and their
    moral position in society could embolden many more people to join the protests.


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    Last edited: Sep 26, 2007
  4. UPS!

    UPS! Elite Member

    Joined: Mar 22, 2007 Messages: 3,704 Likes Received: 202
    Power to them
     
  5. Ko SprueOne

    Ko SprueOne Senior Member

    Joined: May 8, 2004 Messages: 1,624 Likes Received: 99
    Yes, we've been following this on radio and internet information sources. Very complete and comprehensive posts and thread, serum.

    The government police have already infiltrated the protectors by shaving their heads and posing as monks, which then attack and provoke the police so that the police have a reason to fire on the crowd. Dirty shit.

    pronunciation note: Ky is the Ch sound as in the word choose. Her name sound like Sue Chee. In Burma (Myanmar) her name is never spoken but refered to as "The Lady".
     
  6. MayorMeanBeans

    MayorMeanBeans Senior Member

    Joined: Mar 4, 2003 Messages: 1,464 Likes Received: 117
    i really hope that China can step in and prevent a bloodbath. It would help them immeasurably human rights wise and deflect attention, which is really important for them since they've been working so hard image-building- olympics mainly.

    non-violence as protest can be really effective. Months ago, we talked about Palestinians doing this, and I think they should notice how positively the monks are being perceived internationally, for example, the fact that civilians use their bodies to protect the monks . I doubt there is anyone supporting the junta.

    Hope it ends peacefully.
     
  7. serum

    serum Elite Member

    Joined: Aug 9, 2000 Messages: 4,200 Likes Received: 138
    im glad that some people are following this. i was worried the grey alien thread was going to
    get more responses.

    i respect the chinese as a culture but as a country they deserve a kick in the ass.
    they want to be apart of the rest of the world yet they feel the need to support all
    repressive regimes such as north korea and burma.

    i recently read that russia and china vetoed the idea of the UN going into burma and
    keeping peace. I feel that that the UN was exactly what the monks wanted.
    someone else to come take a look at how desperate they were.
    if i had the money id love to go over there and take pictures of the protests.
     
  8. serum

    serum Elite Member

    Joined: Aug 9, 2000 Messages: 4,200 Likes Received: 138
    THURSDAY, 27 SEPTEMBER

    It is 14:30 now and the riot police and army are trying to disperse the crowds on the street. At
    about 12:30 the whole street was filled with demonstrators. Then the soldiers started to shoot and
    use tear gas and then they charged with batons and took away some of the protesters. I heard that
    one person was killed. The crowds were yelling at the soldiers "your task is not to kill us citizens".
    At about 14:00 about the soldiers advanced towards the road in front of our office shouting through
    a loudspeaker at the crowds to disperse. The demonstrators went away, probably to another part of
    the town. There were only about 12 monks leading them. Similar things are happening in other parts
    of the town where there are protests. There are soldiers in almost all strategic parts of the town
    trying to disperse the crowd. There is a little restraint still as they give warnings before doing
    anything and the people have some time to disperse. I hope that things will get better without more
    bloodshed. Anonymous Rangoon resident

    They're beating the crowd in front of Traders Hotel. Around 2,000 were taking part in a peaceful
    demonstration. There were also monks and people sat down to pay respect. They started the beating
    as the people sat down to bow. Tear gas were used again. Someone saw 20 trucks full of soldiers
    heading towards downtown. The junta has begun a full scale war against innocent civilians. Sai,
    Rangoon

    There are many deaths on the streets of Rangoon. There were many deaths by gun-shots but the
    military is taking away the bodies so that they can hide their inhumane violence on civilians. Now
    even spectators on the streets, who are not involved in the protests are being shot at. Wai, Rangoon


    I live near the Ngwe Kyar Yan monastery in south Okkalapa. They came to the monastery last night.
    Only 20 monks escaped out of 200. One monk from this monastery passed away at the
    demonstration yesterday. The soldiers came at the middle of the night and beat up the monks. The
    head monk and the other 19 escaped. They beat the monks and loaded them onto a truck like
    animals. We could hear gunshots, screams and shouting. Soldiers shouted that they are not just
    going to shoot in the air, but also on people. Anonymous eyewitness, Rangoon



