Ongoing Battle for Burma’s freedom

06 October 2007

By Burmese Bloggers without Borders

Recently, everything seems rather quiet in Burma. Observers are even beginning to wonder whether things have come to a standstill after the military regime has brutally suppressed the protests in a similar way to 1988 movement. After the military regime took over power in 1988, the junta gave false hopes to the people by organizing elections and acted as if they would hand-over the power to the winning party. However, current situation differs in a way that the people will no longer be deceived by the junta in the same way.

Some explanations can be given as to why monks are leading the protests. During the democracy movements in 1988 and 1996, the university students led the protests. However, as time passed by, the national spirit of new generation of students has been systematically suppressed under General Khin Nyunt's (chairman of the Burma Education Committee) organized projects. Many universities and colleges were built in far-flung places of different cities and the hostels were closed down for the sole purpose of dispersing the students. In universities, students were even required to wear school uniforms, as if in high school, and break times had to be strictly adhered to. As a result, the political awareness within the students diminished, especially for the students who were not from the major cities. On top of not being given a chance to seek knowledge from various external sources, the students also had to contend with inadequate teaching facilities as well as obsolete educational syllabus. Hence, the educational standard in Burma merely dwindled away as years went by and this new generation of students currently seems to lack the leadership skills to inspire the movement.

With regards to leadership of the monks in the protests, the monks have always played an important role in Burma’s historical movements. There are mainly three societies who have power in Burma:- Religion, Students and Soldiers. At this point, soldiers are weapons of military regime, and the monks have to take a bigger role in leading the movement due to the weakened students' impact. Monks are the religious personnel who are highly revered by every Burmese. As such, people had never imagined that the peaceful protest of monks would be brutally cracked down by the junta like this.

In stark contrast to people’s expectations, when the junta accused the monks of being bogus monks and took extremely brutal actions to suppress them, the future of Burma became rather frightening. In a country, where natural resources as well as the spirit of the people are being stripped off slowly, the people have been managing to hang in there simply because of the teachings of Buddha. Only the pagodas and amicable sense of Buddhism have remained as part of Burma to be shown to the outside world. Based on the events from 1988 movement, it can be ascertained that the military regime will do whatever they can to hold on to their power. If the movement were to fail again this time, Burma may even end up losing the essence of Buddhism and may just end up under the complete dominance of the junta. As such, the minority groups in Burma will be thrown into even more difficult time. If we have to wait for ten to twenty years more for any significant change to take place in Burma, the whole country may end up in ruins. Time is crucial for Burma’s freedom.

In the words of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commenting on the visit: "You cannot call it a success." Intervention by international community may also not have much impact in undermining the military junta’s power over Burma. After all, China, Russia, US and UK seem to be competing against each other for power struggle. Since UN still may not have any concrete plan on how to handle Burma’s situation, it is important for us to note that we will have to be prepared to depend on ourselves to work towards Burma’s freedom.

It is pretty clear that in order for any change to occur in Burma, there must be movement both from within and outside of Burma. In fact, this is no longer merely about Burma. The whole world is watching to see whether a democracy can be successfully attained under the control of iron-fisted and ruthless junta. Therefore, it has become a momentous time not only for the history of Burma but also for the history of the world.

Thus, we would like to get your kind attention to the following:

People inside Burma
Keep it up! International Communities are supporting you all. Keep fighting for peaceful protest.

Political and Ethnic Organizations inside and outside Burma
Unite and make clear strategic decisions in order to remove the military regime.

Academic on Burma
Focus upon real civilians' perspective and understanding. Use your expertise and contribute better suggestions for the liberation of Burma

United Nations, International Organizations and Governments
Please act effectively and productively to put pressure on the military regime to stop repressions, and to make dialogue with opposition groups.

Dissident Groups and World Communities
Stay in touch with news updates, provide donations and get involved in Burma campaigns with your respective organizations.

Every minute and every second of your participations and movements will make a better life inside Burma especially for monks and people who have been under the threat of military regime.

Let us get involved in World's Campaign for free Burma on October 6, 2007.


Helz Cuppleditch said...

Hello Thway Ni

Your words are both inspiring and educating.

We will not allow the issues in Burma, or the plight of her people, to be ignored and fade away.

Humankind is on the brink of a new era, we are uniting through peace.

Love and peace from the UK.

Thway Ni said...

Hi Helz,

Thanks so much for your support. We feel very encouraged to know that we are not alone in our struggle.

