Author Topic: Burma: an orange revolution?  (Read 19080 times)

skdadl

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Burma: an orange revolution?
« on: September 25, 2007, 08:05:26 AM »
Here is an interesting BBC report on the swell of protests in Burma.

And here is the Guardian's latest report, which is followed by links to earlier stories, pics and vids and editorials.

I'm still sorting this out m'self, but the spark seems to have been a drastic rise in fuel prices a month or so ago, imposed arbitrarily by the military junta. The Buddhist monks began their marches, and the protests have now become general.

The U.S. has had sanctions on Burma for over a decade; Canada has not -- but probably more important to follow the money -- which multinationals are profiting from the exploitation of the Burmese people? See also narco-economy. That's all I've got for now.

Toedancer

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Burma: an orange revolution?
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2007, 10:00:40 AM »
The courage is amazing. Ordinary people are not allowed to march without the risk of being shot or taken to prison, so it is up to the monks to demand democracy, well first deal with the ongoing humanitarian crisis. The people join the march, protect the monks, and in doing so are able to march. These monks are demonstrating passivity in these times doesn't work. And that is sad, the only public voice can come through the monks while the rest of the world simply sleep walks or is de-sensitized by the ongoing iraq/iran/u.s. crap. Simply amazing,  Vive le Orange Revolution!
"Democracy is not the law of the majority, it's the protection of the minority." -Albert Camus 1913-1960

Toedancer

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Burma: an orange revolution?
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2007, 10:16:10 AM »
Oh dear I did not know the Burma gov was threatening violence to the monks. Brown speaks out

Quote
Mr Brown acted after the Burmese government threatened to "take action" against the Buddhist monks who have led the biggest protests in the south-east Asian dictatorship for almost two decades.

Yesterday, the prime minister used his keynote address to conference to highlight the tensions in Burma, insisting: "Human rights are universal and no injustice can last forever."

In today's letters, he wrote: "We have all been watching with concern the unfolding human tragedy in Burma, which requires immediate international action.

snip

Mr Miliband said he "looked forward" to the day that Aung San Suu Kyi took over as its elected leader.

"While I'm at it," he said. "Wasn't it brilliant to see Aung San Suu Kyi alive and well outside her house last week? I think it will be a hundred times better when she takes her rightful place as the elected leader of a free and democratic Burma."

The last great pro-democracy uprising in 1988 led to a military crackdown on demonstrators which resulted in an estimated killing of 3,000 students and some monks.


http://politics.guardian.co.uk/labour20 ... 33,00.html

Should the foreign secretary be saying things like that, when they need to send in an envoy to Burma?
"Democracy is not the law of the majority, it's the protection of the minority." -Albert Camus 1913-1960

Caissa

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Burma: an orange revolution?
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2007, 10:32:53 AM »
Bush has just denounced the Burmese regime at the UN.

skdadl

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Burma: an orange revolution?
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2007, 10:45:25 AM »
The politics behind that: yes, the junta is evil, and we do want it to go down.

However, Bushco don't like it because it is close to totally w/i the Chinese sphere of influence. Bushco want it back for themselves.

There are better spokespersons. Canada's position has never been that admirable, though.

swallow

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Burma: an orange revolution?
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2007, 12:34:58 PM »
I'm not sure Canada's rhetorical position can improve greatly. Our governments have treated the Burmese dictatorship as a Bad Guy for more than ten years.

Quote
In order to underscore the seriousness of Canada’s concerns, the government has put in place a number of political and economic measures against Burma that rank among the strongest actions taken by any country. Since 1988, Canada has banned the export of arms and limited all other exports to humanitarian goods. In January 2003, Burma was excluded from Canada’s Least Developed Country (LDC) market access initiative, which eliminates most duties and quotas on imports from the other 48 Least Developed Countries.

In July 2003, in response to the continued harassment and imprisonment of Aung San Suu Kyi and members of her political party, Canada imposed restrictive measures targeting senior members of the regime. Under these measures, the Burmese leadership, senior government officials and members of the military are to be denied visas for admission to Canada. Also, travel restrictions within Canada were imposed on Burmese diplomats based in Canada.

The Government of Canada has also repeatedly called on the business community not to engage in further investment agreements or commercial ventures in Burma until there is a marked improvement in the political situation. The Government of Canada encourages Canadians to support these efforts by choosing not to travel to Burma because the hard currency revenues generated by travel and tourism benefit the military government.

The Canadian government suspended Official Development Assistance to Burma in 1988. Canada does provide assistance to support Burmese refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons through organisations operating in border countries (Thailand, Bangladesh, India and China) and delivered through Canadian NGOs.

The bilateral measures and multilateral efforts undertaken by Canada reflect growing frustration with the Burmese military government’s record of abject failure to cooperate with the international community and end the mistreatment of its people. They will remain in place until significant progress on political transition to genuine democracy and respect for human rights can be demonstrated.


http://geo.international.gc.ca/cip-pic/ ... bb-en.aspx

It's not nearly enough, of course. No word of support as yet from the Canadian government for what the monks (and now nuns as well, which is a considerably braver step) are doing.

