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BURMA PROTEST September 24, 2007

Posted by wmmbb in South Asia.

Naomi Wolf suggests, perhaps as others have, that there are ten steps that lead from democracy to dictatorship. We might be witnessing the corollary of the opposite development in Burma.

The BBC explains in part why the monks are playing the leading role in opposition to the military junta:

In a country with alarmingly high childhood malnutrition rates – where a growing number of families are reduced to one meal a day – the monks are acutely aware of the suffering around them.

It is that suffering, along with resentment about the beating of individual monks by the authorities in earlier protests, which appears to have triggered this week’s sustained campaign of street demonstrations.

Monks in Rangoon and across the country have marched in a direct and humiliating challenge to Burma’s military authorities.

The monks’ involvement has breathed new life into a campaign which began last month as a response to an abrupt fuel price rise, and which had been faltering following the arrest of more than 100 activists.

What no-one knows yet is how much of a threat the monks now pose to a military government which has held power in Burma since 1962.

The latest report suggest that 150 nuns joined demonstrating monks, cheered by a crowd of thousands. Tact and an authoritarian mindset probably even in Burmese culture have trouble running along concurrent rails. The military are hesitant about the use of force, but surely that is their ultimate recourse. On the other hand, when people feel they have nothing to lose the government may have reached a terminal stage. In the absence of wise counsel, bloodshed and suffering seem destined.

The monks and nuns have given courage to the population to march in protest against the government.

UPDATE – 27 September 2007

The Military Junta appears to be showing little restraint as indicated from these first person reports on the BBC from Burma. The violence unfortunately was predictable. The question now is who is going to blink first.



1. Burma » Blog Archives » Footblogs :: RE: footbag-vienna's footblog - September 24, 2007

[…] BURMA PROTESTNaomi Wolf suggests, perhaps as others have, that there are ten steps that lead from democracy to dictatorship. We might be witnessing the corollary of the opposite development in Burma. (more…) […]

2. typingisnotactivism - September 26, 2007

it’s an amazing scene that’s unfolding right now huh? also so stunning in that even as Bush makes one step forward by getting proactive in sanctioning the junta leaders, he takes two back by telling the UN that the UN hasn’t been doing enough to protect human rights and oppressive regimes. It’s like Coca Cola addressing a dental conference… where they can say whatever they want because they’re one of the main sponsors.

The chilling piece of news today (wish i’d bookmarked it) was that the Burmese (Myanmartian?) military have ordered a large number of soldiers to shave their heads (to look like monks) and they have either ordered or taken delivery of 3000 sets of robes. So many directions that that points and none of them are good. Fingers crossed though – it’ll be a nice change to see
a. democracy in action
b. a lack of military and financial support for its opposite.

3. typingisnotactivism - September 26, 2007

p.s. latest update here:

loudspeakers on the streets, warnings being handed out. Guess they saw that coming. Good good luck to all in harm’s way.

4. wmmbb - September 26, 2007

Thanks for the update Typing.
I keep thinking Nicolae Ceauşescu. These things can get a momentum of support, especially when driven for something like extreme rises in prices for fuel, that the narrow power structures just implode. My expectation is that an authoritarian government will resort to force. The critical turning point might be whether they are obeyed.

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