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Burma is Free! It has to be

ymu | 28.09.2007 22:37 | Repression | Social Struggles | Birmingham | London

As you may know, the Junta have now cut internet links out of Burma so there is a near news blackout. Information is still getting out via mobile phone signals near the borders.

The latest news is reported here:

- monks rounded up, beaten, killed or kept under guard in the pagodas.

- furious and growing crowds on the streets.

- at least 2 commanders have refused to order their troops to shoot protesters; some have been beating soldiers who refused to shoot; Junta have flown down troops from the north previously engaged in genocide against the ethnic Karan people; very nasty troops indeed.

- The Karan have pledged their resistance armies to fight with the protesters in the cities, as have all other ethnic groups who were expected to remain neutral, or even join the Junta; paid thugs have been dressing as monks and ransacking ethnic holy places but noone has been taken in.

- at least 3 regiments have mutinied and are fighting government troops and/or protecting protesters. 10,000 troops have been reported marching south and seem likely to be intending to join the protesters as the Junta have been flying their reinforcement troops in.

- The Burmese people know that this time, unlike 1988, the world is watching. Until midday local time they had good internet access and know that the UN envoy is about to arrive. They still have shortwave radios getting broadcast from the resistance radio in Norway; even the army listen to this. The people are optimistic and determined; they cannot believe that the world will let them down if they can only hold their position vis-a-vis the Junta. Others are joining them all the time, in anger at the murder of peaceful protesters.

- The UK Ambassador reported earlier that he thought Aung San Suu Kyi was still safe and under house arrest as there were still troops in the streets; a few hours ago Than Swe was deposed and the media reported that troops loyal to his successor were now guarding her house. The Junta is at war with itself; they each command the loyalty of different troops. Their families have already been flown to safety.

The People have won and their elected Prime Minister will walk out of her house as soon as the guards give way and her elected Parliament, with 90% of the popular vote will walk out of the crowds to join her.

Burma is free. It has to be.

Dedicated to Purves Grundy, a fine friend to the Burmese People.

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Sources and info links

29.09.2007 10:17

Totally forgot to include a section on sources for that summary; sorry all. The information came from a collaborative effort on Urban75 using information gleaned from the Burmese resistance channels, Irrawaddy, Mizzima, TV reporting and a wide variety of news sources worldwide (many from NewsNow). With thanks to Purves, a brave man who deeply regrets being back in the UK at exactly the wrong time; and Barking Mad (both sane and humane).
is being kept up to date and accurate as far as possible.

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Embassies in Rangoon urged to set up WIFI access for news

29.09.2007 10:54

29 Sep 07, 11:30 - MyoThant: A group of 88-generation activists are urging UN and US & UK embassies in Rangoon to open a 1-page web service via WIFI access to general public just to submit news photos (with user name: 2007, pw: 2007). Please write to them to request this.

British Embassy, Rangoon
HM Ambassador to Burma: Mark Canning

British Embassy
80 Strand Road (Box No 638)

Telephone: (95) (1) 370863
Facsimile: (95) (1) 370866
Email: (Consular Enquiries)

Office Hours:
Mon-Thurs: 0130-1000; Fri: 0130-0630
Local Time:
Mon-Fri: 0800-1630; Fri: 0800-1300

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Maung Aye reported in talks with Aung San Suu Kyi and NLD

29.09.2007 12:43[/url]

Generals divided as deputy 'holds talks with opposition'

A SPLIT within Burma's ruling junta has emerged, with second-in-command General Maung Aye angered at the violent crackdown ordered by leading General Than Shwe and holding talks with imprisoned pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, it has been reported.

The Irrawaddy, a dissident news magazine with a strong track record of correctly reporting the internal machinations of the junta, reported yesterday that Aung San Suu Kyi had been moved from house arrest to Yemon military camp on the outskirts of Rangoon.

The magazine reported diplomatic sources in Bangkok as saying General Maung Aye disagreed with the response to the recent demonstrations.

