Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Another execution in Burma

May I borrow a text published in several blog cboxes (, :

Coporal Aung Naing from Sit Tway-based battalion has been sentenced to death after he pointed out at his battalion's-in-charge that it is not media such as BBC, DVB giving out false news but rather, they are informing the world about the true situation in Burma. Coporal Aung Naing was immediately arrested and sent to high martial court for execution. All his possessions have been confiscated and his family has been asked to return to their hometown.

Another interesting blog : John Pilger has been saying the same thing over the last ten years, with movies, articles, etc. It is impressive to see how an article wrote in 2000 (Burma in the balance) could have been written today, or a movie of 1996 (Burma - Land of Fear) show the same images as today. Very interesting; by the way, he won a large number of awards
(International Actual Award for Risk Journalism, Barcelona, Spain, 1996; Bronze Gold Special Jury Award, 'Film & Video Production division', WorldFest-Charleston, 1996; Award for Best Factual Programme, RTS Midland Centre Awards, Birmingham, 1996; Gold Apple in the category 'Politics: Social organisations in other lands', 1997 NEMN Apple Awards, Oakland, 1997; the updated version won a Gold Award in the 'Film & Video Production division', WorldFest-Houston, 1999)

The Beijing Olympics : What is being celebrated ?

Stay away from propaganda Olympics.
Don't stain your soul, stay away from the bloodshed that is estinguishing the Olympic Flame.
Don't submit your ears to hypocrital propaganda discourse about China "grandeur".
Of course China is fast growing, it is the Country with the larger number of slaves.
And its "development" pay the price of being the most polluted one.
True development is another story.
Don't be a part of this horror! Boycott the Olympics!
Your awareness can change the world.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Stumbling again on Human Rights and China

Along my search for Burma's news, I am continously stumbling on connected articles about Human Rights violation by China. For exemple in the BeijingBlogger there are few NEW (to me) exemples of violations, such as :
Beijing police round up and beat African expats (The Guardian): Chinese police officers dressed in black jumpsuits, equipped with tasers and batons, went into the Sanlitun Bar District of Beijing and arrested and beat every black man in sight. "There was blood on the streets. They were basically beating up any black person they could find," a witness told the Guardian newspaper.
China: Tibetan Schoolboys Detained as Crackdown Worsens: police detained some 40 students on or around September 7. The students were alleged to have written slogans calling for the return of the Dalai Lama and a free Tibet. One of the detainees, aged 14, is reported to have been badly beaten during or after the arrest and was bleeding profusely when last seen by relatives. “Arresting and beating up teenagers for a political crime shows just how far China has to go before it creates the ‘harmonious society’ China’s leaders talk so much about.” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
Chinese troops fired on a group of 73 Tibetans, including children, attempting to flee Tibet : Chinese People’s Armed Police (PAP) shot dead a 17-year-old girl named Kelsang Namtso from Nagchu on September 30. At least one other Tibetan, 23-year-old Kunsang Namgyal from Kardze, was shot twice and arrested, and is feared dead. Other fell on the mountain as well. They were part of a group of 73 Tibetans who were attempting to cross the border into Nepal through the 6,000-meter-high Nangpa Pass. Link to the Video showing Chinese snipers shooting at the group as they walk:

China maintains close relations with and provides aid to countries where severe, ongoing human rights violations occur : Darfur (see BeijingBlogger's previous posts on Sudan), Angola, Zimbabwe, Congo, Saudi Arabia, Burma, North Korea, Iran, ... China has NOT ratified the International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights, which it signed in 1998.

Inside China, Human Rights abuses go on primarily for supressing the Tibetans, and the Uyghurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim population in Xinjiang Province. Executions, and imprisonment of Uyghur nationalists are common. In Tibet, suspected 'separatists', many of whom come from monasteries and nunneries, are routinely imprisoned for long years.

Thus, more and more, it comes out that the key player for many Human Rights deviations in the region is China.

And, again, it turns out that one key occasion to bring China to face its responabilities are the Olympics. "The Olympics were awarded to China in hope that human rights and democracy would improve in the country. However, this has backfired, repression, suppression and human rights abuses are still rife, and the government shows no sign of letting". Followed up on

Again an interesting argument by BejingBlogger : Taiwan will hold a referendum next year as a precursor to decide independence, quite "suspiciously" close to the dates of Olympics. To declare indipendence during Olympics could be a move considered by Taiwan. Tibet, Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang (perhaps the most repressed province) are less likely to take that step but they too may be thinking of actions during that period. Two meditations :

1. Everyone needs to keep up the pressure on China's Olympics, also more and more called Genocide Olympics even by authoritative journals as Washington Post, Boston Globe and The Economist :