    From the BBC Burmese Service: (At a monastery at midnight) The soldiers ran up to the first floor
    of the monastery and grabbed the head monk by the neck and dragged him downstairs. They beat
    up the other monks with batons and sticks. They kicked the sleeping novices to wake them up and
    ask them if any monks are hiding. The novices are shaking with fear. It is as if they are raiding a
    rebel camp. Anonymous eyewitness, Rangoon

    It's heartbreaking to witness what is happening now. The military have used some force but not at
    their full potential. They want to scare the people by using force and if protesters don't back down
    they will step up their actions. It is very important that we do not back down. Once the protests
    fizzle out, the government will have its chance and all will be put in jail. The state media blames
    the people for using violence. Well, we just threw stones at them for beating the monks. It's hard to
    believe that Buddhist solddiers would attack Buddhist monks. The people are angry and sacred, but
    hopeful. The future of Myanmar (Burma) depends on China. I would like China to restate it's policy
    of not interfering with internal affairs of other countries. We are in a difficult position. We either go
    to democracy or back to military dictatorship. Samson, Rangoon


    From the BBC Burmese Service: (At around 14:00 local time when soldiers started shooting into the
    crowd) They have shot several times into the crowd, one person was injured, they used tear gas.
    Now the injured person is being carried into a car to be taken to hospital. They (the soldiers) are
    using force on us. Anonymous eyewitness, Rangoon


    WEDNESDAY, 26 SEPTEMBER

    There are a lot of people in the emergency ward in the hospital and people are dying there. One
    witness told me that there were three monks that were brought in by a taxi driver and one of the
    monks died at the table - the other two are in a critical condition. A lot of other people are severely
    injured. Thian, Rangoon


    Thian's account of turmoil in Rangoon

    At about 10 o'clock the riot police blocked the road, but the monks pushed through the blockade and
    climbed the Shwedagon pagoda from the eastern side. After eating there, they came down from the
    pagoda about noon, in a line. At that point they were rounded up and charged with batons by the
    police. The monks responded merely by reciting prayers. People fled from the scene and it was
    mainly women who were targeted and beaten. The mob was dispersed and some people were
    arrested. Near the eastern stairway, tear gas was used to disperse the crowd. The monks - together
    with monks from Thingangyun - are said to march towards downtown. About thirty monks were
    badly hurt and hospitalised. Anonymous eyewitness, Rangoon




    I just talked to my sister, who lives in Rangoon. She knows someone at the local hospital in
    Rangoon. They have been treating three monks, who were taken to the hospital by responsible taxi
    drivers. The monks had been beaten up with the back of rifles. One monk had a deep wound
    exposing his brain, and he has already died. The other two are being treated under intensive care.
    Many more people died today, but there is no information about it. Many taxi drivers who are at
    the site of the violence take injured monks to nearest hospitals. The junta are using dirty tactics -
    they don't fire guns, but beat people with the back of their rifles. The monks defiantly did not fight
    back, endured the pain and died. Anonymous Burmese woman

    At 13:00 a silent and orderly line of several thousand monks has passed at the bottom of the street
    where my office is located. Not a sound from them, a calm and determined march. Traffic blocks
    up, buses and taxis open their doors, people stream out and go towards the marchers at an
    unusually quick pace. People just leave their cars at the side of the road. At the same time, while
    the sun is burning down, there are huge dark-grey clouds in the sky and loud thunder cracks over
    their heads. Win, Rangoon

    From the BBC Burmese Service: When monks and people reached the mid-level platform of the
    Shwedagon Pagoda around 12:20 PM, they closed the doors behind and riot police started to chase
    them and beat them up. Then about 200 were hauled off onto the trucks and driven away. About 80
    monks were taken away. Anonymous eyewitness, Rangoon

    Police were beating monks and nuns in Shwedagon Pagoda this morning and then putting them onto
    trucks. There were two prison vans and two fire engines. More army and police forces are in
    Kandawgyi park near Shwedagon Pagoda. Armed forces and plain-clothes police are to be seen in
    many other important places in Rangoon. People have been waiting at Sule Pagoda since early in
    the morning, and there are six army trucks near the City Hall, but I haven't seen any soldiers. The
    uniformed and plain-clothes police in front of the City Hall hold photos of monks leading the
    protests. We heard that over 50 monks and many students were arrested. Cherry, Rangoon

