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monks dying in myanmar


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has anyone been following this story?

it really breaks my heart and i've been thinking about my friends there every day and wondering how they are doing.

myanmar is really the most magical place i've ever been. and with kind, peaceful people who have been in this struggle for so, so long.

monks hold a unique position in the country to evaluate the political/economic climate since they live off alms, so when they protest, it is a really big deal and garners tremendous popular support.

when i was there you are not supposed to fraternize with the locals and i and another friend (who was traveling around with a monk) had some problems with being followed. not that we let that stop us, but we had to be careful so as not to get our myanmar friends in trouble.

i really hope that this round of protests will get some notice in the world.

today's update:

Myanmar troops open fire on protesters, 9 dead

YANGON (Reuters) - Troops cleared protesters from the streets of central Yangon on Thursday, giving them 10 minutes to leave or be shot as the Myanmar junta intensified a two-day crackdown on the largest uprising in 20 years.

At least nine people were killed, state television said, on a day when far fewer protesters took to the streets after soldiers raided monasteries in the middle of the night and rounded up hundreds of the monks who had been leading them.

One of dead was a Japanese photographer, shot when soldiers cleared the area near Sule Pagoda -- a city-centre focus of the protests -- as loudspeakers blared out warnings, ominous reminders of the ruthless crushing of a 1988 uprising.

About 200 soldiers marched towards the crowd and riot police clattered their rattan shields with wooden batons.

"It's a terrifying noise," one witness said.

The army, which killed an estimated 3,000 people in 1988, moved in after 1,000 chanting protesters hurled stones and water bottles at troops, prompting a police charge in which shots were fired and the Japanese went down.

Soldiers shot dead three more people in a subsequent protest outside the city's heart as crowds regrouped and taunted troops. Their bodies were tossed in a ditch as troops chased fleeing people, beating anybody they could catch, witnesses said.

Another Buddhist monk -- adding to the five reported killed on Wednesday when security forces tried to disperse huge crowds protesting against 45 years of military rule -- was killed during the midnight raids on monasteries, witnesses said.

Monks were kicked and beaten as soldiers rounded them up and shoved them onto trucks. Some of the monasteries were emptied of all but the very old and sick, people living nearby said.

The raids were likely to anger Myanmar's 56 million people, whose steadily declining living conditions took a turn for the worse last month when the junta imposed swinging fuel price rises, the spark for the initial, small protests.

"Doors of the monasteries were broken, things were ransacked and taken away," a witness said. "It's like a living hell seeing the monasteries raided and the monks treated cruelly."

After darkness fell and curfew hour loomed, sporadic bursts of automatic rifle fire echoed over the city of five million people.


Elsewhere in the former Burma, the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission said it had received reports of a big demonstration in the northwest coastal town of Sittwe, as well as incidents in Pakokku, Mandalay and Moulmein.

Details were sketchy.

It was unclear whether the protests in Yangon would regain momentum in the absence of the clergy, whose marches drew large numbers into what has become a head-on collision between the moral authority of the monks and the military machine.

The junta, the latest incarnation of a series of military regimes, sent in the troops despite desperate international calls for restraint.

It told diplomats summoned to its new jungle capital, Naypyidaw, "the government was committed to showing restraint in its response to the provocations," one of those present said.

But international anger mounted sharply, despite the junta's long track record of ignoring the outside world. The generals have managed to live with tough sanctions from the United States and lesser ones from Europe for a decade.

Even China, the closest the isolated junta has to a friend, said it was "extremely concerned about the situation in Myanmar." The Foreign Ministry urged all parties to "maintain restraint and appropriately handle the problems that have arisen."

The White House demanded an end to the crackdown, and the European Union said it was looking urgently into reinforcing sanctions in response to the crackdown, which has already drawn more sanctions from the United States.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called it a "tragedy" and urged the generals to allow a U.N. envoy to visit and meet detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

"The regime has reacted brutally to people who were simply protesting peacefully," Rice said during the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he would dispatch special envoy Ibrahim Gambari to Southeast Asia in the hope the generals would let him in. U.N. sources said Gambari was heading to Singapore to try to get a visa.

However, in a sign of rifts within the international community at an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting, China ruled out sanctions or an official condemnation of the use of force.

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Thanks for bringing this up. I've been stuck to this story too, wishing the horrible doesn't happen and seeing it really start happening. But you're absolutely right - if anybody's going to galvanise support for change, it'll be the monks.

In class this week we've been looking at writing by Martin Luther King, and how he argued the case for non-violent resistance - it's wonderful to see the same spirit very much alive.

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yeah, it's really depressing. Having travelled in a lot of buddhist countries and spent time talking philosophy with monks and buddhist students, I have always been awed at how measured and wisened their thoughts and actions are. it just underscores how serious things are in Myanmar right now.

