BBC:Capturing Burma’s protests on film

A monk looks into a camera at a monastery in Rangoon. His face is bruised and swollen.

Troops came during the night, he says. They beat the monks and took dozens of them away. He doesn’t know where they are.

Outside, the camera records pools of blood on the floor, shards of glass and rubble.

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Burma Eats Its Young

By : George Packer

In a just world, the names Min Ko Naing and Ko Ko Gyi would be as well known as Steve Biko and Adam Michnik. These two leaders of Burma’s 88 Generation students, now in their forties, have spent almost their entire adult lives in prison for organizing pro-democracy demonstrations. After a short period of freedom, between 2005 and 2007, they and their colleagues were jailed again for staging a long walk around Rangoon, in August of 2007, in protest of soaring transportation prices—a gesture that sparked the so-called Saffron Revolution, the largest demonstrations in Burma since 1988, both times put down in blood.

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MIZZIMA:Head held high Ashin Gambira will never bow to junta

by Ko Maw

Ashin Gambira, the leading monk of the saffron revolution and a leader in ‘All Burma Monks Alliance’ (ABMA), has been under detention for one year as on November 4 this year.

He was arrested by junta’s thugs and local authorities in Singai, Mandalay Division on 4th November 2007 after being beaten up.

He is in fact a young learning student monk only 29 years of age.

But he decided to abandon his learning institution and join political activity when he realized the current crisis of Burma originated because of the junta’s one-sided bullying tactics and refusal to resolve the political crisis by political means. He could no longer ignore the plight of the people and joined hands with other like minded monks to resolve the current crisis.

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Oppressed Burmese deserve better from the world

 THAUNG HTUN

The Burmese people have had to maintain a sense of optimism after 46 years of military dictatorship. But, as the first anniversary of the Saffron Revolution approaches and in the midst of yet another visit by the United Nations special envoy Ibrahim Gambari to Rangoon, optimism is waning. The international community has expressed its commitment to promoting democracy in Burma, as this latest visit by Mr Gambari underlines. However, commitment in its expression is easily undermined by its failure in practice.

 

For instance, strong words in the wake of the devastating Cyclone Nargis in May against the inhuman intransigence of the military leaders, has not yet ensured that aid is getting to the most needy Burmese.

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Ten Students Sentenced to Hard Labor

By SAW YAN NAING

Friday,July 25,2008

Ten students—mostly Muslims—who were active in the Buddhist monk-led peaceful demonstrations in September 2007 in Burma were each sentenced to two years in prison with hard labor by the Kyauktada Township court, a prisoners’ rights group said on Friday.   

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Anger Against Burma Junta Rises

By AP/DENIS D. GRAY

Wednesday,July 02 ,2008

(BANGKOK, Thailand) — The cyclone that devastated Burma’s heartland has also roiled a political landscape dominated by the military for more than four decades.

Buddhist monks are regrouping after the battering they took nine months ago, civil society groups are emerging and foreign aid workers — often agents of political change in the wake of humanitarian crises — are present in unprecedented numbers. The junta’s grip on power remains absolute. But anger against the regime has probably never run so high.

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Suu Kyi’s Birthday Celebrated on Capitol Hill

By LALIT K JHA / WASHINGTON

Thousands of miles from her home on Rangoon’s Inya Lake, some influential supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi gathered in Washington to celebrate her 63rd birthday on Capitol Hill.
 
Speakers at a special ceremony held by the US Congress described Suu Kyi as a symbol of freedom the world over and said that she was not alone in her fight to bring democracy to Burma. Millions of people are with her, they said, urging the people of Burma not to lose hope and to continue their struggle.
 
Speakers at this special event, which was attended by invited guests, hoped that Suu Kyi would celebrate her next birthday as the rightful leader of Burma¬a position which has been denied her by the ruling junta since 1990, when her party won a landslide victory in the country’s last general elections. The event was organized by the Burma Fund, the US Campaign for Burma and the US Congressional Human Rights Caucus.

Tin Soe: Striving for democracy in Myanmar

Tin Soe: Striving for democracy in Myanmar

Posted by Sit Mone  written By A. Junaidi, The Jakarta Post,

Jakarta06/04/2008

Tin Soe knows how difficult it is to be a minority Burmese Muslim — suffering discrimination and insecurity — as well as a journalist working in an authoritarian country like Myanmar.