The Eco : One year to go

The Boston Globe : Genocide Games
Journalist blog :

2. Taiwan, Burma, Tibet, North Korea, Laos, the Uyghurs, Inner Mongolia and other minorities should join forces to try to resist to the Chinese oppression (negative view) and help democratise it (positive view, you take what you like). And the role of Singapour and other ASEAN countries should be to help them, were their democracies be sincere.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

A serious humanitarian emergency

Joint communiqué from the humanitarian associations-NGOs : Action Contre la Faim, Aide Medicale Internationale, Asian Harm Reduction Network, Deutsche Welthungerhilfe/German Agro Action, Enfants du Monde, Droits de l'Hommes, International HIV/AIDS Alliance, Malteser International, Medecins du Monde, Norwegian People's Aid, Population Services International, Terre des Hommes, Save the Children.

"In Myanmar there is a serious humanitarian emergency comparable to that experienced by some areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, because of lack of services, poverty, economic backwardness, disinformation. Problems afflicting the people of Burma unfortunately does not appear enough on the front pages of newspapers, crowded exclusively by the political crisis. However, beyond the political dimension, the crisis is mainly a humanitarian emergency of enormous dimensions"says Giangi Milesi, president of Cesvi. "Each year over 130,000 children die before their 5 years in Myanmar ; More than a third of children are malnourished, and in the Dry Zone, where Terre des hommes Italia is, this figure reaches 50%. Despite this tragedy, aid from the international community barely reach 2 USD per person, when it was of thousands of dollars per capita during tsunami relief, "notes the Secretary General of Terre des hommes Italy.

So, sanctions or not sanctions ? Except the personal sanctions against precise individuals, I do not believe in sanctions. I believe in political solutions. The three first actors are China, India and USA. USA is moving, even if probably it is only an internal public relations stunt. India is sleeping well. China is pulling the strings, we recognize the methods (see below my transgression to Tibet). Thus, the key lever is...?.?..

Tibetan monks beaten as police halt dissent

The Sunday Times reports : "Hundreds of Tibetan Buddhist monks celebrating the award of a US honour to the exiled Dalai Lama have clashed with Chinese police, resulting in an unknown number of injuries and arrests." After a painting issue (the monks were repainting a hall in honor of Dalai Lama), "members of the People’s Armed Police moved in to stop the monks, ..., resulting in violent scuffles, according to sources. The Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao said that the clash involved hundreds of monks."

Ok painting is forbidden here, understand ?

Three thousand armed police surrounded the sprawling monastery and refused to allow anyone to leave. Local sources said that hundreds of monks may have been arrested and several injured. Similar clashes were reported at the smaller Nechung monastery.

Look familiar.

Hey (South East) Asia, is this the future for you all ? China has taken Tibet and Burma, is lurking to Taiwan and Laos, oppressing muslim minorities in western China, expanding internet and speech censorship, getting involved in North Korea, is just matter of time they are coming for YOU !!

You'll let them do whatever they want in your house ?

Executive order

Executive Order: Blocking Property and Prohibiting Certain Transactions Related to Burma

The U.S. Department of the Treasury today is designating 11 additional senior Burmese Government officials, cutting them off from the U.S. financial system. Treasury's action follows President George W. Bush's announcement today of additional measures increasing U.S. sanctions against the military regime in Burma...............
....Executive Order 13310 also blocked property and interests in property of the four entities listed on its Annex, the State Peace and Development Council of Burma, and three banks controlled by the Government of Burma.
The Burmese government leaders designated today by OFAC are Brigadier General Tin Naing Thein, Minister of Commerce; Brigadier-General Thein Zaw, Minister of Telecommunications, Post, & Telegraph; Major-General Saw Tun, Minister of Construction; Dr. Chan Nyein, Minister of Education; Colonel Zaw Min, Minister of Electric Power 1; Major-General Hla Tun, Minister of Finance and Revenue; Major-General Saw Lwin, Minister of Industry 2; Soe Tha, Minister of National Planning and Economic Development; Thaung, Minister of Science and Technology and Minister of Labor; Dr. Kyaw Myint, Minister of Health; and Brigadier-General Aung Thein Lin, Mayor and Chairman of Rangoon City Development Committee.
Treasury has previously designated 14 senior officials of the Government of Burma. As a result of Treasury's designations, any assets these individuals and entities may have that are within U.S. jurisdiction must be frozen, and U.S. persons are prohibited from transacting or doing business with them.

Also :

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Gunpoint Radio

Unconfirmed reports say that at MRTV (Myanmar's broadcasting station), soldiers pointed guns at the news broadcasters while they read the news. This is causing a great deal of unhappiness among the staff there.

This news is reported on BurmaNews CBox. This is an occasion to encourage you to get a look, they have very fast and informed updates.

