Sunday, September 23, 2007

Burmese monk update II

By Michael J.W. Stickings

We're following the ongoing story of the opponents of Burma's totalitarian regime -- see here and here for previous posts. Here's the latest:

Myanmar police let about 500 protesting Buddhist monks through a roadblock to march past the home where opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is under house arrest, and the Nobel laureate came to her gate to greet them looking “fit and well,” witnesses said.

The unexpected visit briefly joined Myanmar's best-known advocate of democratic reform with the highly respected monks whose five straight days of protests this month have jolted the country's military junta. It was not immediately clear if there was any broader significance to the visit, but co-ordination between the two movements, which have been operating separately, could pose a new threat to the regime.

Thousands of monks held anti-government protest marches around Myanmar's largest city, Yangon, where the Nobel Peace Prize winner is under house arrest. Thousands more monks and other citizens marched in other cities in the tightly controlled country.

Myanmar is what the ruling junta calls Burma, which is why we continue to call it Burma.

As I said in my last post, the opponents of the regime -- the monks and Suu Kyi and her followers alike -- need international support. Burma isn't much of a cause in the West, but these opponents are fighting a just and noble cause.

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  • Is there anything substantive that we can do?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:23 AM  

  • Inasmuch as China seems to be one of the few countries that have any influence on Burma, I have sent a note to the Chinese Ambassador to the U.S.:

    "Greetings, Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong:

    I am writing in connection with the continued attack on the people and the Buddhist monks of Burma by the tyrannical army.

    As an American citizen of Chinese descent, I strongly urge the government of China to tell the Burmese military to stop brutalizing their people. The People's Republic of China is one of very few - perhaps the only - country that can make the government of Burma understand that what they are doing is wrong.

    If China wishes to be viewed as a leader in the world, it must be seen not merely as an economic leader, but also as a moral leader. This is especially true in the year before the Olympic games: How can China claim to be an international leader in sports, while not speaking out against the cruelty of the Burmese army to their own people, and to the respected monks of Burma?


    Neal J. King"

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:24 PM  

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