Saturday, November 03, 2007

Singapore 'Deeply Disappointed' by Burma action

Source: Agence France-Presse

Singapore, current chair of the ASEAN bloc, said Saturday it was "deeply disappointed" by Myanmar's decision to expel the most senior UN official working in the military-ruled country.

Myanmar's announcement sent an inconsistent message about it's willingness to engage the United Nations after brutal suppression of anti-government protests in September, a foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement.

"Singapore is deeply disappointed to learn of the Myanmar government's decision to discontinue the assignment of the UNDP Resident Coordinator Charles James Petrie in Myanmar," he said.

"This announcement has come at a most inopportune time, just before the arrival of (UN special envoy) Ibrahim Gambari," the spokesman added.

For the full report, please click here.

Singapore Disappointed by Burma's Move on UN Envoy

Source: Reuters

Singapore said on Saturday that it was deeply disappointed by Myanmar's move to expel the United Nations' top resident diplomat, ahead of a visit by UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari.

Singapore is currently the chair of the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations, one of the few international groups to admit Myanmar as a member. The city-state is also one of the biggest investors in the former Burma.

"This announcement has come at a most inopportune time, just before the arrival of UNSG Special Advisor Ibrahim Gambari," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

"It also sends an inconsistent message about Myanmar's willingness to continue engaging the UN in improving its domestic political and socio-economic situation."

For the full report, please click here.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Burma Frees 46 More Prisoners Ahead of UN Anvoy's Visit

Source: Perth Now

AUTHORITIES in Burma have freed 46 more people arrested during unrest in August and September, an opposition party spokesman said.

The release of the prisoners, most of whom are members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party, occurred late Thursday, spokesman Nyan Win told AFP, just two days before the arrival of UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari on Saturday.

For the full report, please click here.

Burma Expels UN Diplomat

Source: CNN

Burma's Foreign Ministry has ordered a top U.N. diplomat in the secretive Asian country to leave, the U.S. Charge d'Affaires in Myanmar told CNN on Friday.

According to Shari Villarosa, U.N. resident coordinator Charles Petri was told by the ruling military junta that "he was no longer welcome in the country."

For the full report, please click here.

Women Resort to Selling Their Hair to Survive in Burma

Souce: Democratic Voice of Burma

DVB interviewed Daw Le Le, a member of the National League for Democracy, regarding her experience in custody since being detained on the 29th of Septenber.

During the interview, she revealed that she met a fellow NLD member in prison who told her that she had to sell her daughter's hair in order to put up a deposit for a trishaw. She received about 20,000 kyats (~ 15 USD) in payment. However, as she was detained on that very day, she had to use this money.

While Daw Le Le did not mention explicitly what the money was being used for, she mentioned that it was possible to get the prison staff to buy basic provisions for them. She also mentioned that the stay in prison was tougher for those who were not anticipating their arrests, and had no money or extra clothing with them.

Her cell mate had a similar story to share; Daw Le Le noticed that clumps of her hair were missing. The woman told her that she had to sell her hair to get by because her family was in financial difficulties.

For the original article in Burmese, please click here.

FT In Depth: No Thai haven for Burmese dissidents

Source: Financial Times

Amy Kazmin writes about the plight of Burmese dissidents who leave Burma for Thailand in fear of persecution, only to continue living life in fear.

For the full report, please click here.

John Teo: Burma a Victim of Insercure Rulers

Source: NST Online

John Teo thinks that the western countries "throwing their weights around" are to blame for the continuing crisis in Burma.

For the full report, please click here.

Arakan: Young Students Stage Peace Rally

Source: Myanmar News

Akyab, Arakan State: Young students staged a peaceful rally near Lawkananda pagoda on October 31, said a local in Akyab.

The young students, between the ages of 10 and 13 years, marched peacefully to the Lawkananda pagoda with red ribbons on their head without any writings, holding a red flower bouquet in one hand while another held a pigeon, he added. They were boys and girls from different schools in Akyab.

The students made groups of five and one row had five groups. There were around 100 students.

The students stayed at the pagoda from 2 pm to 3 pm where they released the pigeons and shouted "we need peace, not military rule".

The security forces of Lawkananda tried to divide and break the groups and send the students back home but they did not move from the pagoda compound till 3 pm.

Students in Akyab hung anti junta cartoon posters in the entrance wells of famous Buddhist temples and monasteries on the night of October 29, said a student.

For the original report, please click here.

Farmers May Lead New Protests in Myanmar--Dissident leader

Source: Agence France-Presse via

Disgruntled farmers may take the lead in fresh protests against Myanmar's ruling military junta following the bloody suppression of a campaign for change spearheaded by monks, a pro-democracy leader predicted here Thursday.

"Maybe the next time it will be the farmers who take the lead in response to the rapid inflation between their plantation season and crop harvesting seasons who see their investment evaporate," said U Maung Maung, general secretary of the National Council of the Union of Burma.

"They are all waiting for the right moment," he told a US Congressional hearing on the crisis in the Southeast Asian state.

For the full report, please click here.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Updates From Burma: 1st November

1858 hrs

Some landlines in Rangoon are down. Some working landlines also seem to be having an unusual degree of interference.

1708 hrs

A Rangoon resident told Flaming Peacocks that internet was again down in Rangoon. A check with three internet cafes in downtown confirmed this. The source was not sure if it was merely a technical fault, or if junta was again trying to impose censures.