Another one says : "When Myanmar nationals, (mostly students) who are working or studying abroad, go back to Myanmar, they are arrested at he Yagon airport. They are detained for 3 days and checked with photos and videos sent from Myanmar Embassies around the world. If they were found to have participated in recent demonstrations, they would be beaten, tortured, and sent to Insein Prison. Please be extra careful."

Send your panties

Please : Find the address of the nearest Myanmar Embassy and send them your panties please. Culturally in Myanmar this is considered an insult and the superstitious generals believe that receiving dirty panties takes power away from them. Could the panties be by the thousands !!!

More details and addresses : Lanna Action for Burma

Thanks to Jeg for calling my attention on that.
He also has an excellent post on "Protesting Dogs Are Now on the Regime’s Wanted List".

Embassies' adresses wordlwide :

In the press : AP Associated Press article

It's not good to have opinions in Burma

Kyaw Khine, chairman of the Taunggok NLD, was jailed for seven and a half years on Monday, they said.

Ko Min Aung, an NLD official from the same town, received the same sentence following his arrest in Taunggok on his return home from a meeting at party headquarters in Yangon on Oct. 13.

"Ko Min Aung was sentenced to seven and a half years and Sein Kyaw to five years after a closed trial in Thandwe today," Ko Min Aung's wife told Reuters by telephone.

NLD members Tun Kyi and Than Pe were sentenced to four and a half years in Thandwe last week and Sein Kyaw, the NLD chairman in Gwa Township, was taken to Thandwe to face the close trial on Tuesday, the relatives and friends said." Etc.....

Full story on Reuters

Lawsuit to an International Criminal Court - petition

Sign the petition for a Lawsuit against General Than Shwe, SPDC and all his government officials to an International Criminal Court for crimes commited during military regime

Sunday, 14 October 2007


I will be away for one week. As I am going in one of those countries that do not allow freedom of speech, I will not be able to connect to internet and upgrade these pages. Please hold on. Meet you again on Sunday 21st.

Before I go, one video leaked recently showing the ugly face of the regime. What's going on today, away from cameras ?

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Let's try to be clever

There was an interesting discussion on another blog, Someone argued that the struggle of influence among Nations for oil and energy resources, "quite inevitably" leads to a dictature in the oil-rich but less-educated countries in favour of the more industrialised and powerful ones. In the case of interest to us, he argued that it is the interest of India and China, the two largest clients of the burmese oil and gaz, to maintain a stupid dictature in Burma so to have easier deals and cheaper bargains.

I agree almost 98% with him (I reserve the missing 2% just for being myself - kidding). Indeed there are many examples even in other continents : Africa, Latin America.... and many companies playing that game (armements, oil, diamonds...). However not all the countries rich in resources are under a dictature. For example Canada is the 7th world oil producer and it seems to be a democracy. Kuwait with its 3 M inhabitants and oil resources is prosperous while Congo-Brazzaville has the same 3 M population and oil resources but the people are living in very poor conditions. Brazil and Nigeria have the same oil production but the former seems today in a much better position than the latter.

Do you agree on these examples ? Have you other constrasting cases ? Maybe by analysing the larger picture we can understand why in some countries the struggle for oil brings to dictature and in others not.

I have found an interesting analysis (Ferraro, 2003) of the perpetual dichotomy between national realism (making money for self without respect for the others) and idealism (non-negotiable demands of human dignity such as speech freedom, equal justice, etc.) which concludes like this :

"The clearest example of a certain continuity between realism and idealism was the Marshall Plan in 1947. The US granted a considerable amount of money to rebuild the European economy after World War II. That the US had a strong self-interest in doing so is incontestable-the US needed a vibrant European economy for its own economic self-interest. Moreover, the US also believed that European recovery was the best defense against possible Soviet expansion into Western Europe. At the same time, however, the people of Western Europe benefited from the policy. It is not impossible to satisfy the national interest while simultaneously satisfying the interests of others."

Can China and the other regional superpowers understand that ?

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

How long ?

I was trying to get some more images of the prisons in present Myanmar, and fell over a research paper from the Burma Ethnic Research Group, funded by the German liberal Friedrich Naumann Foundation, entitled "Internal displacement in Myanmar". It is not my aim to re-do a literature survey, but what struck me was the literature citations, that is a further (but do we need more?) example that the situation in the country is critical and the present government has shown is evil nature since so many years. What the world and the "big powers", the so called " modern democracies", would use as justification for NOT DOING NOTHING, for so long ?

