25.9.07

Protests in Burma/Myanmar

Tens of thousands of monks and civilians around Burma have held the biggest protest marches against the military government yet.

Eyewitnesses say up to 100,000 people marched peacefully through Rangoon with monks demanding better living conditions and national reconciliation.

The military government has so far showed restraint over the protests.

Monks are highly revered in Burma and any move by the junta to crush their demonstrations would spark an outcry.

The military suppressed the last democracy uprising in 1988, killing some 3,000 people, correspondents say.

[...]

On Saturday, monks marched to greet Aung San Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest, but access to her home was barred on Sunday, and again on Monday.

[...]

The organisation that has emerged to lead the protests, the Alliance of All Burmese Buddhist Monks, has vowed to continue marches until it has "wiped the military dictatorship from the land".

The protests were triggered by the government's decision to double the price of fuel last month, hitting people hard in the impoverished nation. [Full article at the Beeb]

It's interesting to note that if Burma/Myanmar is impoverished, it's probably in large part because of sanctions against the junta. Naturally, the nation's dictators avoid the sanctions themselves by passing its effects on to the citizens they oppress. There seems to be something of a rift in the 'free Burma' movement about the morality (or lack thereof) of deliberately increasing injustice in a nation in order to provoke a revolution against its repressive government.

In any case, I can only hope these monks and activists succeed in their aim of peacefully installing democracy in a troubled nation.

2 comments:

zhoen said...

I love seeing those who profess compassion actually willing to put their lives on the line. Not to excuse the oppressors, nor decrease my abhorrence of the situation in general. Just, well, integrity has an imposing beauty.

Michelle said...

Yeah, it's like the sanctions the US imposed on Iraq. They didn't hurt Saddam much. It's a hard question to answer. Sanctions sound non-violent, but they're not, really.

I agree with zhoen. What courage.