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Junta 2nd in command starts talks with Aung San Suu Kyi

29.09.2007 17:20

Some reports of a ceasefire ordered by Maung Aye, Junta hardliner and 2nd in command in the Junta and possibly victor, or temporary victor, in a coup which ousted Than Shwe. And now this:

Generals divided as deputy 'holds talks with opposition'

A SPLIT within Burma's ruling junta has emerged, with second-in-command General Maung Aye angered at the violent crackdown ordered by leading General Than Shwe and holding talks with imprisoned pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, it has been reported.

The Irrawaddy, a dissident news magazine with a strong track record of correctly reporting the internal machinations of the junta, reported yesterday that Aung San Suu Kyi had been moved from house arrest to Yemon military camp on the outskirts of Rangoon.

The magazine reported diplomatic sources in Bangkok as saying General Maung Aye disagreed with the response to the recent demonstrations.

More here:

I asked a Burmese resident with currently in the UK about what this might mean:

" ASSK will reiterate the NLD's seemingly modest demands - restoration of political dialogue and release of political prisoners.

"When her period of house arrest came up for renewal in 2006 - they renew it each year, sometime in April iirc - there were very strong rumours she was about to be released. Weird goings on outside her house, strange statements coming from the junta about her. Everyone was ready for a massive party. And then on Saturday morning came the news - yet another year of house arrest.

"Everyone was so deflated and somewhat mystified. Even in Rumoursville her release had seemed a dead cert. Couldn't understand it, but later it emerged that she'd been offered a compromise deal. She would have had to cease all political activities and avoid 'instigating unrest', whatever that means. No way would she accept that. So it was inside for another year, and later came a further extention again this year.

"Power sharing, govts of national unity etc etc that can all be worked out later but the NLD won't shift from those two key demands."

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Response to ideologically self-serving juvenilia concerning Burma

29.09.2007 19:43

Certain ideologically obsessed Western-centric naifs have been attempting to cast a clever cynical light on this affair. Oh how we admire their ideological zeal and ability to analyse any situation with no need to stop and check facts.

Here is a generalised response to this kind of nonsense based on these banal views and the inadequate picture painted by mainstream news:

It is not remotely surprising that the CIA and other reactionary forces would try to make links with opposition figureheads, "democratic" or otherwise, in hostile autocratic oil-rich regimes; any more than it is surprising that they organise anti-democratic coups in hostile "democratic" oil-rich regimes.

It would be extremely surprising if USuk gained any foothold in ASEAN when the two regional powers, China and India, hold the US national debt and can send it "back to the stone ages" without any need to declare war.

It would also be astonishing if the Burmese People allowed IMF interference when it was IMF advice to the Junta that is widely believed to be at the root of the fuel crisis that caused this uprising.

It is extraordinarily arrogant to view the Burmese people as innocents; a grouping of primitive tribes who remain ignorant of global political and economic forces. In common with most oppressed peoples, the average pre-schooler could run rings around the average Western politician.

The Karan, the Shan State Army-South and all other ethnic groups have pledged solidarity with the people of Burma against military rule; the Junta have historically kept these groups divided and mistrustful of each other. Now, they stand united for freedom and firmly behind the Burmese radical resistance and the democratic movement; Ma Suu Kyi and the elected Parliament who have never given in to bribes and have pledged to call fresh elections as early as possible.

Ideological navel-gazers should reconsider their juvenile interpretation of Western real politik and be happy to that these people may finally break down the walls of their centuries old prison and unite in peace rather than in war.

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An interview with members of the NLD (10 days ago)

29.09.2007 19:48

Naomi Mann in an interview with members of the NLD on the current wave of protests (pre-publication; with permission)

NM: At this point in time, it appears that the monks’ protests are taking on a momentum of their own while those other traditional sources of dissent - the NLD and student activist groups such as the 88 generation are taking more of a back seat. What would you say to this?

ANS: In one sense, we HAVE to take a backseat. In order to take part in the 1990 elections, we agreed to abide by the 1988 political party registration act. According to this act, political parties, in pursuing their goals, are forbidden to unite with religious groups. If we are seen to be participating in the monks’ protests, we risk being deregistered and our organization judged illegal.
As a people, we are 85% Buddhist and the Buddhist clergy - the Sangha – are extremely influential. Today, the monks have taken the situation into their own hands.