- Forgotten Victims of a Hidden War: Internally Displaced Karen in Burma. BERG/ Friedrich Naumann Foundation. April 1998. Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Uprooting the Shan: Shan Human Rights Foundation. December 1996. Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Dispossessed: Forced relocation and extrajudicial killings in Shan state: Shan Human Rights Foundation. April 1998. Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Total Denial: EarthRights International. July 1996. Bangkok, Thailand
- Burma: Insurgency and the politics of ethnicity. Martin Smith. 1991. Zed Books, London, UK
- Abuses against peasant farmers in Burma. Mon Information Service. July 1998. Bangkok
- All Quiet on the Western Front? Images Asia / Karen Human Rights Group / Open Society Institute. January 1998. Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Internally Displaced People: A Global Survey. Global IDP Survey 1998
- Ethnic Groups in Burma: Development, Democracy and Human Rights. Martin Smith 1994 Anti-Slavery International
- Burma Beyond the Law. Article 19. International Center against Censorship. August 1996

There is a well organised open-access library at the Burma Library website. You will find a lot of interesting links and documents. An example of what you can find in the United Nation System link, is the full text of the "Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro", February 2007 (six months updates from 2003 also available). Some sentences :

"The persecution of members of the opposition and human rights defenders shows that the road map for democracy faces too many obstacles to bring about a genuine transition. In the past, ...the UN has acknowledged that the road map could play a positive role in the political transition. Sadly, the positive momentum of the early years has apparently stalled."

"The Special Rapporteur remains particularly concerned about impunity, which has become systematic... Several groups responsible for committing serious violations of human rights, in particular members of the military, have not been prosecuted. There is also little evidence that these serious crimes have been investigated by relevant authorities."

"Grave human rights violations are committed by persons within the established structures of the Council and are not only perpetrated with impunity but authorized by law. In that respect, the Special Rapporteur is also very concerned about the continued misuse of the legal system, which denies the rule of law and represents a major obstacle to securing the effective and meaningful exercise of fundamental freedoms by citizens."

"The Special Rapporteur has been very concerned about the 10 years of intensified military campaigns in ethnic areas of eastern Myanmar and its impact on the humanitarian and human rights situation, especially on civilians who have been targeted during the attacks. The situation should be considered in connection with the widespread practice of land confiscation throughout the country, which is seemingly aimed at anchoring military control. It has led to numerous forced evictions, relocations and resettlements, forced migration and internal displacement. Given the scale of the current military campaign, the situation may lead to a humanitarian crisis if it is not addressed immediately."

So much for the non-interference ideology of China and ASEAN, and the effectiveness of the UN given the blockade built by China. Ask for more effective action to your local politicians !!!

Hits from Vatican Holy See

In a reaction to a former post (Silent Burma, below), my blog got two hits by the Vatican's "Holy See" (yes their IP is displayed like this, Holy See). In fact I wrote to them as I was quite angry that religious people can not be more solidary among them apart from few words of condemnation, without effect, even when the life of hundreds or thousands of their like were in grave danger. I wrote to a number of high ranking Cardinals and Bishops in the Vatican, recovering their E-mails here and there, most of them directly on the Vatican website.

So at least for once the "Holy See" showed that they can follow up sollicitations, keep informed about news and also read opinions like the one on this blog. This means that keeping ourselves "restless", writing around, signing petitions and so on, is not useless. Thus, please keep writing to anyone you think can mobilise some opinions in the world. It just up to your fantasy to imagine who can help.

Apart from politicians and other immediate analogues with (putative) high influence, the market niche also hosts a number of companies that may pick up a provocation or a global meaningful message. In a world where money is god, maybe this is an effective way forward.

I remain also looking forward a stronger reaction from the "Holy See".

News : I have received a written answer from the Vicar General of the Diocese of Rome and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference of Pope Benedict XVI. Here is his text : "I am answering to your last of Saturday to share with you the need of our efforts on behalf of the Buddhist monks in Burma. We have already expressed ourselves repeatedly in the newspaper "Avvenire" and will continue to do so. Have Best regards with great warmth".

I have checked on the Avvenire online, there is a small article at the bottom of the international page, essentially copying what is already said in the other laic newspapers. Nothing else significant even doing a research on key-words. Quite light the answer from this conservative, confirming that Burma people needs our help, given that the powerfuls are too confortable in their chairs.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Police beating protesters

Direct link to a video on CNN showing protesters wildly beaten by police. The junta can not lie forever.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Reporters without borders

Finally, Reporters without borders got in the idea :

They also have T-shirts. I bought one. If no money, then print it.

Friday, 5 October 2007

Reports from the prisons

Reports from ex-prisoners at the Insein infamous prison, where also the monks have reportedly been deported.


"They beat me in the frog position, spread-eagled on the floor," he said.
"When I was in solitary confinement, I was not allowed to have a shower or wash. They refused to allow me to change my clothes, even though it was so hot. My whole body was covered in skin diseases," he said.

