Saturday, October 20, 2007

More From Myanmar

The New York Times Sunday Magazine, which will appear in print tomorrow, has a piece by Charles London recounting his experiences in Burma (Myanmar) in September - before the military junta crushed the protests led by Buddhist monks.

London is in front of the Sule Pagoda in Rangoon (Yangon):
'500 monks emerged in rows four across. They carried flags and overturned alms bowls. When the first group stopped and chanted a prayer, some people in the crowd dared to clap. It was timid at first, but as more monks emerged to begin their protest, the clapping grew louder until the whole crowd seemed overcome by it. A Burmese man leaned toward me. “They have never done this before,” he said. “They clap for freedom.” The faces in the crowd were excited, part bliss, part terror.

'As the monks kept pouring out of the temple, the clapping turned to cheers. They walked on and hundreds of civilians marched with them, in spite of the rain. “We march to University,” a man said, urging me to come. University Avenue is the home of Aung San Suu Kyi, the opposition leader who has been under house arrest for many years.'

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Myanmar Brutality

Today's Globe & Mail is reporting that, according to Democratic Voice of Burma, at least 138 people were killed and 6,000 imprisoned (2,400 of them Buddhist monks) as the Myanmar military junta crushes opposition. US diplomats have found 15 monasteries around Rangoon empty as the regime evicts monks. The arrested monks are being held at a former race course, forced to give up their robes, and transported to prisons in the north.

The junta appears to believe that it can avoid any serious consequences, as it enjoys continued support from Thailand, India and China. The Indian army chief of staff says that the crackdown is an "internal matter" and that New Delhi will try to maintain its "good relationship" with Rangoon.