Archive for the ‘Burma’ Category

Burma Update: “We may fail, but we will win.”
October 4, 2007

 

this-is-not-a-game-1.jpg

Yesterday, Oct 3rd:
*UN worker and her family were abducted

*One blogpost for Burma: Idea that all bloggers were to abstain from writing and post the simple graphic below. I’m not sure how well it worked, but creative!

*Matt and I attended the US Senate Hearing on the Saffron Revolution: The room was packed out. Supporters wearing shirts with the graphic above filled the front rows along with several monks and prominent leaders of the US Campaign for Burma. The discussion focused on economic sanctions especially from China, Thailand, and India. A witness from Human Rights Watch, Mr. Tom Malinowski, outlined targeted banking sanctions as a strategy for denying the military junta access to the wealth they currently have.

The Mme Chair of the committee, Senator Boxer, was awesome at exposing some of the inadequacies of the actions taken by the executive branch which were outlined by a witness from the State Department. Two of her feisty-er highlights were: those economic sanctions have “a loophole the size of a mack truck” and we’re interested in “giving you the back bone” to act further.

Senator Kerry was also present and certainly went on the record as grilling the State Department witness–but I’m not sure he was effective at doing much more than letting us all know he wanted to see some progress on Burma. Thanks for your 6 minutes Kerry, now back to some constructive sass from Boxer!

Today, Oct 4th: The junta has totally shut down the Internet in Burma and suddenly the voices of the monks are silenced.

Tomorrow, Friday, October 5th is National Campus Day for Action in Burma. Check out www.studentsforburma.org

Saturday, Oct 6th: Global Day for Burma: Marches across the US

Washington DC: There will be a large march happening this Saturday starting at 12 noon. We will begin our march at the Burmese embassy (2300 S St NW) and from there march to the Chinese embassy, and then onto the Indian embassy, where, standing in front of the Gandhi statue, we will point out the hypocrisy of the Indian government.

Finally, the quote above was issued by witness Aung Din at the hearing yesterday. Aung Din survived torture and served over 4 years as a political prisoner in Burma. Senator Boxer vowed to fight even if we don’t have the votes in both the Senate and the UN after listening to Aung Din’s statement.


October 3, 2007

ONE BLOGPOST FOR BURMA

Burma: US Senate Hearing Tomorrow
October 2, 2007

October 3rd, 2007: Wear red as a symbol of solidarity with the monks and protesters in Burma tomorrow (and attend the US Senate Hearing on the Saffron Revolution at 2:30). The following is a request for support from the US Campaign for Burma sent out late this afternoon. I’ll be at Union Station at 1 pm, call me 770-403-9294.

Dear all,

We are asking for all of our friends in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC to attend a hearing in the US Senate tomorrow (Wednesday) and help us fill the room with people wearing the color red. For the front row of the hearing room, we have printed dozens of t-shirts that demand UN Security Council action. We need 30 people to meet at the fountain in front of Union Station at 1:00 pm. We will give you t-shirts so that you can sit in the front row at the hearing so that the media cameras will see you with your t-shirts. From Union Station, we will all walk to the hearing together.

We need to know who the 30 people are right away — so please email me at jennifer@uscampaignforburma.org and let us know if you can be there. Bring your friends too. The hearing starts at 2:30 and we need to be there early to make sure we can get seats so be sure to be at Union Station at 1:00 if you want to help us wear the shirts.

If you can’t be there early, show up on time but BE SURE TO WEAR A RED SHIRT IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE MONKS. LETS PACK THE ROOM IN RED. You will still need to be there at least 45 minutes early so you can get a seat.

Jennifer Quigley

Details of the hearing:

BURMA’S SAFFRON REVOLUTION

——————————————————————————-

HEARING

before the

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
UNITED STATES SENATE
ONE HUNDRED TENTH CONGRESS

FIRST SESSION

——————————————————————————–

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

——————————————————————————–
Time: 2:30 PM
Place: 419 The Dirksen Senate Office Building

Presiding: Senator Boxer

Witnesses:

Panel 1:

Mr. Scot Marciel
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Department of State

Witnesses:
Ko Aung Din
Policy Director and Co-Founder
U.S. Campaign for Burma

Mr. Tom Malinowski
Washington Advocacy Director
Human Rights Watch

Dr. Michael Green
CSIS Japan Chair, former NSC Asia Director

Burma
October 2, 2007

Everyone’s probably been reading the headlines and news trickling in about the protests in Burma over inflated fuel prices and the ruling junta’s bloody retaliation to the peaceful marches. The junta has shut down all internet and media sorces in the country to prevent images of the violence from leaking. Reports have just been issued that the regime is burning the bodies of protesters, including those still alive.