"I was struck by the horrible stench. There was no toilet, just a slop bucket filled with human waste and crawling with maggots. Most of the prisoners have dysentery because of the conditions they are kept in" he said.

Insein prison, 433 m diameter, plus other buildings in the northern part

(Google Earth, 2007 sat pictures).

Monks' particular conditions

"In my room there were 7 monks. All of them were political prisoners, and all had been forced to disrobe. When they were first captured, the soldiers just took their robes and forced them to put on civilian prison clothes. In the prison, all of them kept on practising as monks, and only eating one meal a day, but the guards treated them the same as everyone else. There is a group in the prison which is responsible for keeping all the prisoners' hair cut, but the guards wouldn't allow the monks to shave their heads.

They had all been in since 1991, sentenced under section 5J for signing the monks' boycott petition. [This was the petition to join the Buddhist monks' religious boycott of the military, which was instigated due to the SLORC's massacres of Buddhist monks, desecration of Buddhist temples and general disregard for the human and religious rights of the people]. There were also 3 senior reverend monks who had refused to disrobe. They were kept all in one cell, in a part of the prison separate from us. I heard that a warder said to them, "You can't go on like monks - we treat everyone equally here."

Prisoner at a labour camp

Map of the 38 known political prisons in Burma :

Than Shwe under spot light

The house of Than Shwe, 91 m long, and with the swimming pool of course, in Naypyidaw. His house as well as the detention-and-torture centers being under satellite spot light, he can not sleep quiet anymore.

Residential areas in Naypyidaw. Government or Army (what's the difference anyway) ?

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Update - jails

There are informed updates on "Peace reporter" : Myanmar: beyond the worst intention. 6000 opposition citizen in jail, among which 2000 monks and 100 nuns. Four detention-and-torture centers opened in Kabaw, Insein, Hmawbi. (I am so sorry). I will try to obtain some satellite pics.

Read here and here. Translate with Google or ask to me.

A flower for all jailed people.

Silent Burma

The people in Burma decided to shot off the TV, in a silent protest against the propaganda. In a natural parallel to the silence outcoming from Burma into the world. No news, everything is stabilised, told the junta to the UN envoy. Stabilised, maybe, even suffocated if you prefer, but normalised, not.

Also perfectly intuitive were the people, with that silence putting themselves magically in line with the world newpapers and media, who already dropped the information, or lack of it, for a stunning silence, except few natural aficionados such as BBC.

Now, I want to recall that last month a Catholic priest from France was taken hostage by I do not know which group in the Philippines. The newspapers kept reporting on him for weeks and weeks until he was freed. How come that 2000, 3000, 4000 monks do not merit the attention of one priest in the Western newspapers ?

And if the Vatican can not defend people of another religion, why the people of the same religion can not defend each other, among them ? Where are the Thailand buddhists, the Malaysian, the Chinese, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and who I forget ? Are we letting ten monks in a shy rally in downtown the burden to support alone the shame of whole emptied Monastries and Temples in another Country ?

The situation is stabilised, you tell, and stays in one corner of everybody conscience, day and night, up to the day it is solved. Happy those who can sleep. Or could they ?

PS: May I propose a future Inquirer paper (titled Asean double talk), announced as this : "Burma has become the Great Game in the scramble among Asian powers for access to its resources. The junta is playing this card to the hilt to keep power and to suppress the democracy movement in Burma. The position of Asean, of which Burma is a member, on the crackdown is the most innocuous. The hypocrisy of Asean will be examined in the next column."

Monday, 1 October 2007

Bad news from Burma

Today the news are really bad. On Yahoo, the opening of the Associate Press Writer news starts like this : "One hundred shot dead outside a Myanmar school. Activists burned alive at government crematoriums. A Buddhist monk floating face down in a river." Few bloggers out there showed the actual picture of that monk, beaten, enflated, sunken, dead. I do not have enough words for describing him, that man that was alive and well and peaceful, like you and me, just yesterday.

And goes on : "The top U.S. diplomat in Myanmar, told The Associated Press on Monday that her staff visited up to 15 monasteries around Yangon and every single one was empty". The number of arrested demonstrators must be in the thousands, according a senior official who defected and interviewed in Thailand ( news). Everydoby can imagine what is happening to them. But But Than Shwe reality may be worst than everyday people imagination : Others new media report that soldiers burned protesters still alive at the Yae Way cemetery crematorium on the outskirts of Yangon.

6,000 demonstrators are being held at detention centers set up at universities and old factories in Yangon. Many observers say that most of these people are being hill-treated, beaten, compulsed to deny their beliefs and religion, the monks to disrobe, and other horror stories.