    Now the military junta is reducing the internet connection bandwidth and we have to wait for a long
    time to see a page. Security forces block the route of demonstrations. Yesterday night, the junta
    announced to people in Rangoon and Mandalay not to leave their houses 9:00 PM to 5:00 AM. I think
    if the junta decides, they will cut off communication such as internet and telephone lines so that no
    information can be leaked to the outside world. David, Rangoon

    Riot police and soldiers are beating monks and other protesters at the east gate of Shwedagon
    Pagoda. They are starting a crackdown by all means. Police forces are stationed at Sule Pagoda as
    well. Regardless of this, just after noon, about 1000 monks from a nearby monastery started a
    march to the Shwedagon Pagoda. Thila, Rangoon


    TUESDAY, 25 SEPTEMBER


    At 11.30am, after a few moments of prayer at the Shwedagon Pagoda, the procession started. The
    number of marchers quickly swelled as other monks and groups joined having walked from different
    parts of the city. Many others formed a human chain on either side of them. Robert, Rangoon


    Robert's account

    This is a precious chance to let the world know about what's inside Burma. I haven't seen the
    protests yet. My family does not allow me to go out when the protests are in progress. Everything I
    know I've heard it from my relatives who live in the town centre. They have witnessed UN officials,
    students, foreigners, some Muslim, Chinese and Indian people taking part in the protest. I saw a
    truck full of police with guns, which looked like AK47. There also is an announcement in every
    township of Rangoon warning people not to get involved in protests. We are really motivated by the
    protests. I believe in the power of people. The military junta has been making us miserable for
    nearly two decades. Enough is enough. This really is the right time for the Burmese people to be
    united. But most people are still silent. We need good leadership and a good leader. Yi, Rangoon



    Protesters have defied warnings from the military government
    We don't know what will happen today, we are waiting to see how the situation develops. The junta
    announced that they will suppress the demonstrations whether by civilians or monks, anyone who
    disobeys their orders. We have suffered for a long time under the wicket junta. We are so afraid of
    them and cannot say what we think of feel. We respect our Buddhist monks very much. Our country
    has many natural resources but we are very poor. We are a disgrace in the whole world because of
    our rulers. But we hope for a golden future. We hope for the freedom of Aung San Su Kyi. Kyi,
    Rangoon

    Today the city is quiet and people go to work as normal. There are lots of rumours, but for the time
    being everything is calm. People are anxious to see what's going to happen. According to the
    government's warnings, today could be a big day. China is key. The US have announced new
    sanctions, but this is nothing. Burmese people do not welcome them and do not care about them.
    They want help, not sanctions. If the US wants to make a change here, they should threaten that if
    China continues its support for the Burmese military, they won't take part in the Olympics.
    Everything else is a joke. Michel, Rangoon

    From the BBC Burmese Service: The order (by the regime to people not to come out on the streets)
    is not justified. If it were a just order, we would be ready to abide by it. But we cannot accept any
    unjustified laws. We will resist it. Student protester, Rangoon

    From the BBC Burmese Service: About 700 students are taking part in protests today. Some
    students are in the middle of exams at this time. But they have left their exam rooms and come
    out the streets to joining hands with the public and to fight for the country under the guidance of the
    monks. Student protester, Rangoon

    This morning, government agents warned people by loudspeakers on the streets not to look, not to
    follow, not to encourage and not to participate in demonstrations. But a group of monks and
    ordinary people came out on the streets in the afternoon and headed towards the Sule Pagoda. A
    well-known poet gave a speech to the crowd and they continued their march. But I think that the
    participants are half the number they were yesterday. Some people are worried and they are
    thinking carefully about the crisis that may be created by a junta response. Cherry, Rangoon

    I walked with the monks, nuns and students all the way from Shwedagon to Sule, then to the
    former Secretariat building, then walked pass Kandawgalay. Then we went to the Royal Lake and
    walked pass Aung San bronze statute. We started at 1 PM and finished at 5 PM at Shwedagon east
    gate. It was very moving. People went all the way and some were in tears. I wasn't worried that
    there might be a crackdown. Gradually I got some energy and was just not afraid to proceed. Win,
    Rangoon


    MONDAY, 24 SEPTEMBER

    I witnessed the big protests in Rangoon today. I am really sorry for our country and our people
    because we are under the control of the wicked junta. We haven't got arms, we wish for peace, a
    better future and democracy. We are hoping that the UN security council will put a pressure on the
    junta. Kyi Kyi, Rangoon