A good resource that I have found for keeping abreast is the US Campaign for Burma website. Besides breaking news coming out of Burma, they also have listed a number of solidarity actions taking place across the world.

Today there was an emergency march in NYC from the Myanmar Mission to the UN in which Rachel was able to participate. Rachelly rocks!

Friday, October 5th is National Campus Day for Action in Burma. Check out http://www.studentsforburma.org . Hopefully my rad activist friend Alicia is on top of this at UGA.

Saturday, October 6th is International Day of Solidarity with Burma: Support the monks in Burma at noon in every major city across the world. Has anyone heard anything about plans in DC? I’ll check with GI-Net and post when I hear. Also, ATL? Athens?

Ok, here’s the a brief version of the recent history of Burma taken from the US Campaign for Burma’s website. I didn’t know any of these details until I heard Patrick from the Campaign speak at a panel discussion this past weekend:

Burma in Brief

The people of the Southeast Asian country of Burma are locked in one of the world’s great freedom struggles. The country’s military rulers, the State Peace and Development Council, have run the country with an iron fist for the past 15 years, after they assumed power from a 26-year socialist dictatorship. In 1988, students, professionals, and others launched a nationwide uprising aimed at bringing an end to authoritarian rule during which millions of people courageously marched on the streets, calling for freedom and democracy.

The military responded by gunning down thousands of demonstrators and imprisoning thousands more in one of Southeast Asia’s most bloody episodes in recent history. The leader of the demonstrations, Min Ko Naing (pronounced Min Ko Nine), has been held behind bars ever since, where approximately 1,400 political prisoners remain. The most recognizable face of Burma, 1991 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (pronounced Daw Aung Sawn Sue Chee), has been in and out of house arrest and prison since 1988. Presently, she is held under house arrest.

Worried that they could not hold on to power in 1988, the ruling generals announced they would hold a democratic election. Aung San Suu Kyi and many allies formed a political party, which they named the National League for Democracy (NLD). The party went on to win the election in a landslide victory in 1990, garnering an astounding 82% of the seats in parliament, even though many pro-democracy leaders were already imprisoned. Tragically, instead of permitting the electoral winners to assume office, the regime has maintained its grip on power ever since.

In 1996, students again organized major protests on the streets of Rangoon, with thousands conducting sit-down demonstrations at key traffic intersections. The regime responded again by force, brutally beating them with batons and water canons, and arresting hundreds. This time, a videographer managed to capture some of the events on camera, which were then shown on CNN and other news stations.

In May 2003, Burma again made international headlines when Aung San Suu Kyi, just released from house arrest a year earlier, was traveling on a speaking tour near Mandalay, Burma’s second largest city. During her tour, approximately 600 members of her caravan were brutally attacked by the political arm of the regime, the Union Solidarity and Development Association. Up to 100 supporters were brutally beaten to death with blunt clubs, bamboo sticks, and spears, while Aung San Suu Kyi narrowly escaped assassination. She was held in prison and is now under total house arrest.

At the same time, many of Burma’s ethnic groups, including the Karen, Shan, and others, have been waging armed freedom struggles against the regime, some for up to 50 years. The regime, intent on dominating the entire country, has responded with brutal force — raping, slaughtering, or forcibly displacing millions of ethnic peoples. Reports of some of the world’s most horrific human rights abuses have been documented by governments and credible organizations in Burma’s ethnic regions, yet these peoples never give up the struggle to protect their homelands and way of life.

The NLD, the true elected leaders of Burma, have called on citizens and governments around the world to put international pressure on Burma’s regime. Our mission is to respond to this call — please contact us today or become a member to get involved. We are grassroots citizens just like you — and we need your help.

Responsibility to Protect,
Katie