Crisis in Burma

BEFORE I HEAD OUT I feel it’s necessary to at least write a short note about what’s going on in Burma (Myanmar) right now. The issue has been getting a good amount of attention from international media, but I fear that even with the world’s eye trained on the actions of authoritarian leader Than Shwe the situation will turn grim.

The latest report from the Bangkok Post says five people are feared dead after a clash between military and demonstrators, including one Japanese photojournalist who was shot. Another report says that roughly 100 Buddhist monks were rounded up and detained in Rangoon, the nation’s former capital.

From my limited understanding, the last time a pro-democracy movement rose up in Burma in 1988 nearly 3,000 people were murdered when the military fired into crowds of protesters (BBC). The Economist has a short history of the pro-democracy movement here, which is worth a read.

The sorry truth is that I’m really not sure what we can do as outsiders in this situation – but it is essential that we keep informed and speak out in any way we can. The people of Burma have long suffered under a regime that is both apathetic and murderous; this is the people’s inevitable uprising, and we cannot afford to sit idly by and see them crushed. For more updates on the situation from a culturally informed source check Fifty Viss blog, run by a Burmese-American student in California.

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