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) :