Witnessed: 1988 times
Text from Hit Taing
Written by: A group of Burmese blogger
Date: September 27, 2007
Today is indeed an undeniably sorrowful day for all the Burmese people in Burma as well as for those Burmese residing in various countries around the world. On this day, we have seen inhumanely unimaginable act of brutality by the junta in Burma.
These events unfolded after the junta drastically increased the price of fuel overnight and the poverty, already faced by people, worsened due to the sudden increase in prices. In order to pray for the well-being of the people, the monks in a small town, Pakokku, staged a peaceful movement by walking through the town while chanting the verses from Metta Sutra. The junta cracked down using force against the monks and also refused to apologize for their actions when the monks demanded an apology. As a result, students from 1988 democracy movement and the monks decided to come together to help the people by calling for the following from the government:
1. Ease the living conditions of Burmese people
2. Release of all the political prisoners
3. Dialogue for the national reconciliation
[Date: 25th September 2007]
There is actually very little political agenda in those three demands. Their main priority has always been the well-being for the people of Burma. Despite such fact, the junta refused to enter into any form of dialogue with them and in the end, the peaceful movement quickly spread to other parts of Burma, resulting in the biggest demonstration since the 1988 movement. The main difference between 1988 and current situation is that, this time, the protests are spearheaded by monks. Thus, many people from other parts of the world are intrigued. In fact, in Burmese history, the monks have always played an important role. There have been some arguments over whether the monks should intervene in such worldly affairs.
Quoting from Burma’s national leader, Bo Gyoke Aung San (father of Nobel laureate, Aung San Su Kyi)
“Our monks have enriched our culture and our civilization, and generally helped our society in its march forward in history. For these services, we owe a large debt of gratitude to our monks.”
From the inaugural address at the AFPFL convention, January, 1946
Even though the people of Burma have experienced the junta’s brutal suppression during the last uprising in 1988, they still carry on as they know that this is probably the last chance for them to break away from the military regime. In this movement, hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life such as monks, nuns, artiste and celebrities, students, ordinary people etc, have come together for their sole purpose of freedom. Burmese people are generally honest, gentle and contented by nature. And yet, their frustration with the regime has built up to the point that they simply cannot tolerate the hardship under the regime any longer, resulting in continuous protests with genuine feelings.
Another difference from 1988 uprising is the power of technology nowadays. Updated information on the live situation is published on many Burmese blogs almost instantly. Even the official media have to admit that they have a certain degree of dependency on the blogs to obtain latest photos, video clips, and accounts by the eye-witnesses. Such first-hand accounts on Burmese blogs are provided by courageous people from within Burma, who risk their lives and safety to take pictures, and video footages to send to the outside world. If they are caught, their camera may be confiscated, or they may be imprisoned and worse, they may even get hit by an intentionally strayed bullet. Why do they do all this despite such precarious situation? It is simply because they want the world to know the truth; nothing but the truth of what is happening in Burma. Now, the question is, how will the world respond to the plight of such courageous people?
On this 27th September 2007, the blood of Burmese people has been shed. So far, the international community has been unable to prevent the blood-shed. Statements of concern and hope for peaceful reconciliation are the only things that Burmese peaceful demonstrators have received. In recent UN General Assembly, China, who is deemed as having high influence on Burma’s military regime, said that even though there is unrest in Burma, the crisis was not a threat to international peace. Hence, China does not see the need for UN Security Council to intervene.
The military regime has been bold enough to show the world that they can carry out such brutal acts of suppression on peaceful demonstrations. Such seems to be an example of the junta’s nonchalance towards the international community’s concern and request for peace. Some countries declare that all these happenings are considered as part of internal affairs for Burma only. Is it really true? Is it fair to use arms against peaceful protesters? How will the international community view the bloodshed of innocent Burmese people on the fateful 27th September 2007?