'Burma' Most Corrupt in The World: CPI

Source: Mizzima News

Having tied for second to last in the 2006 survey of national corruption, it seemed to ask a lot of Burma to put in a worse showing for 2007. But Burma has done just that, sharing the title of world's most corrupt country with war ravaged and impoverished Somalia.

The annual Corruptions Perception Index (CPI), a product of Transparency International, paints a grim picture for the short-term prospect of improvement inside Burma, stating from the outset that the existence of strong and accountable public institutions is essential, and that "a strong correlation between corruption and poverty continues to be evident."

"Countries torn apart by conflict pay a huge toll in their capacity to govern. With public institutions crippled or non-existent, mercenary individuals help themselves to public resources and corruption thrives," Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International, went on to add.

For the full report, please click here.

Authorities Request Monastery Trustees To Control Monks

Source: Mizzima News

Following a monk protest on Wednesday in Pakokku, in central Burma, authorities called the town's monastery trustees and requested them to control monks from staging more protests, a local monk said.

Thein Swe, chairman of the Township Peace and Development Council, on Wednesday afternoon summoned the monastery trustees, who comprise the managing committees of the monasteries, and asked them to control the monks from protesting, said the monk.

"The chairman mainly requested the Gawpaka (trustee committee) to stop the monks and control them from conducting another protest," said the monk, who declined to be named for fear of reprisal.

For the full report, please click here.

Bangkok Post: In the Burma bullseye

Source: Bangkok Post

US lawmakers are considering a widely supported new bid to punish the Burmese military rulers by banning gems and timber, most of which are exported to Thailand.

The bill would tighten sanctions by imposing a travel ban on top generals and associates and outlaw the import into the United States of gems and timber from Burma.

It would create a new position of special representative and policy coordinator for Burma, tasked with working with European and Southeast Asian powers on humanitarian relief and international sanctions.

For the full report, please click here.

China Key to Reform in Burma French FM

Source: Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News

China is pivotal to strengthening UN efforts to bring about reform in Myanmar and must push the military junta to talk with the democratic opposition, France's foreign minister told AFP.

In an interview before leaving here for China, where he was to meet Premier Wen Jiabao, Bernard Kouchner urged Beijing to use its influence to create real dialogue between the regime and detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

He said the international community must support UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari, who has been tasked with dealing with Myanmar, to ensure there is a sustained contact with the reclusive regime.

"A national dialogue must be established," Kouchner insisted, adding it was "illusory" to imagine there could be an immediate regime change.

For the full report, please click here.

Hatred Not Enough to Unseat Burma's All-powerful Military

Source: Earth Times

US professor and Myanmar expert David Steinberg said he has witnessed a new development in the past month in the South-East Asian country. "It is the first time ever that people actually said, 'I hate the military.' I had never heard it like that before," the director of Asian studies at Washington's Georgetown University said on a visit to Singapore.

The deepening loathing of the military, which has ruled Myanmar since 1962, came after the regime's deadly crackdown in September on peaceful demonstrations led by the country's revered monks.

But even before those protests, love was not the word to describe the relationship between the people and the ruling military junta, which has been cited as one of the most repressive regimes in the world, guilty of a raft of human rights violations.

For the full report, please click here.

UN Confirms Gambari to Arrive in Burma Saturday

Source: Agence France-Presse via

UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday said that the upcoming return visit to Myanmar by his special envoy Ibrahim Gambari would have to yield substantive results.

Ban said he would meet with Gambari, who is currently in southeast Asia, in Turkey Friday to discuss strategy for the envoy's five-day visit due to start Saturday.

Ban is to attend a ministerial meeting on Iraq in Istanbul later this week.

Gambari, a seasoned UN troubleshooter, was sent to Myanmar in September to convey international outrage after the ruling junta's bloody crackdown on anti-government protests, in which at least 13 people were kille

The secretary general said that this time Gambari's visit "will have to bring substantive results."

For the full report, please click here.

Britain Government Bows to Pressure to Boost Aid for Burma

Source: Guardian Unlimited

The government has promised to double the amount it gives in aid to Burma after coming under pressure from MPs, but will still provide only half the funding the Tories have pledged.

Douglas Alexander, the international development secretary, announced Britain's support for health, education and humanitarian support schemes would rise from £9m this year to £18m by 2010.

For the full report, please click here.

Suspend Burma, Dissidents Tell Asean

Source: Big News Network

Myanmar dissidents Thursday urged the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) to suspend Myanmar's membership if the country's leadership continued to ignore international calls for launching a meaningful national reconciliation process.

Leaders of the 88 Generation Students -- remnant dissidents from the 1988 anti-military movement in Myanmar -- issued a letter to Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong and Foreign Minister George Yeo urging Asean to take steps to increase pressure on Myanmar's military to start a political dialogue with opposition forces.

For the full story, please click here.

Burma: Children Bought and Sold by Army Recruiters

Source: Progressive Community Newswire

Facing a military staffing crisis, the Burmese government is forcibly recruiting many children, some as young as age 10, into its armed forces, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

Burmese military recruiters target children in order to meet unrelenting demands for new recruits due to continued army expansion, high desertion rates and a lack of willing volunteers. Non-state armed groups, including ethnic-based insurgent groups, also recruit and use child soldiers, though in far smaller numbers.