Thousands of monks detained in Burma's main city of Rangoon will be sent to prisons in the far north of the country, sources have told the BBC. Many bloggers report that the monks have been disrobed and shackled, and since the military do not allow the people to come to them and bring them food, that they are refusing to eat military food.

A BBC interwiev reported that the monks were certainly happily surprised to hear of the visit of the UN Envoy to Aung San Suu Kyi. They also had hope that Gambari also came to met them. They felt that this time it was about them, and not politics. They expressed themselves for the first time in 30 years. They expected the UN to pay attention to them. Instead, they are beaten, taken away, shoot at, disrobed, without none noticing. One of them said that they are discouraged, but I do not believe this one second. I know the monks.

In the meanwhile, Thailand is starting feeling the heat, fearing an uncontrolled influx of refugees fleeing Burma. They closed the border and sent the incoming people back to Burma. May they intervene for their sake if not for Burma itself.

One better news : the labour organistions in Italy and France are reporting that a work strike is in line for Burma in the next few days. Best wishes of a good success. CISL Italia and CFDT France are mobilised and supporting.

PS : as the links on Yahoo, BBC and others have normally quite a short life (sometime less than an hour, especially Yahoo, ever noticed ? and most of the time this happens, it is about crucial news, weird isn't it?), I cited the most striking news here from them. I am filing most of the things. May them understand. This time, Human kind needs that the massacre does not go unnoticed, as it went in 1988.

Links :

Sunday, 30 September 2007

Good symbols

After so much talking, I am feeling like we have to revert to some graphic images of the monks. After all, once again, what makes their protest so outstanding, is that it is full of love and peaceful. Thinking about that, I was wondering where I could get some new photos to show. And suddenly, it just pop up in my mind that I may have myself an image of hope to present.

Here it is a loving monk, that I have the privilege to know since 13 years now, taking care of my daughter. Isn't that beautiful ? Could it be a symbol of hope, monks nursing newborn democracy, and smiling ? Hoping, soon.

UN's World Food programme cannot access remote areas

The UN's World Food programme on Saturday said Myanmar's rulers have stopped or restricted the delivery of food relief to poor people in the countryside.
Full story on Al Jazeera.

UN's WFP has expressed growing concern that the current unrest in Myanmar could impede efforts to feed some 500,000 people.
Full report un UN WFP.

The newspapers talk of 9 or 10 casualties. Of course the numbers are much much higher, both from direct shooting or beating, and from hunger and untreated diseases, or from torture and hunger strike in the prisons. Of course ???

The junta leader refuses to meet UN special envoy

[Edit: I promised to value educated protest, so I edited a couple of sharp words that I wrote earlier]

French newspaper LeMonde is saying that the special envois from UN, Ibrahim Gambari, could not meet yet the head of the junta Than Shwe. Gambari had a UN message to deliver, and he has done so in Naypydaw, but only to "second knives" such as interim information minister general Thein Sein, the minister of culture, general Kyaw Hsan (who as most of the ministers of culture does count for nothing), the commander Khin Aung Myint, and the vice minister of foreign affairs Kyaw Thu.

Gambari has expressed his "sincere hope" to meet the top general Than Shwe, but with no reply. Apparently Than Shwe is so paranoid that even a lonely man scares him.,1-0@2-3216,36-961289@51-947750,0.html

What a shame. Let's see if the UN can withstand a slap in the face, like the Burma people do, unfortunately, every day.

On a connected subject: The Time has a new update on observation of Burma through satellites (see my post below) : "the AAAS had ordered up new images from Burma's major cities, Rangoon and Mandalay, over the past few days, as the military cracked down on protests and that they expect to analyze the new data soon. "We've been cut off from Burma, so we're trying to monitor the situation through the satellites"". So, people out there, warn the generals that one day, they will be brought to International Crime Tribunals, and there will be solid proofs to crush them . All the inferior commanders who decided to follow orders, will also follow at the Tribunal.

This is an old Google image of the Rangoon Stadium. The generals certainly understand that military images are 10 to 100 times better than that, and more and more "3D". Taken every hour or less, these images will be able to spot any event on the ground, and held the responsible accountable.

Remember : Officially, military satellites can see objects around 20 inches (50cm) or smaller, but the precise resolution is classified. Let's say 20 cm to be sure. Source.

Parallel with Tiannanmen Square Protest ?

I am publishing here a comment sent in by an anonymous blogger, since it is well pertinent :

"There are a number of people who took part in Tiannanmen Square Protest in June 4 1989 one year after August 8 1988. They are closely watching the situation in Burma too. There is a good article by Yang in the Washington Post :

I would suggest we have to motivate the chinese activists to exert pressure to the Chinese leader from inside and outside. And get the oversea chinese (which is very unlikely) involve in protests against military's brutalities in Burma."

