Saturday, September 29, 2007
BURMESE PLEAD FOR HELP AS THE SHUTTERS CLOSE
ith the deadly state violence continuing in Burma and internet communications severed, that country's long suffering people desperately need outside help. This illegitimate regime (itself the very definition of illegitimate regimes) has no friends left after a stinging rebuke from its co-members in ASEAN, and China now starting to come around in a cooperative effort with Japan to influence the worsening situation.
UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari is set to fly into Burma later today from Bangkok amid hints that the regime might be looking for a way out of their mess. The crowds in the streets were somewhat diminished on Friday, but the degree of violence used against them was much greater than on Wednesday and Thursday, with reports of dozens of bodies lined up on the roads and witnesses saying that more than a hundred may have been slain.
Irrawaddy News reported Friday on a possible split within the senior junta leadership.
Top Generals Disagree over Bloody CrackdownWitnesses tell Irrawaddy that "trucks loaded with troops raided the offices of Burma's main Internet service provider, Myanmar Info-Tech, located at Rangoon University (Hlaing campus) around noon on Friday in an effort to cut all public access to the internet."
Rangoon, Late Afternoon—Unconfirmed reports say there are unusual troop movements underway in Rangoon, amid reports that Snr-Gen Than Shwe, the junta’s chief, and Vice Snr-Gen Maung Aye, his second in command and the commander in chief of the army, have disagreed over the response to the recent demonstrations.
Diplomatic sources in Bangkok said Maung Aye is scheduled to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi, and that he disagreed with the bloody crackdown that has been underway for three days.
A diplomatic source told The Irrawaddy that Suu Kyi has been taken to Yemon Military Camp on the outskirts of Rangoon.
A woman who narrowly escaped the troops' gunfire in central Rangoon told the magazine that soldiers "pursued fleeing people into buildings" looking for people with cameras. If found, the soldiers would beat them, shouting "Is it you who sends those pictures out?”
A source "close to the military hierarchy" has told Mizzima News that Gen. Maung Aye (second in the junta constellation) and his faction are at odds with Gen. Than Shwe over the degree of brutality. "Maung Aye and his loyalists are opposed to shooting into the crowd," he said.
A protester told Mizzima,
"People started fleeing to the 17th Street and to China town. But the soldiers blocked the road on Lanmadaw Street. So far we don't know how many deaths have occurred but I am sure there are more than a hundred deaths. Thousands have been arrested. Since Insein prison cannot accommodate anymore people they are being detained at the Government Technical College (GTC)."
WHO officials said they have rush to the Rangoon general hospital to donate medicines after hearing that several people have been injured after troops shot protesters. However, the hospital authorities rejected the donation and sent them back.Junta forces later sealed off the Rangoon General hospital compound. In Pansodan and Chinatown districts, members of Swan Arrshin and USDA (junta vigilante groups), and ex-convicts joined in the soldiers' attacks on crowds, beating some people to death.
When Mizzima contacted the Rangoon general hospital, to confirm of the information, officials of the hospital did not deny or confirm the information but cut off the telephone
Security forces fire on school pupils:
A group of students was marching from Pansodan bridge to the high school in Tamwe township, while many other students were inside the school compound. Soldiers and government guards fired automatic weapons into the air and at chest-level to prevent marching students from reaching the school.Publications refuse to print junta propaganda:
“There were primary-grade students studying inside the school and some of them were hit as well,” said one of the witnesses.
Parents waiting to collect their children from school were also among those hit by bullets.
Burmese authorities are ordering the publications to print articles written by state media and other stories blaming the All Burma Student’s Democratic Front and the National League for Democracy for the protests.Neighbourhoods organising to defend the monasteries:
“They are forcing us to publish their announcements and propaganda in our publications and we can’t let them do that to us,” said a Rangoon journalist.