“The brutality of Burma’s military government goes beyond its violent crackdown on peaceful protestors,” said Jo Becker, children’s rights advocate for Human Rights Watch. “Military recruiters are literally buying and selling children to fill the ranks of the Burmese armed forces.”

Based on an investigation in Burma, Thailand and China, the 135-page report, “Sold to Be Soldiers: The Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers in Burma,” found that military recruiters and civilian brokers receive cash payments and other incentives for each new recruit, even if the recruit clearly violates minimum age or health standards.

For the full report, please click here.

Defiant Monks March Again in Burma

Source: Associated Press

More than 100 Buddhist monks marched peacefully Wednesday in a northern Myanmar town noted for its defiance of the country's military rulers, the first large protest since the junta violently crushed a wave anti-government demonstrations.

The monks marched for nearly an hour in the town of Pakokku, chanting a Buddhist prayer that has come to be associated with the pro-democracy cause. They did not carry signs or shout slogans, but their action was clearly in defiance of the military government, as one monk spelled out in a radio interview.

"We are continuing our protest from last month as we have not yet achieved any of the demands we asked for," the monk told the Democratic Voice of Burma, a Norway-based short-wave radio station and Web site run by dissident journalists.

"Our demands are for lower commodity prices, national reconciliation and immediate release of (pro-democracy leader) Aung San Suu Kyi and all the political prisoners," said the monk, who was not identified by name.

For the full report, please click here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Former USDA Member Arrives at Border After Joining Protests

Source: Democratic Voice Of Burma

A member of the USDA, who joined the protesters after witnessing the violent retaliation of the junta, has arrived at he Thai-Burmese border.

The man identified himself as Ko Khin Maung Swe, a member of the USDA from South Dagon Township, Rangoon. He told DVB that he quit the organisation after the violent crush of the August protests when people took to the streets over rising fuel prices.

He said he joined public protests after he witnessesd the monks marching on 18th of September. He left Rangoon after authorities raided his home on the 28th of September.

In the interview with DVB, he said he felt compelled to join the people, after seeing the true colours of junta.

KMS: I was a member of the USDA. When they wanted to quell the protests, they told us, "The oranges are ripe for plucking". The words bothered me. I was still with USDA when they crushed the August protests. I wasn't affected much then, though I knew it was unfair. Also, I was alone in my thinking and there was nothing I could do at that time.
On my way home, I saw the monks in the rain, putting their hands together in prayer, saying prayers for us, the people. That touched me. So I decided to leave USDA, and join the people.

DVB: In the past, as a member of the USDA, you had to use force against protesters. Now that the USDA has used force against the sangha, how did it make you feel?
KMS: What really compelled me to switch sides was the sight of the monks being beaten up by security forces. That, I couldn't take lying down. As buddhists, we grew up under the guidance of the sangha, and we have always revered them so it was unbearable to have to witness such a thing. Also, they made the monks leave the monasteries. I used to see about 4 to 5 monks every morning on alms rounds. Now, they're all gone. There are no more monks in Rangoon. I only see monks again after I come to the border.

DVB: So you joined the protests from the 19th of September?
KMS: Yes, until the 26th. From the 27th onwards, the protests were put to a stop.

DVB: As a former member of the USDA, weren't you worried that the authorities would punish you more severely than they do ordinary citizens?
KMS: At that time, I told myself that it was either jail or death; I was beyond worrying. I'm proud to have been a part of this movement. Most people condemned my involvement. They tell me it has nothing to do with me. So I tell them that it is for my religion, and my people.

DVB: Do you regret that you had to leave your family behind because of your involvement?
KMS: Not at all. Not at all.

DVB: In the video clips of the crackdown, we hear that the security forces in civilian clothing are members of the USDA.
Have you seen those clips?
KMS: Yes. A lot of them are USDA members. Also, I heard that they (the authorities) used convicts who were serving life sentences.

DVB: Where did you get that information? Is it confirmed?
KMS: It was insider information from my superiors. That's all I can tell you. I joined the USDA because I had the impressionthat it was really an organisation for the people. Their mission statement impressed me. They sent me for courses and I even won awards. But when they started the crackdown, it was when I realised their true colours.

DVB: You joined USDA thinking it was a humantarian organisation, then you realised that it was in fact a pro-junta group. How did that make you feel?
KMS: I was filled with regret. I'm too ashamed to tell people that I am a member of the USDA.

For the original article in Burmese, please click

To All People of Conscience Worldwide: End Violent Oppression in Burma

Source: Christian Today

Christian Today published a statement from the World Evangelical Alliance condemning the violent oppression of peaceful protesters in Burma.

To read the full statement, please click here.

Brian McCartan: The Loss of Burma's Democratic Voice

Source: Asia Times

Myanmar's ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) has received strong international condemnation for its crackdown on anti-government protestors in September, with the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations all calling on the junta to open dialog with the opposition and move towards democracy. But even if the SPDC were willing to compromise, which despite the international pressure seems unlikely, it's not clear with whom the junta should really be negotiating.

For the full report, please click here.

Anuj Chopra: Stumbling Through Burma's New Capital

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

Hacked out of malarial jungle, Burma's new capital is a medley of mammoth buildings and quiet zones, built by an army of poor laborers, says Anuj Chopra, who made a trip to Nay Pyi Daw.

For the full report, please click here.