Along with other inter-faiths activists, Tin, who is also known as Mohamed Taher, the editor of Kaladan Press Network, has been struggling against Myanmar’s military junta and dreaming of a democratic country.

“I’m fighting the military junta through the media. No foreign media are able to cover … the junta are not giving permission to enter the areas,” Tin said in an interview with The Jakarta Post recently on the sidelines of his visit together with a group of Buddhist monks at the Post’s office in Central Jakarta.

The visit included a discussion on the recent rally in Myanmar, which thousands of people joined, including Buddhist monks in Yangon, the capital of the country.

Hundreds of people, including the monks and a foreign journalist, were reportedly killed during the demonstration after police brutally dispersed the crowd.

Through his news agency, which is based in Chitagong, a Bangladesh border town, Tin coordinated reporters inside Myanmar, particularly in Yangon, to collect information on the rally.

Tin said he was jailed twice in 2004 — in January (seven days) and November (15 days) — in Bangladesh for distributing news about the military junta.

“The military junta would also attack Buddhist monks if they felt threatened … it’s not just Muslims who suffered discrimination for years under the regime,” self-exiled Tin said.

The muslim population of Myanmar comprises about eight percent or one million of the total population. The religious group is divided into four sub-groups: Muslims of Indian origin, from Bangladesh, India or Pakistan; Arakan Muslims, called Rohingyas; Panthays Muslims, who originate from Yunnan, China and use Mandarin language; and Burmese Muslims, of Persian origin.

Tin said Burmese Muslims in Mynamar were discriminated under an assimilation project commonly called “Burmanization”, a socio-cultural project in which Muslims were not allowed to use Urdu (the main language of Muslims of Indian origin), Arabic and Mandarin, instead of Burmese language. Islamic schools, mosques and cemeteries were also closed under the project.

“We were banned from holding Islamic functions such as the Idul Adha and Idul Fitri celebrations,” Tin, who received his Bachelor of Science degree in physics from Rangoon University, Burma, said.

Another form of discrimination, he said, was the one citizen law, which had forced thousands of Arakan Muslims (who resided in predominantly Muslim state of Rakhine) to take refuge in Bangladesh, as they were not legally acknowledged in Myanmar and not permitted to hold identity cards. Many Muslims also took refuge in Malaysia, while others sought protection in Thailand.

After graduating from university, Tin worked at a private company in Chitagong. He was also active in the Arakan Roping Islamic Front as an intern who collected information from inside Arakan on abuses carried out by the military junta from May 1982 to December 1988.

Tin, who was born on May 20, 1955, went on to study mass media and joined several training programs on various topics, such as public relations, photography and news gathering in Baguio city, the Philippines, and web design and ICT in Thailand.

From January 1989 to December 2003, he worked as an assistant (overseas) information secretary for the Arakan Rohingya National Organization in Saudi Arabia. He reported to the head office in Bangladesh on the settlement of large number of Rohingyas refugees in the Middle East, and set up networks with government officials and local NGOs.

The military junta’s brutal action against Buddhist monks was an indication, Tin said, that the violence in Myanmar did not discriminate religion or ethnicity.

It was once thought that the junta supported Buddhism — as shown by their participation in Buddhist rituals and celebrations — and discriminated other minority religions, including Islam.

However, the junta has always claimed that a firm government is needed to prevent the country, which is diverse in terms of ethnicity and religions, from breaking up. Burmese comprise the largest ethnic group in Myanmar. Other ethnic groups, including the Karen and Shan groups, are still involved in armed conflict with the military junta.

The current military junta is dominated by Burmese (top opposition leader Aung San Su Kyi is also Burmese).

International countries, including ASEAN states like Indonesia, have condemned the brutal military action against demonstrators in Myanmar.

Tin said international support would help Mynamarmese activists to free the country from military repression. He and other activists, including monks, are now traveling overseas to seek that support.

“We have shown that we, Buddhists and Muslims, as well as people from different ethnic (groups) can cooperate. We believe a democratic country can protect their citizens without any discrimination.

Copied from Art of Patience Free Burma

Hidden Camera: Burmese Struggle for Democracy