    I saw more than 100,000 monks marching today. I'm not sure where the protests will lead to. This
    situation could get worse. We want some changes in Burma, but we want these changes leading to a
    better future. Sun, Rangoon


    I saw about 40,000 to 50,000 people, including monks, nuns and ordinary people, marching along
    Prome road. That was at around 3:30pm. The protests will grow bigger day by day and I hope that
    they are not going to start killing people. We need help to save our people. Mr Tun, Rangoon


    It is astounding to see such a great mass of people on both sides of the roads, some clapping and
    some crying, but all demonstrating their support for the monks and those chanting prayers. It's for
    sure that all these people showing their support are willing to be part of the mass protest. They do
    not trust the government though and think that they could be crushed, just like it happened in 1988.
    But if we are just bystanders, today's rare and momentous events might not lead to the fall of the
    regime. Kyaw, Rangoon

    I am not sure where these protests are going to lead to, but I am sure that it's not at all a good
    sign. Many people are expecting that there will be a great change coming soon. I am not sure if the
    monks will be joined by students, workers, or even soldiers. We are very insecure because we don't
    know what the government is planning to do. There are some news in the government-controlled
    newspapers that the monks are trying to agitate the public. This can be a big excuse for them to
    start attacking the monks. I really want some changes in Burma but I am not sure where the change
    is going to lead us to. I hope there won't be any blood bath this time like there was in 1988. Soe
    Soe, Mandalay

    The current situation can lead to civil war because the junta still holds the power and the opposition
    might use this opportunity to form an armed struggle. We want things to change peacefully, not
    through a civil war. But if there's no way to avoid the arms struggle, the people will choose it and
    the conditions in our poor country may become worse. The international pressure, including from
    China and Russia, is very important for the future of Burma at this moment. Mg Khar, Rangoon


    One of the monks who took part in the protests came to us and told us about his experiences. He
    said: "We are not afraid, we haven't committed a crime, we just say prayers and take part in the
    protests. We haven't accepted money from onlookers although they offered us a lot. We just accept
    water. People clapped, smiled and cheered us." The monk seemed very happy, excited and proud.
    But I'm worried for them. They care for us and we pray for them not to get harmed. Mya, Rangoon
     
  9. Qawee

    Qawee Elite Member

    Joined: Apr 9, 2006 Messages: 3,420 Likes Received: 155
    non violence can work in certain situations,
    in this situation however, i think mass violence directed towards the government would have the best effect.
     
  10. MayorMeanBeans

    MayorMeanBeans Senior Member

    Joined: Mar 4, 2003 Messages: 1,464 Likes Received: 117
    i dont know. the military spends 50 percent gdp on weapons. the most revered social class in the country are pacifists. who would lead a military campaign against the military govt. ? the legacy of non violence in the country imo is too strong to have an effective military campaign.
     
  11. serum

    serum Elite Member

    Joined: Aug 9, 2000 Messages: 4,200 Likes Received: 138
    i dont know much about burmese history but i believe that there were a few
    minorities such as the karen and a few others that were fighting the present
    leaders but alot of them got their money for their rebellion from opium.
    that ofcourse lead to the US government supporting the leaders of myanmar
    and squashing the rebellion. we always support the bad guys.

    i truly respect a pacifist rebellion but they need major backing from international help.
    i hate when i hear bush giving his bullshit speeches on taking out dictators when really all
    he wanted was oil and a puppet government. since theres not much that anyone wants from
    there people just say hey thats gross human rights violations but then go back to their
    lives the next day. it would be a shame for aung san to give up her life waiting for others
    to help and for nothing to change. it reminds me of free tibet posters at lallapaloozer 10 years
    ago and tibet is now almost all chinese with a super train already installed to make the
    place a tourist trap. who cares about tibet now? people are fucked
     
  12. Ko SprueOne

    Ko SprueOne Senior Member

    Joined: May 8, 2004 Messages: 1,624 Likes Received: 99
    True, there are a lot of non Bumah people there fighting for freedom in a militant manner, funded by questionable means. However, Brother Malcolm's, "By any means necessary" is also true and necessary.

    I basically agree with Qawee. This is general and brief, but the basic idea.
     