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Anyone know why the US and UK governments don't recognize the name 'Myanmar?' It's because of them I go crazy every time I hear "Myanmar, formerly known as Burma."

We were having a discussion about this around here earlier .. I'm supposing it has to do with those government's reluctance to recognize the junta as legitimate.

Interestingly, just a couple hours ago I heard a reporter (I wish I'd paid more attention to which network) say "Myanmar, formerly Burma but now Burma again .." I'm guessing that can just be attributed to a reporter on a tight schedule who has been following the US media (or in it) who didn't have time to dig into it? Or has something changed?

Sad story for sure.

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drawk/AD, guess i'd better give a serious answer to clear up the confusion :)

the country is myanmar (actually myanma, the r in english denotes a long vowel a) and the language and people are myanmar as well. i have heard that people (foreigners i mean) still refer to it as burma in an effort to show that they do not recognize the current government. but burma was a name given by the british during their rule and is not the real name of the country. the british had their own form of tyranny there for a long time so it doesn't make much sense to me to use that name. myanma is truer to the original name of the country. everyone in the country calls in myanma whether or not they are opposed to the government. no one ever would refer to it as burma there.

also...there is barely any internet there as is...which is why until now no one really cared about this situation (which has been ongoing for 40 years!)

i was there in 2004 and internet was illegal (though i did find it twice). but normally if you wanted to send email you had to do it through a govt. server and your email would be read by them first.

Edited by Guest
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"Canada calls it Burma, the UN calls it Myanmar," says CTV.

Whatever it's called, I just saw a Japanese journalist gunned down on TV.

Internet off, journalists killed. Al Jazeera smuggled some videos out, that's probably about the end of it. This country is going dark until what's done is done.


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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Monks return to streets of Burma

More than 100 monks have marched in central Burma, the first time they have returned to the streets since last month's bloody crackdown on protests.

The monks chanted and prayed as they marched through Pakokku, the site of an incident last month that triggered pro-democracy protests nationwide.

The government said 10 people died during the crackdown, but diplomats believe the toll was much higher.

Thousands more - many of them monks - were thought to have been detained.

Separately, the Human Rights Watch organisation has accused the Burmese army of forcibly recruiting children to cover gaps left by a lack of adult recruits.

Envoy's return

Pakokku is a centre of Buddhist learning about 630km (390 miles) north-west of Rangoon.

Reports that soldiers had beaten up monks there on 6 September gave momentum to protests that had begun on 19 August to demonstrate against fuel price rises.

Witnesses at Wednesday's march said the monks did not make any overt political statements but that the rally was clearly in defiance of the junta.

In the wake of the crackdown on protesters last month, public gatherings of monks in Burma have been banned and many monasteries remain deserted.

According to the BBC's Asia correspondent Andrew Harding, there is no way of telling whether this new demonstration is the start of another wave of protests.

One monk who was on the march told the Democratic Voice of Burma, a Norway-based radio station run by dissident journalists: "We are continuing our protest from last month as we have not yet achieved any of the demands we asked for.

"Our demands are for lower commodity prices, national reconciliation and immediate release of [pro-democracy leader] Aung San Suu Kyi and all the political prisoners."

Aung Nyo Min, the Thai-based director of the Human Rights Education Institute of Burma, said of the rally: "This is very significant... we are very encouraged to see the monks are taking up action and taking up peaceful demonstrations in Burma."

'Systemic abuse'

There are hundreds of thousands of monks in Burma. They are highly revered and the clergy has historically been prominent in political protests.

The crackdown on protests sparked international action, with the US and EU imposing sanctions and embargoes.

United Nations envoy Ibrahim Gambari is expected to return to Burma this weekend for talks with the military government in the wake of the crackdown.

I do think this sort of economic and political frustration that is within the population will manifest itself again in the coming months

Mark Canning,

UK ambassador to Burma

A Western diplomat told Agence France-Presse news agency Mr Gambari would be in Burma from 3-8 November.

Mr Gambari last visited on 29 September, just three days after the bloody crackdown began, and met junta chief Gen Than Shwe and Aung San Suu Kyi.

He has been on a six-nation Asian tour to try to increase pressure on the generals.

British ambassador to Burma, Mark Canning, told the BBC he expected further unrest in the country.

"I do think this sort of economic and political frustration that is within the population will manifest itself again in the coming months."

Meanwhile, in a move that will add further pressure to the ruling junta, the campaign group Human Rights Watch has released a report saying children as young as 10 are beaten or threatened with arrest to make them enlist in the military.

The government insists it is opposed to the use of child soldiers, but Human Rights Watch says the abuses have been extensive and systemic.