Bush, Ban Seek Revival of Burma's Democracy

Source: Agence France-Presse via IOL

United States President George Bush and United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon agreed on Tuesday that Myanmar's military rulers must work with anti-junta activists to revive their country's democracy, the White House said.
Bush telephoned Ban to discuss the situation in Myanmar amid international efforts to push dialogue between the government and democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, said spokesperson Dana Perino.

For the full report, please click here.

Burmese Junta Frees Six More Politicians

Source: Reuters

Myanmar's junta has freed six prominent politicians arrested during last month's crackdown, including three senior members of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, a party official said on Tuesday.

"They were taken from Insein Central Prison to their homes at about 10 p.m.," NLD spokesman Nyan Win said.

Among those released was veteran politician Win Naing who was arrested on September 25 at the height of protests led by monks against 45 years of army rule in the former Burma.

The other five were detained on September 27 as the army crushed the biggest anti-junta protests in two decades. Official media reported 10 people were killed, but Western governments say the real toll is likely to be far higher.

For the full report, please click here.

Immediate Change in Burma Impossible, says French Minister

Source: Agence France-Presse via The Peninsula

France and Thailand said yesterday that immediate radical change in Myanmar was impossible, and the world had to work more closely together to bring democracy to the military-run country.

"We don't want to change the regime immediately, overnight. This is impossible, ridiculous and counter-productive," French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said after meeting with Thai officials over the Myanmar crisis.

"Let's start having a new spirit, a new movement, a new strength and we will succeed, believe me. This is the beginning of a successful process ... something is moving," he added.

Kouchner was in Bangkok on the second leg of an Asian tour to step up international pressure on Myanmar's junta.

For the full report, please click here.

Burmese Children Bought and Sold by Army Recruiters

Source: Agence France-Presse

Children as young as 10 are being forcibly recruited into the Myanmar army, bought and sold by military recruiters desperate to swell their ranks, Human Rights Watch said in a report Wednesday.

The junta, plagued by high desertion rates and a lack of volunteers, is enabling the practice with military recruiters and civilians getting cash and other incentives for each new recruit, the rights group said.

"The government's senior generals tolerate the blatant recruitment of children and fail to punish perpetrators," said Jo Becker, children's rights advocate for Human Rights Watch.

"In this environment, army recruiters traffic children at will."

For the full report, please click here.

RPT-Singapore Distancing Itself from Burma - Analysts

Source: Reuters

While opposing sanctions against Myanmar in public, Singapore's government and its banks in particular appear to be quietly distancing themselves from the ruling junta, analysts and bankers said on Tuesday.

Officially, Singapore has not deviated from the line given by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong a month ago, at the height of the junta's bloody crackdown on democracy protests, that sanctions would be unlikely to shunt Myanmar towards political reform.

But gradually, signs are emerging of institutions in the city-state pulling back from involvement with the generals, for whom Singapore is a top medical and leisure destination -- and widely believed to be home to their off-shore bank accounts.

"What's going on behind the scenes, particularly on the financial side, is de facto sanctions," said Sean Turnell, author of the Burma Economic Watch journal at Sydney's Macquarie University.

For the full report, please click here.

Germany, India urge Myanmar to Release Political Prisoners, Hold talks

Source: International Herald Tribune

India and Germany urged Myanmar's military rulers Tuesday to free all political prisoners and hold talks with the United Nations, following a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests in the impoverished Southeast Asian nation.

For the full report, please click here.

Malaysia: Keep Burma Politics out of Asean-EU Free Trade Talks

Source: Associated Press via Irrawaddy News

Burma's political crisis should not be used an excuse to hold up a proposed free trade pact between Europe and Southeast Asian nations, Malaysia's trade minister has said.

Negotiations must be free of political meddling and a constructive engagement is a better way to persuade military-ruled Burma to open up, Rafidah Aziz was quoted by national news agency Bernama as saying Monday while on a trade mission in Frankfurt.

For the full report, please click here.

Klose Htoo: What Shapes the Mind of A Soldier

Source: Mizzima News

Klose Htoo on 29th October wrote an insightful article about the make-up of the Burmese army, its recruitment drives, and the conditioning of the soldiers. Mizzima has translated into English, the essence of the opinion piece.

To read the article in English, please follow this link:

For the original article in Burmese, please follow this link:

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Updates from Burmese Blogs: 30th October 2007

Source: Nik Nayman

1003 hrs:
Words "Killer Than Shwe" were found sprayed on the road in white paint at 5 locations along a stretch of road near ZeeKone Township, Pegu. The words occupied the entire width of the road. Sheets of paper with the same words were also found littered on the road. Police reportedly took pictures, and subsequently cleaned up the road.

Matthew Swibel and Soyoung Ho: The Sanctions Myth


Matthew Swibel and Soyoung Ho do not think sanctions are enough to bring down the military regime of Burma, and they have the support of Burma watchers who think that a stronger corporate presence would actually help.

For the full report, please follow this link:

Opposition Leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Meets With UN Human Rights Group

Source: SoneSeaYar

SoneSeayar reported yesterday afternoon that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi had a meeting with 4 members of the visiting UN Human Rights Group led by Mr. Pinheiro at Sedona Hotel in Rangoon. The news added that recently-released detainees were also involved in the meeting. Among them are high profile leaders of activist groups and senior monks.

British Parliament Had a Long Debate on Burma

Source: BBC

British Parliament held a debate about Burma in which MPs denounced Burmese government for its brutal handling over monks and people of Burma who had staged peaceful protests.

