Thursday, September 27, 2007

Satyagraha In Burma!

How many times have you heard people saying that satyagraha & non-violence can't work in today's world? A little-known country in east asia is about to put that contention to the test!

The centuries-old wisdom of Buddhism has pitted itself against one of the most brutal military rulers on the planet. They are taking on a heavily armed ruthless army with literally nothing but prayers. Thousands of protesters - buddhist monks, who are highly revered & respected for their benevolence & peaceful way of life both in Burma and abroad - are being intimidated, arrested, and brutally beaten up with rifle butts while you read this. And still all the protests till date remain peaceful & non-violent, reminding one of the golden days of India's struggle for freedom.
As citizens of not just our country but of humanity, it becomes our duty to know what's happening and spread the word. That may be the only way to prevent the Burmese massacre of 1988 from happening again.

Our leaders in India have called this an 'internal affair' and don't wanna talk about it when they should actually be at the forefront to bring the dictatorship to see common sense. Remember, once upon a time India's struggle for independence had been termed an 'internal affair' of the British Empire. How ironical that today Britain itself is calling for action against the military rulers of Burma/Myanmar when the world's biggest democracy is keeping its mouth shut while peaceful protesters die! It makes me feel there are more true Indians on Burma's streets than there are in our parliament.

Please step out of sports hysteria and find out what's going on behind the front pages!
see & read these latest articles:
Burma protests: Your pictures
Burma monasteries in night raids
Accounts from inside Burma
Burma cyber-dissidents crack censorship

And see this one too on Avaaz.org (an online petition being sent directly to political leaders)

Get aware of the real news, the stuff that matters. Forward this mail. Blog this issue. Make our leaders sit up & take notice. And let's finally make good use of the Internet!


Quotes from eyewitnesses, as told to the BBC:

Now the military junta is reducing the internet connection bandwidth and we have to wait for a long time to see a page. Security forces block the route of demonstrations. Yesterday night, the junta announced to people in Rangoon and Mandalay not to leave their houses 9:00 PM to 5:00 AM. I think if the junta decides, they will cut off communication such as internet and telephone lines so that no information can be leaked to the outside world. David, Rangoon

At about 10 o'clock the riot police blocked the road, but the monks pushed through the blockade and climbed the Shwedagon pagoda from the eastern side. After eating there, they came down from the pagoda about noon, in a line. At that point they were rounded up and charged with batons by the police. The monks responded merely by reciting prayers. People fled from the scene and it was mainly women who were targeted and beaten. The mob was dispersed and some people were arrested. Near the eastern stairway, tear gas was used to disperse the crowd. The monks - together with monks from Thingangyun - are said to march towards downtown. About thirty monks were badly hurt and hospitalised. Anonymous eyewitness, Rangoon

At 13:00 a silent and orderly line of several thousand monks has passed at the bottom of the street where my office is located. Not a sound from them, a calm and determined march. Traffic blocks up, buses and taxis open their doors, people stream out and go towards the marchers at an unusually quick pace. People just leave their cars at the side of the road. At the same time, while the sun is burning down, there are huge dark-grey clouds in the sky and loud thunder cracks over their heads. Win, Rangoon

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