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Photos of Burma protests
September 24, 2007 6:58 PM   Subscribe

Some amazing photos of the ongoing anti-government protests by Buddhist monks in Burma. Things are getting tense.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese (62 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is it wrong that every time I hear "Myanmar" on the radio all I can think of is sweaty Mr Peterson telling Elaine "It'll always be Burma to me"?
posted by DU at 7:04 PM on September 24, 2007


Is it wrong that every time I hear "Myanmar" on the radio all I can think of is sweaty Mr Peterson telling Elaine "It'll always be Burma to me"?

No, you're the only white poet warlord in the neighborhood.
posted by Poolio at 7:10 PM on September 24, 2007


Please note, these monks are not to be confused with the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army. [Google]
posted by humannaire at 7:11 PM on September 24, 2007


It's not wrong, DU, but it does reveal something about the level of your ignorance.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 7:11 PM on September 24, 2007 [4 favorites]


I can just hear the police chiefs in Rangoon, exhorting their officers at the morning meeting: "Now I want you to get out there and crack some bald heads!"
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:13 PM on September 24, 2007


Its good to see some progress being made. Here's a toast for speaking truth to a very violent, oppressive power.
posted by Avenger at 7:15 PM on September 24, 2007


Yeah, god bless 'em.
posted by thirteenkiller at 7:17 PM on September 24, 2007


Even though the 'whole world is watching' via posted photos/video on the Web ... I can't help but think that a violent crackdown is just around the corner -- memories of the 8888 Uprising in 1988.
posted by ericb at 7:29 PM on September 24, 2007


Yeah, I'm glad I chose to be born in the USA and not Myanmar. Because that would suck.
posted by mullingitover at 7:31 PM on September 24, 2007


I think you're right, ericb. It's very worrying -- it could get very ugly. The AP article in the SMH makes an interesting link between the protests and the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing: that the China, Burma's largest backer, would very much like to avoid a violent crackdown because that would tarnish its own international image ahead of the games.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 7:35 PM on September 24, 2007


"Soe Aung, a spokesman for a coalition of exile groups based in Thailand, said: 'The monks are the highest moral authority in the Burmese culture. If something happens to the monks, the situation will spread much faster than what happened to the students in 1988.' "
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 7:36 PM on September 24, 2007


Every time I hear stories about these protests I get a knot in my stomach dreading the seemingly inevitable bloodbath. God, I hope my gut feeling is wrong. Burma deserves some reprieve from the rule of the incompetent shitheads it has calling the shots now.
posted by Kattullus at 7:39 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


I can't help but think that a violent crackdown is just around the corner

They really don't have a lot to lose. Business continues to be done in Burma above the table by corporations who don't give a damn, and below, via smuggling. This will be tolerated for about a moment and a half and then no more.
posted by dreamsign at 7:41 PM on September 24, 2007


I'd read this analysis by Aung Zaw at openDemocracy at couple of days ago. I fear the Burmese people are going to be let down by the international community again. China is one of the regime's main supporters both politically and economically, and I am not aware of any shift in that.
posted by Abiezer at 8:12 PM on September 24, 2007


From the second link: The barefoot monks...

Really? Because I'm pretty sure I see sandals.

Oh wait.

(Reuters)

I guess they photoshopped them in, then.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 8:13 PM on September 24, 2007


Two prominent Burmese entertainers, the comedian Zaganar and the romantic actor Kyaw Thu, brought food and water to the pagoda as an expression of respect for the monks.

“We are Buddhist and all Buddhists have to support this movement,” Kyaw Thu said. “We will do whatever we have to do take care of the monks. They are doing a lot on behalf of the people.”

Distinguished writers, a poet and musicians also appeared at the pagoda, and a group of doctors and nurses established a committee to tend to the health of the demonstrators. Many ordinary people decorated their dress with small pieces of cloth cut from the same cloth as the monk’s robes as a symbol of solidarity.


I'm sick of movie stars and musicians imposing their politics on people.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:18 PM on September 24, 2007


I was in Burma in 2004 and we met some young monks who invited us to their monastery to meet their teacher. He told us that he thought it was odd that the US would invade Iraq, a country who's people did not support us invading it and with the whole world against us going in. And in Burma, you have a democratically elected government overthrown by a brutal military junta and a country full of people who fully support the world stepping in and no one does anything. I hope that something positive comes out of this new movement and I hope it can happen without any more bloodshed.
posted by crawfishpopsicle at 8:19 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanks Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese for this post and your followup comments. I hope China's concern about appearances prior to the Olympics does indeed avert a violent crackdown.
posted by intermod at 8:43 PM on September 24, 2007


He told us that he thought it was odd that the US would invade Iraq, a country who's people did not support us invading it and with the whole world against us going in. And in Burma, you have a democratically elected government overthrown by a brutal military junta and a country full of people who fully support the world stepping in and no one does anything.

