Saturday, June 7, 2008, 5:49pm
Monks Succeed in Cyclone Relief as Junta Falters. In Burma (Myanmar) the Buddhist monks are doing more than anyone to help the victims of Cyclone Nargis. At the same time, Burmese officials are trying to stem the influence of the monks by forcing survivors who have sought refuge in monasteries to return to their shattered homes.
Saturday, May 10, 2008, 1:27pm
Burma: It Can't Wait is a month-long video campaign by the US Campaign for Burma to raise awareness of the plight of Burma (Myanmar) and Aung San Suu Kyi. There will be one video a day for 30 days from celebrities including Will Ferrel, Sarah Silverman and Eddie Izzard.
But now the political situation in Burma has been overshadowed by a humanitarian catastrophe: a massive cyclone hit Burma on Saturday, killing over 10,000 people. The question now is whether the reclusive military Junta will accept international aid, and what the political ramifications will be if they don't handle this well.
Thursday, January 31, 2008, 2:35pm
Myanmar's junta has stepped up surveillance of the Internet, arresting one blogger who wrote about the stifling of free expression in the military-ruled nation, a media advocacy group said.
The blogger, Nay Myo Latt, was taken into custody in Yangon on Wednesday after writing about the suppression of freedoms following last fall's crushing of pro-democracy demonstrations, Reporters Without Borders said.
¶ Burma Orders UN Official To Leave Due To Statement Urging The Government To Listen To The Protesters
Friday, November 2, 2007, 10:45am
Myanmar's government ordered the expulsion of the United Nations' top diplomat in the country today, after his office issued a critical statement urging the ruling generals to heed the voices of protesters.
The diplomat, Charles Petrie, was handed a letter ordering his expulsion at the end of a meeting with government officials today in Naypyidaw, the countryâ€™s capital.
On Oct. 24, Mr. Petrie's office issued a statement urging the government to listen to dissenting voices in Myanmar and warning of a "deteriorating humanitarian situation." It concluded with a reference to the protests, which erupted after a fuel price hike in August and developed into a wider movement calling for political change, before troops moved in to suppress them in late September.
"Many of the issues that were raised over the last two months by monks and others were exactly the same issues that we were trying to raise for the last four to five years," he said.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007, 12:35pm
More than 100 monks have marched in central Burma, the first time they have returned to the streets since last month's bloody crackdown on protests.
The monks chanted and prayed as they marched through Pakokku, the site of an incident last month that triggered pro-democracy protests nationwide.
The government said 10 people died during the crackdown, but diplomats believe the toll was much higher.
Thousands more - many of them monks - were thought to have been detained.
Separately, the Human Rights Watch organisation has accused the Burmese army of forcibly recruiting children to cover gaps left by a lack of adult recruits.
Friday, October 19, 2007, 11:15pm
As soon as the protests had been violently quashed by the army, the regime set about making everything look normal again. At the UN General Assembly, the Burmese junta's Foreign Minister, Nyan Win, even went so far as to declare, "Normalcy has now returned to Myanmar [Burma]."
But Rangoon felt to me like a movie set. I imagined an invisible director ordering a cluster of fruit vendors to set up their stalls at the edge of a market, calling for a crowd of pedestrians to surge across a busy street, and hanging billboard advertisements for the latest cinema releases.
On my first day in Rangoon I telephoned an old friend who had a merry greeting: "Welcome to my wonderful country where nothing has just happened!" Later that same day I bumped into another friend who was visibly agitated by events: "Everyone is just pretending," she told me.
Things might look normal on the surface but, in the diary I kept while I was there, the adjectives I used to describe the moods of the various people I spoke to are repeated over and over again: angry, scared, depressed, angry, scared, depressed, angry, scared, depressed...
In order to solidify the crackdown, the regime's lackeys and informers are infiltrating teashops, schools, monasteries -- anywhere where people gather. As a result, what little trust existed before the recent protests took place is being systematically broken down.
Monday, October 8, 2007, 8:56pm
Since last month Ko Latt, 28, his friends Arca, Eye, Sun and Superman, and scores of others like them have been the third pillar of Burma's Saffron Revolution. While the veteran democracy activists, and then the Buddhist monks, marched in their tens of thousands against the military regime, it is the country's amateur bloggers and internet enthusiasts who have brought the images to the outside world.
Armed with small digital cameras, they have documented the spectacular growth of the demonstrations from crowds of a few hundred to as many as 100,000. On weblogs they have recorded in words and pictures the regime's bloody crackdown, in a city where only a handful of foreign journalists work undercover. With downloaded software, they have dodged and weaved around the regime's increasingly desperate attempts to thwart their work. Now the bloggers, too, have been crushed. Having failed to stop the cyber-dissidents broadcasting to the world, the authorities have simply switched off the internet.
The realities of political oppression made life difficult. A blogger who posted a photograph of a demonstration found herself arrested, questioned and her computer seized.
The regime responded, first by blocking individual Burmese blogs, then, last Wednesday, by blocking all of them. But the overseas sites were beyond its reach, so on Friday it switched off the internet altogether. Now e-mails can be sent only within Burma; the only pages that web browsers can view are those of the official websites.
The only solution now would be to dial up ISPs overseas but the cost of international calls makes this prohibitive. As Superman puts it: "Now Burma is like the Stone Age."
Monday, October 8, 2007, 8:52pm
Like many people, I'm riveted by what's going on in Burma, and also feeling unsure of what I could possibly do to help. My idea was to shave my head, like the monks do, to show my support, raise awareness, and hopefully rally more people to do the same. My understanding is that they have already begun doing this in Burma.
I heartily agree with one of the comments:
i think you've hit upon a fine idea -- the head shaving *will* be subtle, probably only noticeable to your friends; but i think this is the type of act people will respond well to.
Maybe it's because I attended college at Berkeley, and I'm used to ignoring people holding fluorescent signs and saying naive things into megaphones, or maybe it's because I'm jaded and apathetic, but I tend to shut out most overt protest. However, if one of my friends shaved their head and I was like 'hey, whoa, crazy haircut', and they told me, 'oh, i did it because X', I'd be much more likely to listen.
of course, I'm assuming that you're not going to be actively pushing flyers in people's faces who aren't already curious about your haircut. Sure, this limits the number of people you reach, but it makes the quality of the interaction much greater, IMHO.
Monday, October 8, 2007, 8:50pm
The raids, arrests, beatings, and murders have begun in Myanmar. And for the Record, the People's Republic of China, the number one ally, financial backer, and spiritual guide of the State Peace and Development Council has never done anything to discourage the junta's use of violence--though everyone believes they easily could now. Worse, in this case the PRC may have encouraged violence, for just as China successfully cracked down on (massacred) its student protesters at Tiananmen Square in 1989, so the Burmese junta is cracking down on its Buddhist-led protesters with China's tacit approval in 2007.