NM: It’s been reported that the monks wish to prevent other groups from joining in the protests, claiming that this is their fight, what do you think about that?

ANS: We will continue to offer indirect support and are ready to push the cart should it stall…

NM: All of the current waves of protests were sparked by the Junta’s announcement of a doubling of fuel prices. Are you surprised that the monks have reacted the way that they have to this?

ANS: Half surprised! The lack of genuine political dialogue and the Junta’s mismanagement of the economy were bound to lead to something like this. I am surprised that many of the leading monks are former political prisoners who were active in the 1988 demonstrations.

Actually, these protests were not sparked by the fuel price rises as much as the political climate. This is a fire that has been smoking for a long time. It flared up in Pokkoku and is now burning through the whole country. You know that the head monk there is named ,’The zah’, which in Burmese means fire.

NM: How do you gauge the reaction of the military authorities? The protests began with fairly small pockets of activists in Rangoon that were very swiftly and brutally pounced upon by the army as well as by locally hired militias. On the contrary, the attitude of the Junta toward the monks seems quite hesitant and insecure.

ANS: Pokkoku has taught them a big lesson. If the monks are attacked again, the Junta risk the anger of the general population. We have a Burmese saying, ‘Sah yin leh yu meh, soh yin leh su me’ - The skin of the fruit you seek cannot be touched without pain, eating the fruit itself will drive you mad. This is a tough situation for them.

As in the past, they have recruited the services of ‘fake monks’ from government backed militias such as the ‘Swann Arr Shin’ (strong people) to infiltrate the movement. This has the effect of discouraging monasteries, in particular those in Mandalay, from combining in demonstrations.

NM: The Buddhist community in Burma – the Sangha – is supposedly headed by a 47 member Buddhist council all of whom have been handpicked by the Junta. What is their influence is in all of this?

ANS: The generals have given honorable status to the members of this council and have provided them with many facilities including cars, satellite dishes, free air travel and mobile phones. The Mingon Sayadaw (the chief abbot in Mandalay) is so firmly in the Junta’s pocket that he receives military style salutes! So far, these abbots have kept silent, offering neither praise nor criticism. A few monks depend on the Junta, most monks depend on the people.

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Part 2 (Interview with members of the NLD)

29.09.2007 19:50

NM: What should the international response be? A visit to Burma by the UN envoy Ibrahim Gambhari having just been curtailed.

ANS: ASEAN, the UN, the US and the EU should all speak out. Their support has always been beneficial. More pressure needs to be put on China. Timing is everything.

NM: Presumably, the leader of your party Aung San Su Kyi will be listening to all of these developments. We know she is allowed a short wave radio to listen to while under house arrest. What do you think she’ll be making of it?

ANS: She will be ironing her dresses and getting ready to speak to the public! Yes, it is said that she listens to her short wave radio for 7 hours a day! She has visited many of the monasteries currently involved in the protests and they give metta – loving kindness – to her everyday.

NM: One month ahead – how do you see the situation?

ANS: The only solution is for a process of dialogue to begin so we hope that some positive change will have taken place. Mr Gambhari will visit Burma, the ASEAN summit and the UN Security Council will meet. More pressure needs to be put on the regime to show progress.

Even if the first two of the monks’ demands were met - that the authorities apologize for their brutal crackdown and fuel prices lowered, their other two demands – the release of Aung San Su Kyi and the restoration of political dialogue will remain much harder for the Junta to contemplate.

NM: Finally, how do you judge the mood of the people, the ordinary people, in all of this? Their attitude has often been characterized as one of fear toward the authorities. Do you think this is being increased or diminished as a result of this unrest?

ANS: Increased - because the problems have yet to be solved. The main issue is dialogue and political stability. People need to be able to demonstrate freely without fear of arrest.

At this point in time, the majority of people are so impoverished that they cannot give proper alms to the monks. One year ago, they were still able to give meat now they are barely able to give rice. In some cases, it is the monks who give alms, in the form of leftovers, to the people.