International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander rejected the road map by Burmese military leaders was bound to be a failure for it was excluded the opposition and ethnic minorities.

International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander rejected the road map by Burmese military leaders was bound to be a failure for it was excluded the opposition and ethnic minorities.

The minister also explained the efforts by the British government to support people in need of humanitarian help in Burma.

Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague told the British parliament the need to maintain pressure on Burma.

Members of Conservative party also urged the British government to increase cross border aid for the Burmese refugees and displaced persons on the eastern border of Burma.

To listen to the report in Burmese, please follow this link:


In Disgust For the Junta, Burmese People Are United

Source: International Herald Tribune

By Burmese standards, life has been good for the three friends, buddies from the Defense Services Academy, the alma mater of many of the generals who ordered the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Myanmar last month. Two of them own factories; the third works for an airline, a coveted job in this country.

Still, when their late-afternoon chat in a Yangon office turned to Senior General Than Shwe, these veterans in their 50s could hardly conceal their loathing.

"When I was an army officer, my soldiers and I went out every day to fight Communists," said one of the men, who runs a factory in southern Myanmar. "What do they do now? They bring soldiers from the border, feed them with food, drugs and rum, and they run them like dogs, fighting their own people."

For the full report, please follow this link:


Zarganar Taken in For Questioning

Source: Democratic Information Department Blog and Myo Chit Myanmar

Comedian Zarganar was reportedly taken away by the authorities yesterday at 3pm. Myo Chit Myanmar reported that he was taken in for questioning and has since been released. This is the second arrest in the past 2 months.

Zarganar was earlier detained on the 25th of September for making alms offering to the protesting monks, and only released on the 17th of October.

Lanka MSMA Calls for Boycott of Swan Arr Shin Artistes

Source: Lanka MSMA

Lanka MSMA yesterday urged the public to boycott singers and artistes who performed in concerts organized by authorities on the 1-month anniversary of the brutal crackdown against protesters.

The post contains the list of artistes who performed at two venues, Pioneer Club, and KanDawGyi.

They are: Sai Sai Khan Hlaing, Yatha, Jamie and Ye Lay who performed at Pioneer Club, and Alex, Ringo, Phyu Phyu Kyaw Thein, Maung Maung Zaw Latt, Big Bag, Black Hole, and The Ants, who performed at KanDawKyi. Concert tickets were reportedly priced at 4500 kyats (approximately 3.50 USD).

Lanka MSMA urged the public to boycott what it called “Swan Arr Shin artistes” by refraining from distributing or buying their music.

For the original article in Burmese, please follow this link:

The information on the concerts was first published by Democratic Information Department Blog.

Two Monks from The Saffron Revolution Arrives in Bangladesh

Source: Mizzima News

After an arduous journey to escape the persecution by Junta, two Arakanese monks who participated in The Saffron Revolution have arrived at the Bangladesh Border on the 29th of October. The two are 26-year old U Eindra Pyinyar and 21-year old U Margainda. They were students of Theology at the Yarzajo Moastery in South Okkalapa, Rangoon when the Saffron Revolution started and they had participated in the marches for 5 days before junta initiated the crackdown.

[Note: Monasteries in South Okkalapa were one of the main targets of junta during the brutal crackdown.]

Mizzima interviews U Eindra Pyinyar about his experiences.

Mizzima: When did you leave Rangoon?
U Eindra Pyinyar: We left on the 11th of October. There were some security checks along the way but they let us go.

Mizzima: How did you make your way here?
U Eindra Pyinyar: We took a coach from Rangoon to TaungKote. From there, we took a smuggling boat to cross the border, with the help of a devotee.

Mizzima: Did you encounter any difficulties along the way?
U Eindra Pyinyar: There were security checks at TaungKote. During the journey, we couldn’t stay at any of the monasteries so we had to stay at inns. Police came to check a few times. The journey was more difficult than usual because of the news about protests, and the police tightened checks.

Mizzima: What role did you play in the protests?
U Eindra Pyinyar: We started marching on the 19th September. Until the 26th.

Mizzima: Were you a leader in the protests?
U Eindra Pyinyar: No, I was just a participant. But I participated almost everyday.

Mizzima: Did the authorities raid your monastery?
U Eindra Pyinyar: We heard that they were going to carry out raids. And they did make their rounds, like they were monitoring us. But by the time, they came with the military trucks, we’d gone into hiding.

Mizzima: How do you feel about the protests?
U Eindra Pyinyar: The protests should bring some changes. There have also been major losses on the part of the public. The monasteries in Rangoon are empty. Our monastery used to have 80 monks. But I doubt there’s any left. There has been much suffering and sacrifices have been made. I believe this will bring peace.

Mizzima: What plans do you have?
U Eindra Pyinyar: Living there was difficult, and we loathe the rule of the regime. So when we decided to leave, there were people who were willing to help us. We have no immediate plans yet.

Mizzima: Would you like to comment on the current situation?
U Eindra Pyinyar: A government should love (sic) its people. It should also be credible enough for the people to rely on. People will continue revolting until it acquires such qualities. We got involved in the protests because we ourselves were not getting enough alms offerings and we could feel the pain of the people. I would like to urge the monks who’re still in Burma to continue boycotting the regime. One effective way would be to stop taking the theological exams organized by the government bodies.

Mizzima also reported that the two monks are being looked after by the Opposition Force of Burma (Bangladesh).

For the original article in Burmese, please click here.

