Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Worlds Apart - Two Uses of Technology.

While Americans are lining up in the streets to purchase a violent video game, Buddhist monks in Myanmar have taken to the street to protest for basic human rights. And brave bloggers and ordinary citizens in Myanmar are risking their lives to get their story out to the West.

" 24.09.2007 - Yangon, Myanmar (Burma) - More than 100,000 people flooded the streets of Myanmar's biggest city on Monday, joining Buddhist monks in the strongest show of dissent against the ruling generals in nearly two decades. In swelling tides of humanity, two major marches snaked their way through the nation's commercial capital led by robed monks chanting prayers of peace and compassion, witnesses said"

" 23.09.2007 in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma) -Thousands of monks, nuns and members of the general populace, marched on the streets of Myanmar's capital Yangon (formerly Rangoon)"

an excerpt from:
Defiant monks resume street protests - Independent Online Edition

Published: 25 September 2007

Buddhist monks spearheading Burma's biggest anti-government marches in nearly two decades defied orders from the military junta to stay out of politics and relaunched their protests in the country's two biggest cities today.

About 4,000 monks, cheered on by several thousand supporters, gathered for the eighth day of peaceful protest at Rangoon's soaring Shwedagon Pagoda, while some 700 marched in the country's second largest city of Mandalay.

The demonstrations came despite orders to the Buddhist clergy to halt all political activity and return to their monasteries, and as pro-junta supporters in pick-up trucks cruised Rangoon warning that large crowds were illegal.

The protests in Rangoon reached 100,000 yesterday, becoming the biggest demonstrations since a pro-democracy uprising 19 years ago. The authorities did not stop the protests, even as they built to a scale and fervour that rivalled the 1988 uprising when the military fired on peaceful crowds and killed thousands, terrorising the country.

The government has been handling the monks gingerly, wary of angering ordinary citizens in this devout, predominantly Buddhist nation.

But diplomats said troops have been discreetly deployed in downtown Rangoon and could easily be called in against the protesters. Some schools in the capital were closed.

Following yesterday's march, authorities in cars cruised Rangoon's streets today, announcing that the clergy have been directed not to take part in "secular affairs" and saying that certain elements were trying to instigate unrest in the country. Warnings were also sent out against all illegal gatherings in a country where an assembly of more than five can amount to breaking the law.

* * * * *

" Jim Carrey calls for people to support the world's only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi. He also decries Burma's military regime for recruiting more child soldiers than any other country in the world, destroying 3,000 villages in eastern Burma, and forcing 1.5 million refugees to flee."

He appeals to viewers to join two organizations:

The Human Rights Action Center

U.S. Campaign for Burma

Note: as of this post CNN is reporting that Aung San Suu Kyi has been moved from house arrest to one of the worst prisons in Myanmar.

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