The monk was clearly blissfully unaware that - historically speaking - when democratically elected governments have been overthrown by brutal military juntas, the US has supported the juntas.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:33 PM on September 24, 2007


Oh my, it's a children's crusade. (In the historical sense, not in a snarky sense.) Look how young they are.

I hope there's no violence. I'm not sure that the junta is ready to give up power, which makes me fear that they may hold on to it by shooting at people.
posted by Peecabu at 11:09 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


I can't think of anyone on the planet I admire more unreservedly than Aung San Suu Kyi.
posted by dhartung at 11:09 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Warning broadcast across Rangoon
posted by Abiezer at 11:28 PM on September 24, 2007


I was listening to the latest edition of From Our Own Correspondent about this yesterday, with some interesting background about the situation.

I found it interesting that not only are the government brutal and corrupt, but also very stupid and incompetent. It also struck me that if you have Buddhist Monks, dedicated to asceticism and non-attachement, protesting against you, you've messed up big time.
posted by Grangousier at 11:52 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Direct link to the MP3, while it's still available.
posted by Grangousier at 11:53 PM on September 24, 2007


Good post, Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese. Thanks.
posted by homunculus at 11:58 PM on September 24, 2007


Oh my, it's a children's crusade. (In the historical sense, not in a snarky sense.) Look how young they are.

It's not just the monks. Many of the soldiers are young too.
posted by homunculus at 12:09 AM on September 25, 2007


From the world's only detained Nobel peace prize laureate: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

In The Quiet Land

In the Quiet Land, no one can tell
if there's someone who's listening
for secrets they can sell.
The informers are paid in the blood of the land
and no one dares speak what the tyrants won't stand.

In the quiet land of Burma,
no one laughs and no one thinks out loud.
In the quiet land of Burma,
you can hear it in the silence of the crowd

In the Quiet Land, no one can say
when the soldiers are coming
to carry them away.
The Chinese want a road; the French want the oil;
the Thais take the timber; and SLORC takes the spoils...

In the Quiet Land....
In the Quiet Land, no one can hear
what is silenced by murder
and covered up with fear.
But, despite what is forced, freedom's a sound
that liars can't fake and no shouting can drown.
posted by adamvasco at 12:20 AM on September 25, 2007


What hit me when I watched the video on this page (sorry Dutch), is that one monk has a megaphone.
Jeez, if I was a dictator the first war I'd start would be the War on Megaphones.

But that's just me.

Anyway, go monks!
posted by Crusty at 2:47 AM on September 25, 2007


Note on the name of the place; many of the opposition groups refuse to call the country Myanmar, preferring to still call it Burma, as the name change was imposed by the junta.
Inevitably, Wikipedia has more (wiki politics warning may apply)
posted by Luddite at 6:10 AM on September 25, 2007


I wonder if this is why the gov't moved their offices from Yangon to the middle of nowhere -- so they can simply let the monks march, and just ignore them completely.

...well, ignore them until someone goes too far and occupies an office building somewhere, giving the Tatmadaw a handy excuse to break out the grenades.
posted by aramaic at 6:12 AM on September 25, 2007


Really? Because I'm pretty sure I see sandals. Oh wait. (Reuters) I guess they photoshopped them in, then.

CitrusFreak: In the photo album I was looking at, it seemed like many of the monks took their sandals off (maybe holding them under their robes?) when it began to rain heavily.

Om mane padme hum.
posted by aught at 7:01 AM on September 25, 2007


I found it interesting that not only are the government brutal and corrupt, but also very stupid and incompetent.

I would say hamfisted rather than stupid. The propaganda there looks like our cliches of Soviet-era agitprop x10.

It also struck me that if you have Buddhist Monks, dedicated to asceticism and non-attachement, protesting against you, you've messed up big time.

That wouldn't be true everywhere, but yeah in Burma (or Tibet) where devotion is near-absolute, you betcha.
posted by dreamsign at 7:47 AM on September 25, 2007


children's crusade

Didn't everyone get the most recent issue of Vice Magazine?