Burmese Americans Question US on Sanctions Policy

Source: Mizzima News

In a revealing letter to the US Chargé d'Affaires in Rangoon, a group of Burmese Americans have urged the United States to investigate how despite the sanctions imposed on Burmese generals, several of their family members and close associates are traveling freely to the US.

The Burmese American citizens, in a letter to the US embassy in Rangoon, with a copy to the US State Department, mentioned names of several Burma's ruling generals and their business associates including tycoon Tayza, of possessing visas or living in the US and undertaking financial transactions.

The group, which cannot be contacted, in the letter sent on October 28 said, several family members of the ruling generals and their associates are living in the US and are helping the generals transfer money for businesses through their bank accounts.

Besides, a few generals are stated to have visited the US despite a ban on travel imposed on them, said the group.

For the full report, please follow this link:

Note: Last week, Nik Nayman called for sanctions against close associates and relatives of Tay Za, in a post which featured photographs of these people and identifying each of them. They include friends and a cousin of the sons of Tayza.

Burma Conference Calls for Stronger Action

Source: Mizzima News

Participants at a Burma conference in Washington, D.C. found common ground in demanding even stronger measures and responses from the international community directed at the Burmese junta and, ultimately, a change in government inside Burma.

"Burma's Saffron Revolution: How should the world respond?" was hosted by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) on the 16th of October.

For the full report, please follow this link:

Interview with Zarganar: Movement Simmers Under Ashes

Source: Mizzima News

Mizzima interviews renowned comedian, actor and director Ko Zargana (Tweezers) who was released from detention on the 17th this month. He was arrested on September 25 in connection with offering alms to the protesting monks in their Ex-Communicative Boycott of the junta at Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon on September 24, 2007.

For the full report, please follow this link:

Monday, October 29, 2007

Suspected Helpers of Ko Htay Kywe Detained

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma

Authorities have detained the owner and workers of the rubber plantation where 88-Generation Student Leader, Ko Htay Kywe, was found.

Ko Htay Kywe was arrested on the 13th of October at a rubber plantation near Pegu, owned by a man named Ko Aung Gyi. The police team who arrested Ko Htay Kywe subsequently detained Ko Aung Gyi and his workers. The policemen are currently stationed at the rubber plantation and have sold off all the properties of Ko Aung Gyi and the neighbours are also being questioned, said a resident.

"They ask us for things like liquor and chicken. We had to give them. They sold off all the things from Ko Aung Gyi's house, rice, oil, even glass bottles."

The resident added that the family members of those detained were worried as they have not been informed of the whereabouts of the detainees.

Meanwhile, the officer of the team responsible for the arrest of Ko Htay Kywe, has reportedly received a monetary reward of 250,000 from one of the Majors, and 50,000 each from other superiors. DVB also reported that he was in line for a promotion.

For the full article in Burmese, please click here.

Missing NLD Member Found Dead

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma

A member of the National League for Democracy in Arakan who had been reported missing by his family members has been found dead, said his colleagues.

Nyi Pu Lay was member of the NLD in Taunggok township, and was an enthusiastic participant in last month's protests.

He had been in hiding from arrest for nearly 20 days before his dead body was found decomposing in a creek near the township on 19 October, according to Arakan NLD's joint-secretary U Thein Hlaing.

For the full report, please click here.

Kouchner: Sanctions Against Myanmar Should Be Coupled with Incentives

Source: Associated Press via Pravda

Sanctions against Myanmar ’s militia are not enough, France’s Foreign Minister said, adding that there must be incentives to encourage the regime to work for national reconciliation.

The European Union and the United States have pressed for expanded sanctions against Myanmar in recent weeks, after the junta arrested thousands of people following pro-democracy protests, shooting dead at least 10.

"Do we believe that (the sanctions) will be enough? No. Will it be useful? I hope so," French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said before meeting with Singaporean officials.

"But we also have to work on the political offer, and on incentives for the Burmese people to be part of." Myanmar is also known as Burma.

For the full report, please click here.

Sittwe Security Tightened After Rumors of Demonstrations

Source: Nirinjara News

Security in Sittwe has been tightened over the last week after rumors spread among the people that monks are preparing to stage demonstrations in the state capital, said a government teacher on the condition of anonymity.

"The authority had deployed many police forces in key places in Sittwe, such as Bara Gri temple and Aye Zaydi monastery, since a rumor came out that monks were preparing to stage another demonstration in Sittwe," he said.

For the full report, please click here.

Astrologer's Prediction: Military to Get a New Leader By 21st November

Source: Mizzima News

Mizzima today published an astrological prediction regarding the ongoing events in Burma. The astrologer, who calls himself Saya Gyi U Than Shwe (Maha Guru U Than Shwe), said that according to astrology, there will be a change in the leadership of the regime in late november.

According to the release, the astrologer says that the brutal crackdown is going to continue until mid november. Subsequently, however, the military is expected to turn against the regime leaders, and the regime is expected to fall, prompting a change in leadership.

Under this new leadership, Burma will be able to work towards democratic reforms and will emerge in April as a new democratic nation, he predicted.

For the original article in Burmese, please click here.

Note: Flaming Peacocks have earlier reported about predictions of a blood bath in November by Burmese astrologers. Please click here to read this report.

Taiwan to Work For Democracy in Burma

Source: Mizzima News

Taiwan will establish a task force under its representative office in Thailand to provide help to the people of Burma in their striving for democracy, according to the Taipei Times.