Are you in the area? Did you see the march? Send us your comments using the form below:

You can send pictures and video to:

yourpics@bbc.co.uk or text them to 61124 . If you have a large file you can upload here. Click here to see terms and conditions

At no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws.


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Story from BBC NEWS:


Published: 2007/10/31 09:31:36 GMT


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  • 2 weeks later...

Dear friends of Burma :

Please see the special program broadcast yesterday on Global News Channel. It is now available online http://www.listenuptv.com/programs/071111burma.shtml and detail program information below:

Remembering Burma – Listen Up TV

Today - a special Remembrance Day edition of Listen Up TV.

More than 2-million Canadians are being remembered for their service in times of war and peace. Today we’ll bring you greetings from soldiers in Afghanistan . But we’ll also travel back through the decades and visit with veterans of what’s been called “ Canada ’s Forgotten War;†Burma , where Canadians still lie in unmarked jungle graves.

While Canada ’s mission in Afghanistan has been mired in controversy, most Canadians concede the desperate humanitarian need there cannot be ignored. We’ll have more on that story in an upcoming Listen Up, with our producer Dave Pascoe back from assignment in Afghanistan

Caring for the human cost when there is no democracy has always been what’s driven our soldiers to sacrifice. Case in point, today’s veterans call to remember the Forgotten War - the 1940 to 1945 campaign for Burma ’s independence. Veterans of that war are still leveraging their concern for the people there. Burma ’s military junta recently brutalized protestors who demonstrated against a 500 % increase in the cost of essential goods. Led by peaceful Buddhist monks, the Burmese were protesting forced labor, political prisoners, the regime’s violence, and a lack of food and widespread poverty. It all brought back memories for Burmese refugees to Canada .

Today, Burmese refugees in Ottawa pay tribute to Canada ’s care for freedom in their homeland.


Lt. Col. Edmund Blais

Veteran of Burma Campaign

Dr. Robert Farquharson

Author, Pilot, Veteran of Burma Campaign


In 1941, at the age of 18, Robert Farquharson went to Britain with the Canadian army, then transferred to the RCAF and spent the last year of the war as a pilot with an RCAF transport squadron in Burma . After the war he took his PhD at the University of California , Berkeley and for the next 28 years was a professor of German Literature at Victoria College . After retiring in 1988, he devoted himself to writing For Your Tomorrow: Canadians and the Burma Campaign, 1941-1945.

Tin Maung Htoo

Director, Canadian Friends of Burma


Rev. Joyce Trask

Bromley Baptist Church


Nimrod Andrew

Burmese/Myanmar Karen Refugee

Latt Ko Ko

Burmese/Myanmar Refugee

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sigh... sanctions. i don't feel good about this.

i mean the US has had sanctions against them for the past 20 years and it had no effect. canada's help can't amount to this.

The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced yesterday that Canada is taking the “toughest sanctions in the world†against Burma .

"The strongest message has to be sent. Sanctions are the means by which we, not just Canada, but the international community, can best exert pressures against the military junta," the Minister told in a private meeting with Burmese Buddhist monks and dissident leaders yesterday morning in Toronto.

CFOB has constantly lobbied the government to impose stronger measures against Burmese military regime. Canada only imposed selective economic measures in the past including putting Burma into ‘Area Control List’, withdrawing Burma ’s ‘General Preferential Tariff’ (GPT) eligibility, cancelling multilateral assistance through international financial and suspecting bilateral aid.

“Now the dream comes true,†said Tin Maung Htoo, executive director of Canadian Friends of Burma. “We welcome these strongest measures and thank Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier, and Secretary of States for Multiculturalism Jason Kenney for their leadership role.â€

“The whole Burmese democratic movement are now very encouraged by this action and will appreciate Canada ’s role in their struggle for democracy in Burma ,†added Tin Maung Htoo.

On Oct. 17, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper tabled a motion in the House, calling for conferring Canadian Honorary Citizenship to Burmese Democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The motion was unanimously passed.

“We also thank all institutional and individual supporters including Members of Parliament for providing moral and material support for our work,†said Tin Maung Htoo. “Now, we’ve accomplished something for Burma , but still have to work for the achievement of democracy in Burma â€

The sanctions include:

· Ban all goods exported from Canada to Burma , excepting only the export of humanitarian goods

· Ban all goods imported from Burma into Canada

· Freeze assets in Canada of any designated Burmese nationals connected with the Burmese Government

· Prohibit the provision of Canadian financial services to and from Burma

· Prohibit the export of any technical data to Burma

· Ban new investment in Burma by Canadian persons and companies

· Prohibit Canadian-registered ships or aircraft from docking or landing in Burma

· Prohibit Burmese-registered ships or aircraft from docking or landing in Canada and passing through Canada .

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