“We set up an alert system of banging pots and pans when anyone saw soldiers approaching the monastery, and we prepared ourselves with any available weapons to stop these unholy people from harassing the monks,” said a Mandalay resident.And in Rangoon,
However, despite the residents’ efforts, Pauk Myaing monastery was raided by government troops at around 7pm yesterday.
“They kicked the monks with their army boots and beat them up before arresting about 40 monks,” said another local resident.
“If we just stood by, not even dogs would survive in Burma under these bastards’ brutality and inhumanity,” the resident continued, pledging that residents were ready to assist the monks whenever their help was needed.
At Min Nanda monastery, which backs on to Pazuntaung creek, troops tried to approach from both land and water but retreated when they saw the strength of local resistance.
“There were not only Buddhist people but also Muslims, Christians and Hindus defending the monasteries,” said a resident of Tharkayta township.
A similar story has been played out in other townships in Burma, as residents take action to resist government raids on monasteries.
The video begins with a group of monks, most of them with bandaged wounds, describing an attack on their monastery, followed by views of the quarters. Then comes the street scene at Sule junction, when large trucks packed with soldiers stopped among the crowds, firing shots into the sky and launching tear gas. They pile out of the trucks and then comes the footage shown briefly, earlier in the afternoon, on the AP sat feed. The complete footage shows a lot more than what has been widely seen of Kenji Nagai's death, both before and after. I saw him walking toward the building, actually under the awning, before the camera swings away to something else. When it swings back, we see the shooting from a different angle to that already seen (in the article below). After some jerky mayhem shots, we catch a glimpse of a group of soldiers huddled over him, and later carrying him away.
Some earlier scenes before the attack are then shown, when the demonstrators are in a stationary group. We can see Kenji moving around the crowd taking his photos. The broadcast then loops back to footage of Sept. 26. The loop is updated each day with the previous day's video, and is repeated 24 hours a day. Surely there must be some clandestine satellite dishes in Burma. It will be interesting to see if DVB got anything out of the country on Friday, after the junta unplugged the internet.
Pajamas Media's PJM Bangkok has a fine piece on the information battleground, and a good list of Burmese bloggers. PJM's Bill Toddler talked with longtime Burmese democracy activist Zaw Tun.
“Nobody really thought the kids cared about Burma any more. They only seemed to be interested in their phones or computers. But they are making all the difference in getting the word out. The Junta can’t stop them,” observed Zaw Tun, a Burmese expatriate living in Thailand who has been with the Burmese democracy movement.They are now trying to establish communications via satellite. Bill writes:
In the past totalitarian governments have controlled and restricted the media. But today they now face the problem of every citizen potentially being the press. This unfortunately won’t stop the bloodshed, but it makes it impossible to deny, and the world is no longer able to turn a blind eye to such events. This may very well influence the outcome.You'll have to go to the link to see just how harsh.
“In 1988 many of the soldiers where ready to switch sides,” says Zaw Tun. “I think that is the same now. Maybe even more so. No one is happy with how things are. But there would have to be a leader to emerge and take control.”
Prospects of outside assistance from the UN don’t instill Zaw with much confidence. His reaction to the mention of the UN was harsh.
Mr. Toddler, at his own blog, invites us to consider the heartfelt plea of a Burmese blogger on behalf of his people :
What media is still not telling the world is that people of Myanmar are now in the great hope for your help and the help of UN.
They have no one else to turn to and their own army is killing them brutally. And since all their leaders were secretly detained without any warrant, people and sangas are leading the very dangerous demonstration by themselves without proper leadership. That is exactly what that government wants.
They are creating fake chaos activities with their own people impersonating as sangas and civilians in order for them to tell the world that they are just controlling the situation.
Please Mr. Bush and the UN, all the starving and abused people of Myanmar are crying for your help now. I’ve been contacted by many kids from the streets of Myanmar to ask United States and UN to take actions to protect their lives.
Please help us Mr. Bush, Mr. Ban Ki-moon and all leaders of the world,
We have no weapons or protections. Please…..
Give us a right to live freely.
With all due respect
People Of Myanmar