The Taiwanese Foreign Ministry said in a press release that one of the task force's main functions would be to observe the political situation in Burma.

Vice President Annette Lu said the decision to defend freedom and democracy in Burma has been positively received.

For the full report, please click here.

Singapore Pursues Policy, Not Regime Change

Source: Mizzima News

Singapore has reaffirmed that its priorities in Burma, in alignment with those of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), are stability and policy change, and not the ousting of the military regime.

Speaking to reporters in Tokyo following meetings with both Japanese and Chinese officials, on Saturday and Friday, respectively, Singapore's Foreign Minister, George Yeo, said he believes his country's approach to confronting the situation inside Burma is consistent with both ASEAN and United Nations initiatives.

"If nothing is done, the situation is potentially explosive, therefore we should work together to help the Myanmar people and embark on fresh approach to national reconciliation," stated Yeo on Saturday.

For the full report, please click here.

Petition to the US, UK and French Troops to Save People in Burma

Z. Z. Aung started an online petition to urge troops from the US, UK and France to move into Burma. The petition states that military troops of these nations were preferred over UN peacekeeping troops as UN was losing too much time deciding on the issue. The petition also included several reasons to justify the movement of troops into Burma, including a possible nuclear threat from junta’s collaboration with Russia and Korea. The petition has so far received about 400 signatures.

To read/sign the petition, please follow this link:

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sober times for Myanmar's comics

Source: International Herald Tribune

MANDALAY, Myanmar: Par Par Lay goes to India to seek relief for a toothache. The Indian dentist wonders why the Burmese man has come all that way to see him.

"Don't you have dentists in Myanmar?" he asks.

"Oh, yes, we do, doctor," says Par Par Lay. "But in Myanmar, we are not allowed to open our mouths."

That's a favorite joke of Par Par Lay, a third-generation practitioner of a-nyeint pwe, the traditional Burmese vaudeville featuring puppets, music and slapstick comedy tinged with in-your-face political satire - all performed in a country where cracking the wrong joke can land you in jail.

And Par Par Lay, the 60-year-old leader of the Mustache Brothers troupe, appears to be paying dearly for it.

For the full report, please click here.

Note: Flaming Peacocks on Friday posted a video interview released from CNN which features one of the Mustache Brothers. Click here for the link.

Burma Step Up Propaganda War Against 'Loudmouthed Bully' US

Source: Associated Press via International Herald Tribune

Myanmar's military government stepped up its propaganda campaign against the United States on Sunday, accusing Washington of inciting last month's pro-democracy demonstrations in a bid to install a puppet government.

"Recent protests in the country were created by the loudmouthed bully, using the exiled dissidents and traitors together with communists, internal and external anti-government destructionists," said a commentary Sunday in the Myanmar-language Myanma Ahlin (Light of Burmese People) daily.

For the full report, please click here.

Burmese Regime Officials in Moscow for Military Cooperation Talks

Source: BurmaNet News

Representative of Myanmar’s military junta, which four weeks ago brutally cracked down on pro-democracy protests led by Buddhist monks, are in Moscow for talks on cooperation with Russian security services, reports said Sunday.The week-long talks will be specifically focussed on a proposed programme to have Myanmar officers trained in Russian military facilities, news agency Interfax cited Russian Ground Forces spokesman Igor Konashenkov as saying.

For the full report, please click here.

Announcement by The Promoting Committee for National Movement in Burma

Source: Ko Htike

The Korean arm of The Promoting Committee for National Movement in Burma (PCNMB) announced that it has remitted 20,000 US dollars to the Bangkok office of All Burma Student Democratic Front (ABSDF) on the 24th of October.

In the statement, PCNMB also appealed to all Burmese to support the fight against junta by making contributions towards organising peace rallies and purchase of weapons.

For the original article in Burmese, please click here.

Air Bagan Using Smaller Planes

A passenger on Air Bagan told Flaming Peacocks that Air Bagan was now flying smaller planes for the Rangoon-Singapore route. The passenger said that she also encountered problems checking in at the Singapore Changi Airport.

"The flight was supposed to be at 4.10. But at 2 plus, there was no check-in row assigned even though flights with later departure times already had their check-in row numbers displayed. Finally, about 2.30, we approached an airport staff who told us we could check in at Row 8."

The passenger was not sure if the delay was due to Air Bagan shutting down its international routes in a week's time. She also told FP that her travel agent in Burma called her home in Rangoon to tell her about the air line ceasing its operations from November 5th onwards for international flights.

"My agent said I should contact the local office, and they'll help me arrange for a seat with other airlines."

She also added that the plane's departure was delayed due to the heavy rain which started just before take-off.

"The plane is very small. There're only 5 seats in each row, about 100 seats in total. So we were delayed for a long time. I think they didn't dare to fly in such bad weather. We were just sitting in the plane, waiting for take-off. There was also a lot of turbulence during the flight."

She also told FP that contrary to rumours that immigration staff at Rangoon airport were checking on people returning home, she did not encounter any problems at all. Earlier, there has been reports that airport officials were checking people returning against photographs of people involved in overseas protests.

Interview with U Tayzabawtha, a Former Detainee

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma

Monks who have been released from detention told DVB that junta's disrespect and cruel treatment of sangha was beyond forgiveness. They added that the Ministry of Religious Affairs was committing yet another sin by telling fabricated lies (to excuse their actions) to the Sangha Council. These monks also felt that the monks of the Council are at fault for not seeing through the junta, and accepting their lies.