The Canadian Friends of Burma lists some further steps that can be taken on their web page (not updated as it shoudl be, but such is the nature of volunteer NGOs -- our civil society is not as strong as that of, say, Thailand in many cases). Bob Friedland's company Ivanhoe Mines is a chief Canadian corporate ally of the dictatorship.

http://www.cfob.org/cdn_investment.html

For me, this is major because the dictatorship has been using its "support" for Buddhism as a legitimizing factor since its creation. The "Burmese way to socialism" drew on perverted religious teachings to attempt to justify the suppression of democracy and the assimilation of minorities. The regime has been doing things like adding gold leaf to pagodas and funding "faith-based" groups while people suffer. All to accumulate merit. Now, the symbol of the overturned begging bowl and the monks' refusal to accept donations from the regime suggests that it will no longer be able to accumulate merit. That is very powerful indeed, since it strikes at the basis of such legitimacy as the regime maintains.

The rest of its legitimacy comes from things like the support of ASEAN governments. That has got to be withdrawn now, I think. "Constructive engagement" has made things worse and entrenched a vicious dictatorship by conferring a form of international legitimacy. Time to end that.

Tragically, legitimacy may not matter much, when these generals have shown how willing they are to shoot their own people. And they have an army of men that they have tried to train the compassion out of.
"You cursed brat. Look what you\'ve done. I\'m melting! Melting! Oh, what a world! What a world! Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness?"

swallow

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Burma: an orange revolution?
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2007, 12:37:22 PM »
Sorry for double post, but here's a great spot to start on the news from Burma: http://www.burmanet.org/news/
"You cursed brat. Look what you\'ve done. I\'m melting! Melting! Oh, what a world! What a world! Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness?"

John_D

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Burma: an orange revolution?
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2007, 02:36:06 PM »
Quote from: swallow
Tragically, legitimacy may not matter much, when these generals have shown how willing they are to shoot their own people. And they have an army of men that they have tried to train the compassion out of.


I think we have to hope that they have failed to train the compassion out of their front-line soldiers, or at least that those soldiers share the same complaints as do the ordinary citizens of Burma.

Failing that, there is also the hope that some section of the junta will see an opportunity in these protests, and will use them to create a coup-within-a-coup that will lead to, if not a truly democratic state, at least a less brutal one. (I'm thinking of the example of Romania here.)

At the very least, people are showing great courage and they are being rewarded with the world's attention. Let's do everything we can to keep that spotlight on. I am not by nature a hopeful person, but there certainly seems to me to be real reason for hope that Burma in five years will be a better governed place then it is now.

peppermint

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Burma: an orange revolution?
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2007, 08:57:45 PM »
pics of the protests
http://english.dvb.no/photo3.php?cat=6

 I'm really fearing a Tienanmen style military crackdown soon.  I spent a few days in a town along the Thai border with Burma, almost ended up going back to volunteer with refugees from there

Toedancer

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Burma: an orange revolution?
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2007, 10:30:11 PM »
Thanks for those pics, they are wunnerful. And yeah I guess it must have been hard not to go back and volunteer, very difficult decision peppermint. Maybe as John D suggests, if the military kill anyone at all, they will remember their own compassion and be disgusted with what they have done. We can only hope. Sanctions? how ridiculous is that?
"Democracy is not the law of the majority, it's the protection of the minority." -Albert Camus 1913-1960

sparqui

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Burma: an orange revolution?
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2007, 12:00:39 AM »
On Radio Netherlands they had an analyst/expert assessing what might happen next. He thought that China was running interference in the background - making sure things didn't escalate to violence since they are concerned about their image with the upcoming Olympics. China is a key investor but has traditionally taken a hands-off approach with respect to host governments in countries where they invest. Let's hope this guy is right.
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skdadl

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Burma: an orange revolution?
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2007, 07:27:11 AM »
Yes, let's hope he is right -- and the likelihood increases, as John D says, if we keep the spotlight on.

Thanks for that background, swallow. I had found CFB, and from their site went looking for the parliamentary group (there is one), but ran into that problem of no updating. The background is terrific, though, especially re: international investors.

Toedancer

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Burma: an orange revolution?
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2007, 08:52:36 AM »
They are being manhandled and hauled away in trucks.

Quote
Security forces fired warning shots and tear gas canisters while hauling Buddhist monks away in trucks Wednesday as authorities tried to stop anti-government demonstrations, the first mass arrests since protests erupted last month.

About 300 monks and activists were arrested across Yangon, according to an exile dissident group, and reporters saw a number of monks - who are highly revered in Myanmar - being dragged into trucks.  snip

"We are so afraid; the soldiers are ready to fire on civilians at any time," a man near the pagoda said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. snip

Zarganar, along with actor Kyaw Thu and poet Aung Way, led a committee that provided food and other necessities to the Buddhist monks who have spearheaded the protests. He earlier had been imprisoned twice and his comedy routines were banned for their satirical jokes about the regime.

The fates of the actor and poet were not immediately known.


AP

The Burma Net site has not been updated today.
"Democracy is not the law of the majority, it's the protection of the minority." -Albert Camus 1913-1960

fern hill

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Burma: an orange revolution?
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2007, 09:05:50 AM »
I saw some video taken secretly on the news last night. So many of the monks are young, really young. They look like teenagers. Fingers crossed for them.

Toedancer

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Burma: an orange revolution?
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2007, 11:25:16 AM »
They are kids, some of them. Best blog about it today from Eugene.
http://plawiuk.blogspot.com/2007/09/mya ... dance.html
"Democracy is not the law of the majority, it's the protection of the minority." -Albert Camus 1913-1960

 

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