  13. serum

    serum Elite Member

    Joined: Aug 9, 2000 Messages: 4,200 Likes Received: 138
    Where the world stands on Burma
    As governments around the world consider how to respond to the protests in Burma, the BBC News
    website looks at the aims and influence of key Western and Asian players.

    ASEAN
    Relationship: The Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) has in the past appeared reluctant
    to condemn a fellow member but member-states appear increasingly uneasy. Asean foreign
    ministers meeting in New York urged the Burmese authorities to halt violence against the
    demonstrators.

    Interests: Concern to preserve the unity of the regional bloc needs to be balanced against the desire
    for regional stability, and pressure from Western countries that wish to secure Asean support for
    action against the military regime in Rangoon.

    Comment: "We hope that the Myanmar [Burmese] authorities and all other parties in Myanmar will
    appreciate the broader implications of their actions on the region as a whole and act accordingly."
    Singapore foreign ministry, current Asean chair



    CHINA
    Relationship: A close trading and diplomatic relationship it is seen as the country with the strongest
    potential to influence events in Burma. It has blocked UN sanctions against Burma but recently
    called for "restraint" by "all" parties.

    Interests: Burma's oil and gas reserves are important for a rapidly developing and energy-hungry
    China but, as a regional power, Beijing also has an interest in ensuring that events in Burma do not
    lead to regional instability.

    Comment: "China hopes that all parties in Myanmar exercise restraint and properly handle the
    current issue so as to ensure the situation there does not escalate and get complicated, and does not
    influence the stability of Myanmar and the peace and stability of the region." Chinese foreign
    ministry



    EUROPEAN UNION
    Relationship: While conscious of its lack of leverage over Burma, it is urging India, China and Asean
    to take a tougher line. Some sanctions are already in place. In 1996 the EU banned arms sales and
    expelled military attaches, and it froze the assets of individuals within the junta. It withdrew
    preferential trade status from Burma and subsequently cut off all non-humanitarian aid to the
    country. European Parliamentary deputies have called on the EU to work with the US and Asean to
    prepare measures against the Burmese government, including targeted sanctions.

    Interests: Relatively few economic interests in Burma but France remains a major investor, with a
    joint gas project between the US firm Chevron and French Total.

    Comment: "China is the puppet-master of Burma. The Olympics is the only real lever we have to
    make China act. The civilised world must seriously consider shunning China by using the Beijing
    Olympics to send the clear message that such abuses of human rights are not acceptable." Edward
    McMillan-Scott, vice-president of the European Parliament


    INDIA
    Relationship: It has close economic and diplomatic ties with Burma. It has expressed concern over
    the current crisis but generally maintains a careful silence over the situation, describing it as an
    internal affair of Burma. Former Defence Minister George Fernandez has described India's current
    position as "disgusting".

    Interests: India is concerned above all with protecting its oil interests in Burma, signing a new deep-
    water exploration deal in the same week that protests got under way. India also sells arms to the
    military regime in Rangoon. But as the world's most populous democracy, India is under pressure
    from the West and from activists at home to take a stronger stand in support of democratic forces
    in Burma.

    Comment: "As a close and friendly neighbour, India hopes to see a peaceful, stable and prosperous
    Myanmar, where all sections of the people will be included in a broad-based process of national
    reconciliation and political reform." Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee


    RUSSIA
    Relationship: While Russia is much less important than China as an ally and trading partner to
    Burma, Moscow has stood beside Beijing in opposing any attempts to bring foreign pressure to bear
    on the Burmese government.

    Interests: Earlier this year Burma and Russia signed a deal that could lead to the construction of a
    Russian nuclear research reactor in Burma. Last year, Moscow offered fighter jets and air defence
    systems to Rangoon in exchange for access to Burmese oil. Russian commentators have suggested
    that a change of government in Rangoon would bring in an administration more susceptible to
    Western influence than the incumbents.

    Comment: "We consider any attempts to use the latest developments to exercise outside pressure
    or interference in the domestic affairs of this sovereign state to be counterproductive. We still
    believe that the processes under way in Burma do not threaten international and regional peace and
    security." Russian foreign ministry



    UNITED KINGDOM
    Relationship: The UK's status as the former colonial power does not give it any particular influence
    as economic links have declined and London - in common with other Western governments - has
    been vocal in its condemnation of the military government.