In the next few weeks, DVB will be conducting interviews with monks who have been released, and will be broadcasting them. In today's article, DVB interviewed U Tayzabawtha from Pegu. U Tayzabawtha was arrested on 26th of September and was only released Thursday.

DVB: How did you get started in the protests?
U Tayzabawtha: We heard about Pakokku. So we went over there to check out the situation; three monks were tied down, beaten and arrested. We came back and sent a request to junta asking for lower petrol and diesel prices. We told them that if the transport fees go up, commodity prices will go up, and asked them to do something about it. But they didn't back down. So we went out on the streets on the 18th. After that, we took a break. During that period, we sent the request again but no response came. So from 24th to 26th, I organised some rallies. On the 26th, I was arrested in front of Sule Pagoda."

DVB: How did they try to defrock you?
U Tayzabawtha: It was at the racecourse. They brought some monks from the Sangha Council. But I told them they cannot defrock me without my will so they left. Later though, I was forced to change into civilian clothes by the Ministry of Religious Affairs. The police stood by with sticks. I had no choice. But I still comported myself as a sangha. I also did not eat anything they (riot police) gave me.. the whole month. I was on hunger strike against them. Occasionally, the prison officers offered me some food during interrogation, such as porridge or instant noodles, and I took it.

DVB: Did they assault you verbally or physically?
U Tayzabawtha: Not me but some of the other monks were assaulted. They beat them up. Not the guys interrogating, but the ones who arrested us.

DVB: Were you handcuffed or foot-chained?
U Tayzabawtha: Yes, we were handcuffed behind our backs, and our feet were also chained. From GTI, we were transferred to Palae. We were allowed to sleep after we reached there. The conditions were very bad. The place was buzzing with mosquitoes, and there were no blankets.

DVB: Could you tell us what you witnessed regarding the treatment of the monks?
U Tayzabawtha: They beat the monks. They always had their sticks at the ready. At GTI, at the Racecourse, and the Unit 8 Camp. They are inhuman. They have no compassion whatsoever.

For the original article in Burmese, please click here.

Soldiers Actively Involved in Brutal Crackdown Defect

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma

DVB reported Saturday that some soldiers who played an active role in the bloody crackdown against the monks have been psychologically affected by their own actions, resulting in defections and suicides.

One of those severely effected was a soldier from Riot Police Unit 6, which was stationed at KaMarYut Township, Rangoon. On the 16th of October at 9pm, he threw himself into Inya Lake and committed suicide, said sources. He was said to have been involved in the crackdown at ShweDagon on the 26th of September and regretted his actions.

In Mandalay, some soldiers in platoons assigned to crush protests have defected as they loathed to carry out such orders against monks and the public. These soldier were stationed at the Indoor Stadium and the prison offices.

For the original article in Burmese, please click here.

Burmese Desperate for Health Care

Source: Associated Press

They travel for days though checkpoints, across dangerous roads and past Myanmar's bribe-hungry soldiers to make it to the Thai border. They're not refugees fleeing the junta - they simply want to see a doctor.

Myanmar has one of the world's worst health care systems, with tens of thousands dying each year from malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS, dysentery, diarrhea and a litany of other illnesses.

While there are hospitals in the impoverished Southeast Asian nation also known as Burma, only a few can afford to pay hospital workers the various "fees" in the tightly controlled nation fueled by corruption.

"Even if you use the toilet in the hospital you have to pay money," said a 70-year-old man from Phyu Township, who journeyed two days by bus to see a doctor at the Thai border town of Mae Sot and have a cataract removed. He declined to give his name for fear of reprisals.

"They never think of improving health care," he said. "They only pull the trigger. Because they are holding the guns, we have to live like this."

For the full story, please click here.

Myanmar's monks, veterans of 1988 democracy uprising united by goal of ousting junta

Source: AsiaOne News

It fell to Buddhist monks, normally nonpolitical advocates of loving kindness, to lead Myanmar's recent uprising, taking over from veteran activists who had secretly organized and planned to confront the ruling military.

"We had to stand up and lead," said U Kovida, a young monk who was a key protest organizer and fled to Thailand recently, joining members of a generation bloodied as young students in Myanmar's 1988 pro-democracy uprising.

The "88 Generation" decided this summer that the time had come to again take on their country's junta.

The uprising, which persisted for several weeks before being brutally put down by the military late last month, was portrayed at first as a protest against a government hike in fuel prices.

In fact, protest leaders say, the marches were orchestrated by longtime activist groups that feared progress in the government's so-called "road to democracy" would cement the military's power for generations more.

"The army was preparing to rule the country for a long time, through the lives of our sons and grandsons. We knew we had to act," said Hlaing Moe Than, 37, a 1988 protest leader who spent eight years in prison, where he says he was tortured.

Hlaing Moe Than is among a handful of leaders who, along with associates, have emerged recently on the Thai side of the 1,800-kilometer (1,100-mile) border with Myanmar. They fled their homeland during the recent government crackdown, often making harrowing escapes.

Though welcoming pressure on the junta from the United Nations, the United States and others, the protest leaders say they cannot count on the outside world to end the military rule that began in 1962 in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

"The struggle will have to be won from inside, but we need favorable international conditions," Hlaing Moe Than said.

For the full story, please click here.

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