Just one thing from me, I have been reading Washington Post for long time and for all its talking, I have seen little effect. Nevertheless, keep up hope. [Edit] Just appeared, a new story on New York Times :

If any Chinese blogger is reading this post, please try to mobilise your friends !! Take care.

BIG part of the problem

There is an absolute refresher blog on moeyyo that I would like to bring to your attention:

The blogger is doing two very important things : 1) summarising infos on Burma situation, incoming from many pertinent sites, and translating them from Burmese to English so anyone can understand. And 2) using her brain to think, make parallels, comment and sometime, insurge.

Reading her it is becominig clearer and clearer that the condescendence of the neighbourough regimes is a BIG part of the problem. In particular, it is evident that the news media of the other ASEAN countries, but also of China and India, are minimizing the problem, so that the unrest do not spread at home.

Commentaries to her wake-up-call articles go like that (I do not cite the full source as I do not want to accuse or compromise anyone in particular) : "that journal of that country" is known to be the party's newsletter. Its job is mainly "nation building". They do not write about the real truths, they like to write and report their versions of news, cleared of any negative impact to "that country". Let's just say that "that journal" is like Myanmar's national TV. So, do not expect too much from them."
I very much agree, propaganda there, propaganda here. This is a BIG part of the problem, all the regimes are supporting each other so simple people will not be able to topple anything.

They were saying that European people (like me) do not understand Asian values (paternalistic, protecting etc...). But I maintain that it is not paternal to slap in the face the people and hiding them in jail.

Well it is not as if democracy in Europe is perfect, it is far from perfect. We all need to work everyday to change our world. Remember the first thing that hit them is economic habits. Inform yourself, do not buy things you do not agree with, and let everyone know - this is the only thing that scares them.

OK my next step is to build up a blog on European (lack of) democracy. Thanks you to bear with us.

PS : I am not particularly fond of US initiatives, but this one is worth (essentially because it is peaceful) :

Saturday, 29 September 2007

And Thailand Generals.....

A French newspaper has just published excerpts from a TV interwiev with General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, head of the junta in Thailand, where he took defense of the Myanmar generals and their actions, saying that they are peaceful, wowed to dialogue and that the situation is perfectly under control. Apparently these two men, Than Shwe and Sonthi Boonyaratglin, have made a reciprocal support agreement during the visit of the latter to Naypyidav, the new capital of the Myanmar generals where he assisted to the arrest of several ordinary people, and during the visit of Than Shwe in Thailand just 8 days before the ejection of the former minister Thaksin.

Dear Thai friends, be careful you too.
Translate it with Google or Yahoo Translation Tools

I do not make a fixation on China, but...

According to several accounts, China is the largest weapon supplier of Birmania. China has constructed in the Country bridges, electrical plants, barrages, factories, in exchange of energy and raw materials. China has constructed an oil and gas pipe-line of 2.380km from the province of Arakan to Yunnan. But most importantly, China has supplied to Burma armaments and weapons for two billions of dollars, making it the second military power of South-East Asia in term of value after Vietnam, but the first in term of sophisticated technology.
Red the full story on La Stampa :
Translate it with the Google Translation Tools (link in the right side)

Full report on the connexion about China and the Myanmar junta, especially concerning military furnitures :

Again on ideas - looking for volunteers

I think we need to put pression on China if we want to achieve something in Burma. One idea is to challenge the moral of attending Olympics games in a Country that does not support democracy.

Artwork : To do so I propose to create a picture of 8 people on the 100 m starting blocks, half of them wearing sport outfits, half safran monks outfits. Beside them would be an official (or several officials) holding the starting gun in the air as they used to do in the Olympics, but wearing heavy military outfits. Since, for a better representation, it is better if the people in the picture has asian traits, I would like to ask your readers if some group supporting Burma are able to organise such a picture and make it circulating on the web. It would be very good and will force China to question itself. Let me know if you like the idea or if I have been not clear (my english is not so good). Can also be a handmade drawing. Love to all.

PS: you can also get ideas on how to interact on the Olympics website :
or write to the Olympic Movement :

Ideas on building pression

I would like to try to regroup here some ideas of international actions that could be undertaken to put pressure on the regime of Myanmar. Hope you will help me to get the list growing.

- One e-mail from Burma suggested something that could be considered seriously to force China to get off the fence. A clear statement from the international community that supporting the Olympic games in a country that does nothing to stop such violations of human rights would become impossible.This would sting the Chinese more than anything else.

- Someone on BBC suggested that the main powers should start positioning vessels around Burma, and sending airplanes on its sky. This could be a signal. However personnally I worry that everytime the use of force has been employed in the past, it has brought to something worse. Thus I would suggest to stick with the lesson of the monks, peaceful means have more and long lasting effects.