    Interests: The UK once had major interests in petroleum in Burma but no longer has any large-scale
    investment in the country. British companies continue to do business in Burma, with hardwoods
    being an important import. Campaigners have complained that UK government policy on trade with
    Burma is vague and not enforced.

    Comment: "I want to see all the pressures of the world put on this regime now - sanctions, the
    pressure of the UN, pressure from China and all the countries in the region, India, pressure from the
    whole of the world." UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown


    UNITED STATES
    Relationship: Washington has called for political change in Burma and expressed support for the
    recent protests. In 1997 the US banned new investment in Burma, and in 2003 it banned most
    Burmese imports and dollar transactions. It has announced it will impose further sanctions against
    14 senior officials in Burma's government, including the country's acting prime minister and defence
    minister. But in common with the other Western countries, the US realises its influence is weak
    when compared to that of China, India and Asean.

    Interests: As a result of sanctions few economic interests remain, a major exception being the US
    share in the Chevron-Total gas project.

    Comment: "The world is watching the people of Burma take to the streets to demand their freedom
    and the American people stand in solidarity with these brave individuals." US President George W
    Bush
     
  14. Stereotype V.0002

    Stereotype V.0002 Member

    Joined: Aug 25, 2006 Messages: 646 Likes Received: 12
    People talk like we have all this leverage over China because of the Olympics, its fucking ridiculous. They aren’t going to give up their interests here, or sudan, or anywhere else for what is basically a stupid public relations deal. And their interests are keeping the country stable with the dictatorship, which means this probably isn’t going to end pleasantly assuming it isn’t already over with mass imprisonment of monks.
     
  15. serum

    serum Elite Member

    Joined: Aug 9, 2000 Messages: 4,200 Likes Received: 138
    Sylvester Stallone's 'Rambo' crew witnessed Myanmar killing aftermath

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Sylvester Stallone said he and his "Rambo" sequel movie crew recently witnessed the human toll of unspeakable atrocities while filming along the Myanmar border.

    "I witnessed the aftermath -- survivors with legs cut off and all kinds of land mine injuries, maggot-infested wounds and ears cut off. We saw many elephants with blown off legs. We hear about Vietnam and Cambodia and this was more horrific," Stallone told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Monday.

    Stallone returned eight days ago from shooting "John Rambo," the fourth movie in the action series, on the Salween River separating Thailand and Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

    "This is a hellhole beyond your wildest dreams," Stallone said. "All the trails are mined. The only way into Burma is up the river."

    And this was before the crackdown last week against the largest pro-democracy protests in Myanmar in two decades. After the government increased fuel prices in August, public anger turned to mass protest against 45 years of military dictatorship. Last week, soldiers responded by opening fire with automatic weapons on unarmed demonstrators.

    For decades, Myanmar's army has waged a brutal war against ethnic groups in which soldiers have razed villages, raped women and killed innocent civilians. Especially hard hit have been the Karen, one of several minorities that have been seeking greater autonomy.

    Just last week, the American Association for the Advancement of Science said it has compiled satellite images that provide evidence of village destruction, forced relocations and a growing military presence at sites across eastern Myanmar.

    The "Rambo" script, written long before the current Myanmar uprising, features boatman John Rambo -- the Vietnam War-era Green Beret who specializes in violent rescues and revenge _ taking a group of mercenaries up the Salween River in search of missing Christian aid workers in Myanmar. The character "realizes man is just a few paces away from savagery when pushed."

    "I called Soldier of Fortune magazine and they said Burma was the foremost area of human abuse on the planet," Stallone said.

    Stallone is now editing "John Rambo," which will be released in January, and said he Is trying to strike a balance and grapple with the question, "Are you making a documentary or a 'Rambo' movie?"

    Shots were fired over the film crew's heads at and there were threats, he said.

    "We were told we could get seriously hurt if we went on," Stallone said, adding the families of Burmese extras in the movie were imprisoned.

    "I was being accused, once again, of using the Third World as a 'Rambo' victim. The Burmese are beautiful people. It's the military I am portraying as cruel," he said.

    Stallone's next challenge is trying to get an "R" rating from the Motion Picture Association of America.

    "This is full scale genocide. I want an 'R' and I want the violence in there because it is reality. It would be a whitewashing not to show what's over there," he said, noting he plans to bring Myanmar survivors before the MPAA board.

    "I think there is a story that needs to be told," Stallone said.
     
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