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Ultimatum to the Government of People's Republic of China

29.09.2007 21:40

Statement published on:

We are the 8888 student activists overseas who have been relentlessly seeking for the freedom of Burma from the military rule in Burma, side by side with the 8888 generation in Burma since 1988. As you have already known, Burma has become the most important trouble spot in Asia quite sometime. That was why the Burma's crisis drew the attention of the UNSC to do something about it. And, the US and EU's effort to take action against the regime in Burma under the mandate of UNSC was vetoed by China and Russia on Jan 12, 2007.

Nowadays, we have been calling on you to render full and strong support in our cause – restoration of freedom and democracy in Burma – by co-sponsoring with the US for an urgent agenda in the Security Council but we don't see any profound and immediate assistance in this matter from your Regime. Moreover, China and Russia gave a green light to a slaughter of the monks and activists at the last meeting of the U.N. Security Council emergency meeting by simply saying "just an internal affair". As a result, we have no alternative route to gain your sympathy as a fellow Buddhist country or intervention as a good neighbor but declare a war by any all means possible in non-violent ways.

Chinese government always insists that Burma crisis was not a threat to international peace and security, and it is just its own internal affairs. How dare you to say such a thing like that when the whole world has deplored such horrible crimes against the Buddhist Monks, who are in their peaceful procession chanting the hymns about love, forgiveness and reconciliation. What the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued a blunt warning to Burma's generals, noting, as he put it," the age of impunity is dead" is absolutely true. We Burmese dissidents and people all over the world have no more vulnerability. Our patience for China is wearing thin. After we defeat China, Russia is to be next if Russia also fails to comply accordingly.

Here is our demand. Chinese Government must play a leading role to stop killing spree in Burma and support UNSC intervention to Burma. The ultimatum for China to join the world's body will be 72 hours starting from September 29, 2007 9:00 am to October 2, 9:00 am US Eastern Time. If China fails to meet our demands, we have decided to wage you the following global campaigns.
1. Boycott 2008 Olympic campaign
2. Boycott China's products.

Please visit our campaign at this link;

We, all Burmese around the world will organize global action against China allied with Tibetans Dissidents, all religious organizations, any government organizations including all Chinese and Russian friends around the world to participate with us.

Victor Naing (88 Generation)

Date: September 29, 2007

P.S. All Oversea Burmese must show the China that we Burmese are how much smart and sharp and unite when we need to do so.

H.E. Ban Ki Moon, Secretary-General, United Nations, New York
DASSK and National League for Democracy (Burma)
National Coalition Government of Union of Burma (Washington, DC)
National Council of Union of Burma (Thai-Burma border)
State Peace and Development Council (SPDC)
Mr. George W. Bush, President of United State of America
All Burmese Citizens in exile


General Stike in Burma

This is an official announcement from the people of Burma, that there will be a general strike beginning on 1st October 2007, to stop going to work. Be a responsible Burmese citizen.

Government employees have got their salaries already by now. Remember that it is the "nation" who paid you salaries, not this "government".

Try to understand the difference between 'state' and 'government'.

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Another Burmese blog getting updates, photos and video

30.09.2007 22:10

Please use any media contacts you can to get the news reported.

Resistance channels still carrying new news include:

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list of monks arrested

30.09.2007 23:12

200 monks from Ngway Kyar Yan monastery in South Okkalapa/Rangoon
4 monks from Meggin monastery in Thingangyun township, Rangoon
Several monks from Moe Goung monastery located in Yankin township
11 monks from Pyaw bwe, Thonedaung, Tatkone, Natgyi monasteries located in Kachin State
Several monks from Yawale monastery located in Dawpone township, Rangoon Aye Zaydi monastery from Kyitmyindine, Rangoon
30 monks from Zambyuaye monastery in North Okkapala, Rangoon
Several monks were arrested during the demonstration in Sinmin market in Alone township, Rangoon
300 monks in total in North Okkapala
20 monks at the demonstration at Sule Pagoda, September 26th in Rangoon


rachael horwitz
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