-Thway Ni-
(Burmese Bloggers w/o Borders)

Bordon Jules said...

You are not alone.
THere are thousands of observers on Facebook, for exemple.
I also put up a blog, and there are many other out there. We will keep following the events

Lindsay Alderton said...

Thank you so much Thway Ni for taking both the risk and the time to keep the outside world informed. Internationally, the plight of the Burmese people holds the attention of millions. Yesterday, in Wellington New Zealand, we kicked off a day of global protests. There were many Burmese people from the local community, Amnesty International and members of parliament. People of many different ages and backgrounds came together, and collectively used their voices and spirits to send some positivity outwards to the brave people of Burma. You are not alone.

Love, peace and strength,

Lindsay (Wellington NZ)

shivaeye said...

dear people from burma, fighting for peace and freedom,
it's the same in germany.
as well a friend in india put you on his blogg. i sent burma-blogg-links to australien friends and so on... sooo:
all world is watching, what's going on in your country, only because you are so brave to continue publishing news, the most as possible. they are spreading it all around, turning on a big movement.
we are demonstrating in german cities and ask our government to support you. don't stop believing in a change into good.
we still believe and are with you.
luv, syl

Anonymous said...

Protestors march for Burmese monks along Mill
by Kendall Wright
published on Monday, October 8, 2007

Andrea Bloom
MONK MARCH: Burmese refugee Myintm San rallies during a march led by a group of monks along University Drive Saturday.

About 100 Valley residents marched against a government that is halfway across the world Saturday.

Buddhist monks representing the U.S. Campaign for Burma led supporters dressed in red — the symbol of bravery for the monks — as they marched down the length of Mill Avenue in protest. The march, put on by The Burmese Activists of Arizona, began at the Memorial Union, where a memorial for the people of Burma was held.

Since mid-August, pro-democracy movements have been led by monks and civilians of Burma against their government. Although the protests have been peaceful, the current government, the junta, has attempted to silence the people with extreme acts of violence.

"The current situation in Burma has only gotten worse," said Pyi Kyaw, a Chandler resident and recent ASU graduate at the march. "Burma has been suffering like this for 45 years under the military dictatorship. People have the right to freedom. It is important that we as human beings need to support these movements for those human rights reasons."

Saturday was designated a Global Day of Action for Burma by the Burma Campaign U.K. as a result of worldwide outrage of the Burmese government's concentrated effort to squelch the country's peaceful pro-democracy protesters. Protestors in more than 100 cities worldwide also held marches Saturday.

Protests for democracy began Aug. 15 when the junta doubled gas prices in the country. The move became the last straw for civilians living in one of the poorest countries in the world.

This is the second time that the Burmese people have risen against their country.
In 1988, peaceful protests for an elected civilian government led by students turned into a bloody massacre.

More than 5,000 people were killed at the hands of the junta and about 1,500 political prisoners are believed to still be imprisoned under harsh conditions.

Recent demonstrations for democracy continue to be led by thousands of Burmese monks despite shootings, beatings, killings and arrests by the junta.

Currently, there has been a reported ten people dead, as well as more than one thousand arrests and rising.

"The monks and students have definitely been treated unfairly," said Chandler resident Myo Thane. "That is why this march is important — to support the human rights and freedom that activists all over are protesting for the Burmese people."

The march presented a good opportunity to raise awareness and also to encourage governments worldwide that the current democracy movement needs as much support as it can get, he said.

Burmese–born Dr. Aung Khin of Anaheim, Calif., was among the group of supporters. He has been active in the fight for democracy and the improvement of the country since he escaped with his five children 31 years ago.

"The junta are treating the people like animals," Khin said, "They are a sub-human species because they act with no heart and no brain. They are selfish barbarians reigning terror inside Burma."

The march is among many movements that will bring international attention to the state of Burma that will hopefully send a message to the United Nations, Khin said. The civilians of the world are not fooled by the junta's actions, he said, and neither should the U.N.

"This dictatorship knows how to manipulate people, including the United Nations," Khin said. "They know how to manipulate people, but they don't have any idea how to improve the poverty of the country."

Reach the reporter at:


swe said...

At Leeds' Millennium Square we gathered on 6th October.... there were so many univ students and few burmese families.....
It was heart warming to see a few buddhist students from New Zealand.

The world has come together to help whatever way they can to free the people of Burma from military dictatorship.