It was the one with The Student Army of Burma.
posted by humannaire at 7:59 AM on September 25, 2007


Nifty.
Related
posted by Smedleyman at 9:32 AM on September 25, 2007


(pictures section, I mean, but overall subject as well)
posted by Smedleyman at 9:33 AM on September 25, 2007


"In another possible sign of a looming confrontation, a well-placed source said detained democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi was moved to the notorious Insein prison on Sunday, a day after she appeared in front of her house to greet marching monks."
posted by homunculus at 9:47 AM on September 25, 2007


This is the sort of protesting that would actually make a difference in America. But, alas, Americans will never get the gumption to take action like that.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:31 PM on September 25, 2007


This is the sort of protesting that would actually make a difference in America. But, alas, Americans will never get the gumption to take action like that.

I don't think it's really about gumption, fisho. When people simmer away for years under an oppressive system, these kinds of protests like a massive communal orgasm, in a way that can't really happen when people are relatively free & prosperous, and disagreeing with the government on points that are largely abstract political issues, quite different from the grinding powerlessness, poverty & doublethink of everyday life that people experience under these kinds of regimes.

It's happened time & time again - think Ceaucescu, Soeharto, Solidarity, the Baltic States...when people are forced to talk in whispers, when opposition journalists, artists & academics are imprisoned or killed, when people live in fear of secret police, informers & arbitrary arrest, that's when a critical mass of opposition like this snowballs.

that's a snowball in a simmering pot of fissile jism - not to be messed with!
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:29 PM on September 25, 2007


Chinese dilemma over Burma protests
posted by homunculus at 7:40 PM on September 25, 2007


It will be interesting to see what happens today -- the military is securely in place. It's morning there now, but I can't find any news about what's going on right now.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 9:03 PM on September 25, 2007


Barefoot Against The Junta
posted by homunculus at 9:31 PM on September 25, 2007


Burma riot police beat protesters: Police baton-charge protesters including monks near a pagoda at the heart of anti-junta unrest in Burma.
posted by homunculus at 11:34 PM on September 25, 2007


Several thousand Burmese monks and other protesters have begun a new march in Rangoon despite a baton charge by police at the city's holiest shrine.
posted by homunculus at 12:40 AM on September 26, 2007


Ko Hitke's Blog
(in thai, but the pictures are universal)

Burma Digest
(in english, with video and with pictures from ko hitke)

Burmese-born blogger Ko Htike, based in London, has transformed his once-literary blog into a virtual news agency and watched page views rise almost tenfold.

He publishes pictures, video and information sent to him by a network of underground contacts within the country.

"I have about 10 people inside, in different locations. They send me their material from internet cafes, via free hosting pages or sometimes by e-mail," he told the BBC News website.

"All my people are among the Buddhists, they are walking along with the march and as soon as they get any images or news they pop into internet cafes and send it to me," he said"


via BBC article
posted by Merik at 2:15 AM on September 26, 2007


Exile news organisation Irrawaddy has up to date news, photos and video. Also Matthew Weaver's Guardian Newsblog. Irrawaddy reports that this afternoon (Wednesday) Local Burmese time; 5 monks have been shot; two monks and a nun have been killed.
posted by adamvasco at 3:10 AM on September 26, 2007


Correction, killing has not been confirmed.
Even so this is all pretty grim. Shooting Monks + Nuns will prove not to be a good move I think on behalf of the oppresson. Now if the UN / International leaders had a pair maybe this could be resolved without further bloodshed but I doubt that will happen.
posted by adamvasco at 3:53 AM on September 26, 2007


[this is heartbreaking]
posted by Kattullus at 4:16 AM on September 26, 2007


Gordon Brown Calls UN Security Council Meeting
posted by tellurian at 6:12 AM on September 26, 2007


aught: I can't seem to get either of your two links to work, but I'll take your word for it.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 6:22 AM on September 26, 2007


Ko Hitke's Blog
(in thai, but the pictures are universal)


That's not Thai, that's Burmese.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 8:37 AM on September 26, 2007


But thanks for the link, Merik. There are some great photos there, including this one of protesters forming a human shield around the monks.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 8:38 AM on September 26, 2007


My mistake, k.a.c. , mental typo. I have traveled in thailand near the burma border recently, and have friends in southern thailand, so im interpreting this through that experience.