- Send instead the UN peace keeping troops. China is not the solution but is part of the big problem. China will support the dictatorship. They do not approve people demonstration or democracy. Junta is getting upper hand now. Please send in UN troops to aid people.

- Financial measures against the powerful, blocking their accounts in all the countries. Not against the poors.

- Denial of access against governmental computer resources. Some experts out there ?

- News agencies reports that companies investing in Myanmar include Daewoo, Korea Gas Corp. from South Korea, India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp. India's gas utility GAIL, Total from France. Some of these companies (Daewoo) have been charged for illegally exporting arms making equipment to Myanmar. These companies seem unwilling to suspend their activies in Myanmar. We should all suspend buying products from these companies until they change their minds.

- Continue publishing and voicing the nasty attidute of the dictatorship. This is the reason of this blog, do one you too !!. Proliferation of blog-conserved documentation will avoid what happened in 1988, about 3000 killings gone unnoticed and undocumented. That will make easier to bring, one day soon, the generals to an International Crime Tribunal.

- your ideas ???

Protests in the world

While the People of Myanmar or Burma suffer and resist .....

Some encouragement arrives from kin people all over the world :

Satellite Images -------------

Satellite Images Corroborate Eyewitness Accounts Of Human Rights Abuses In Burma (Science Daily):

Full American Association for the Advancement of Science report :
with GPS coordinates, village names and all.

Friday, 28 September 2007

Some learning for all ---------

Indeed, Burma situation is today full of meaning for all. On one side, the monks are teaching how to be engaged, listening, compassionate, protesting for human rights and democracy, and all that in a peaceful and worthy style.

On the other hand, we all have something to learn from the propaganda in the Myanmar official news. They are saying that the monks attacked the houses and forced people to demonstrate, that the riots are conducted by hooligans, drug addicts and even terrorists.... Sometime we have to worry about similar grammars in our own newspapers ; are they using the same language when something happens at home (remember the French rioting in 2006 ?).

Getting nasty ----------

Unfortunately it seems that things are getting nasty....

And we do not know nothing of what is happening in the countryside.

I just remember, in 2001, I was able to visit some villages on a training tour. Every smallest village was presidiated by army men with heavy, though old, rifles on show (and that was in a quiet period) and each smallest crossroad was equipped with a loudspeaker sending propaganda 24/24.

Ok the World, we have closed the eyes on those frightening signs for so long, what did we expect ? Let's bear responsability for once !

News - defections old and new

Italian newspapers are watching the news from Burma very closely. I have compared their information on what appears in other well known newspapers, and for once, La Repubblica, Il Corriere, Il Manifesto and many others are much more updated, have more video and photo documents and in depth information. This may be because Italians are also a compassionate people (sometime).

Especially today Corriere publish an interview of an elder soldier that in 1988 was ordered to participate in repression, and tells us about the methods employed and how he and other thousands of soldiers deserted.

Excerpt : “I know the inhuman look that can have a soldier. I know which thoughts can bred in his mind before pressing the trigger. I know as every emotion can be cancelled before killing. They have taught me also”. But today the technique, he says, is far improved.

They are moving with icy intelligence. They have for days followed the demonstrators, nearly taking part. They have identified the heads of the revolt. Then they have arrested them during the curfew, undisturbed”.

Yesterday night the last movement : “They have taken onslaught the main monasters of Rangoon and the other cities, Mandalay, Sittwe, Pakokku. They have smashed in doors with the jeeps. They have taken away the monks while they slept. Useless the attempt to call aids with the drums of the pagodas, nobody could move with the curfew”. Result: yesterday morning smaller participation and nearly no monks in the streets. “Therefore it has been easier to open the fire on the crowd, to disperse the people with minimal damage: a selective action”.

In the 1988 operation, he recalls continuing to ask to his superiors : "How can we kill those boys?”, only for being answered with sarcasm: “Ah yes? Then give them your rifles so that they can kill you”. But instead of resuming their job, a large part deserted. “Thousands of us preferred to join the protests. We escaped at night, Rangoon destination, last stage before the exile here in Thailand”. A gesture dictated from a sense of justice that then many soldiers had matured by themselves. “We knew what was right and what was mistaken. To kill, for how much they had taught to us until to nausea, remained one orribile thing for many of us".

The modern soldiers are trained with more technique. However, no matter how, anyone has his choice in front of him, of his conscience, at any time.

Good friends and good food

By the way, I have been there few years ago and have some good friends and good memory of them. They have been very nice with me and in general, all the people is nice there.

Especially, it is not like I have a food fixation, but I want to say that Burmese food, a blend of Thai and Indian tastes, is with no doubt one of the best of the world.