I hope the news, photos, and stories continue to make thier way out of burma to the international community so that pressure is put on world leaders to act.

Unfortunately, there are now reports that the junta is disabling access to the internet in burma, and attempting to limit mobile phones.

The same report also mentions that there may be a split occuring in the junta, with some officers refusing to shoot at monks.

A source informed Asia Sentinel that some regional commanders have sent word to their superiors that they will not attack monks. They will reportedly guarantee the safety of the monks.

This brings hope, but it is unconfirmed.
posted by Merik at 9:13 AM on September 26, 2007


Violent crackdown launched in Myanmar [AP]

"YANGON, Myanmar - Security forces in Myanmar opened fire on demonstrators Wednesday, and witnesses said police beat and dragged away dozens of Buddhist monks. The government said at least one person was killed, while dissident groups and media reported up to eight dead."
posted by Kattullus at 11:02 AM on September 26, 2007


"It's scary here. They will kill us, monks and nuns. Maybe we should go back to normal life as before," said a young nun, her back pressed against the back of a building near the scenes of chaos. But a student at a roadside watching the arrival of the demonstrators said, "If they are brave, we must be brave. They risk their lives for us."
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 11:17 AM on September 26, 2007


Blog entries from Burma. Some are in English, others are translated. [The Times]

Example:

One of the soldiers was shooting into the crowd near by the Sualae Pagoda. People can see that the solider is not a professional, because so many of his bullets went up into the sky, and also into the restaurant and a man was hit.

From ko-htike.blogspot.com.
posted by Kattullus at 12:48 PM on September 26, 2007


The Irrawaddy, online magazine covering Burma and Southeast Asia. Breaking coverage of the protests, analysis.
posted by Abiezer at 5:11 PM on September 26, 2007


Burma monasteries in night raids: Burmese security forces storm monasteries and arrest scores of monks after days of protests, witnesses say.
posted by homunculus at 8:21 PM on September 26, 2007


Today will be crucial. Will the protesters come out in support of the detained monks? Or will this put an end to the demonstrations? I can't imagine it will end this easily.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 9:58 PM on September 26, 2007


The Democracy Now segment this morning covers the worsening situation. Up to 500 monks may have been imprisoned in the overnight raids. The correspondents echoed that Nobel Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi had been moved to the Insein Prison. The government has been trying to shut down cell phone and internet contact.
posted by salvia at 11:39 AM on September 27, 2007


According to latest reports Aung San Suu Kyi is still under house arrest and hasn't been moved to Insein.

9 killed in 2nd day of Myanmar crackdown [AP]

Excerpt:
Witnesses said an estimated 70,000 people gathered in the streets, but there were only a handful of monks in the crowd, compared with previous days when thousands marched.

Witnesses and a Western diplomat told the AP that dozens of men were arrested and severely beaten after soldiers fired into one crowd of protesters. Troops in at least four locations fired into crowds after several thousand protesters ignored an order from security forces to disband, witnesses and diplomats said.

Some reports said the dead included Buddhist monks, who are widely revered in Myanmar, and the emergence of such martyrs could stoke public anger against the regime and escalate the violence.

Before dawn Thursday, security forces raided several monasteries considered hotbeds of the pro-democracy movement in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

A monk at Ngwe Kyar Yan monastery pointed to bloodstains on the concrete floor and said a number of monks were beaten and at least 100 were taken away in vehicles. Shots were fired in the air and tear gas was used to disperse a crowd of 1,500 supporters during the chaotic raid, he said.

"Soldiers slammed the monastery gate with the car, breaking the lock and forcing it into the monastery," said the monk, who did not give his name for fear of reprisal. "They smashed the doors down, broke windows and furniture. When monks resisted, they shot at the monks and used tear gas and beat up the monks and dragged them into trucks."

Empty bullet shells, broken doors, furniture and glass were strewn on the ground.

A female lay disciple said a number of monks also were arrested at the Moe Gaung monastery, which was being guarded by soldiers. Both monasteries are located in Yangon's northern suburbs.
posted by Kattullus at 1:39 PM on September 27, 2007


I read a headline claiming some 500 have been imprisoned.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:38 PM on September 27, 2007


Reading these links makes me want to cry. Thanks for posting these, K.A.C.. Now to see if fervent hope will avert bloodshed.

I don't know about you, but I stopped clapping for Tinkerbell a long time ago.
posted by Phire at 11:19 PM on October 1, 2007


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