Saturday, September 29

BBC Reports Saturday PM

"Information is patchy as mobile phones and internet access have been interrupted. But the BBC has learnt that there have also been at least three protests elsewhere in Burma, in Mandalay, Sittwe and Pakoku. "

US Looking For More Persuasive Approaches

"The administration seems to regard the violent crackdown on Burmese monks as a long-hoped-for opportunity to get other Southeast Asian nations to rethink their insistence that they should not interfere with the internal politics of their neighbors. The hope is that American pressure might force the Burmese leaders into a political process that would drive them from power, if not from the country.

"Voice of America and Radio Free Asia doubled their broadcasting into the country in Burmese to five hours a day."

Meanwhile, as Christians we believe we have immediate recourse to Providence. We should not simply "let events follow their own course," but understand that God directs all things to his glory. So, for our part, Christians should be asking God to spare the innocent and overthrow the oppressor, (Psalm 72:4) "He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor" and "Thus saith the LORD; Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place" (Jeremiah 22:3).

I have been to Myanmar ten times since 2000. It is a land of beauty, peace, and wealth if it were not for the oppressors who have lost all moral authority as the right government of that land. The people of Myanmar voted overwhelmingly to oust Ne Win and his cronies in 1990. The dictator has changed, but the SPDC continues its oppressive ways.

The government of the US should be demanding the immediate release of Suu Kyi together with all the monks and others who have been arrested for nothing more than expressing their opinions.

What can we do in addition to prayers? We can work with the NGOs that will pledge to work with the Myanmar people without enriching the generals or their families. We can put pressure on China, which is the major trading partner of the illegitimate junta that is presently ruling without moral authority.

When the USSR invaded Afghanistan in 1979, then president Carter cancelled US participation in the Moscow summer olympics. President Bush should consider such an action against Beijing if they continue unwilling to pressure the generals.


Wednesday, September 26

Robert Novak's Take on the Situation in Burma

"U.S. sanctions against Myanmar (the former Burma) reflect deep concern at the State Department about an upheaval in the China-aligned dictatorship along the lines of the 1956 Budapest uprising. The prospect is that the U.S. will do no more for freedom in this little Asian country than it did for Hungary a half century ago."
A First-Hand Report Received Second-Hand

Monday, September 24, 2007

The situation in Yangon becomes worse. Yesterday the local council told me to stop our church. Fortunately, they didn't come because of some reasons.

But they checked many churches and Bible Schools. T____ went to the other area and led the worship service. My family and some members did worship at the candle house. We sang hymns lowly. Every day and night the security goes around the wards and towns.

The Buddhist monks continued doing demonstration every day. In spite of the political situation it was heavily raining every day and so we didn't get out from home for five days. The Buddhist Association of Myanmar announced that today at noon the monks will lead demonstrations in every town and the community will follow them. When they did a demonstration many women hold their hands one another and guarded the monks from disturbance by the military force. All the Buddhist monks from Hlaingthayar already went to downtown to perform
demonstration today.

[Note -- Hlaingthaya is the township where I stay when in Yangon. RB]

However, we had our Bible study safely last Saturday. At that time the local council members were rounding the ward and went the road beside our house but they didn't come into the house. We pray every day for the freedom of Christian ministry. Some stores are closed and many people remained at home waiting for any change. Prices of food stuff increased and many people are in trouble. The inland transportation is not going normally. People are afraid of violence. Please pray for the Myanmar people.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The situation of Yangon is worse. Not only the Buddhist monks but many people involved in the demonstration. Demonstrations is performed at many places in Yangon every day. Military intelligence and spy are patrolling and investigating the movement of the people in city and in many towns every day and night. There are also many demonstrations done in other parts of Myanmar. Almost all Internet and telephone lines are closed.

Yesterday it was closed in the afternoon and I don't know if my Email can reach you or not. THE GOVERNMENT TRIES TO BLOCK FOREIGN COMMUNICATIONS AS POSSIBLE AS THEY COULD. Not only foreign but also inland communications are blocked in most parts. We can not make phone calls as before. Some are arrested every day. So public gathering is strictly prohibited. We don't dare to get out because the government will suspect us to be organizing people. But company workers and Government servants are doing their work every day, but some work only for half day. Since the demonstrations became increased we don't know what will be our near future. Many shops are closed. The prices of food stuff increased. Churches and Bible Schools and orphanage centers, and children home etc are still being on checked.

Today we will see if there is any strong demonstration or not. The government also is ready to do against the demonstrators. Thank you for all your concern, care and helps in the name of the Lord. The good God will open ways for us to serve Him freely.

In His Service,
Pastor [Name Withheld]

Monday, September 24

Protests Reach 100,000 Mark

As many as 100,000 anti-government protesters led by a phalanx of Buddhist monks marched Monday through Yangon, the largest crowd to demonstrate in Myanmar's biggest city since a 1988 pro-democracy uprising that was brutally crushed by the military.

From the front of the march, witnesses could see a one-mile stretch of eight-lane road was filled with people.

Some participants said there were several hundred thousand marchers in their ranks, but an international aid agency official with employees monitoring the crowd estimated said the size was well over 50,000 and approaching 100,000.

It was the latest in a series of protests that began Aug. 19 as a movement against economic hardship in the Southeast Asian country after the government sharply raised fuel prices. But arrests and intimidation kept demonstrations small and scattered until the monks entered the fray.

The usually iron-fisted junta has so far kept minimal security at the protests, and diplomats and analysts said Myanmar's military rulers were showing the unexpected restraint because of pressure from the country's key trading partner and diplomatic ally, China.

The march kicked off, like the previous ones, at the Shwedagon pagoda, a historical center for political movements as well as the country's most sacred religious shrine. Some 20,000 monks took the lead, with onlookers joining in on what had been billed as a day of general protest.

In the central city of Mandalay, meanwhile, 500 to 600 monks set off shortly after noon on their own protest march.

The monks, who took over a faltering protest movement from political activists, already had managed to bring people into the streets in numbers not seen since the 1988 pro-democracy uprising snuffed out by the army at a cost of thousands of lives.

On Sunday, about 20,000 people including thousands of monks filled the streets in Yangon, stepping up their confrontation with authorities by chanting support for detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The increasingly confrontational tone of the anti-government protesters has raised both expectations of possible political change and fear that the military might forcefully stamp out the demonstrations, as it did in 1988.

A Southeast Asian diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity as a matter of protocol, said the regime is under pressure from China to avoid a crackdown just as its larger neighbor has pressured it to speed up other democratic changes.

"The Myanmar government is tolerating the protesters and not taking any action against the monks because of pressure from China," the diplomat told The Associated Press. "Beijing is to host the next summer's Olympic Games. Everyone knows that China is the major supporter of the junta so if government takes any action it will affect the image of China."

China, which is counting on Myanmar's vast oil and gas reserves to help fuel its booming economy, earlier this year blocked a U.N. Security Council criticizing Myanmar's rights record saying it was not the right forum.

But at the same time, it has employed quiet diplomacy and subtle public pressure on the regime, urging it to move toward inclusive democracy and speed up the process of dialogue and reform.

Josef Silverstein, a political scientist and author of several books on Myanmar, said it would not be in China's interest to have civil unrest in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

"China is very eager to have a peaceful Burma in order to complete roads and railroads, to develop mines and finish assimilating the country under its economic control," Silverstein said.

The movement seemed to gain momentum Saturday, when more than 500 monks and sympathizers went past barricades to walk to the house where Suu Kyi is under house arrest. She greeted them from her gate in her first public appearance in more than four years. But access to her home was barred Sunday.

The meeting symbolically linked the current protests to Nobel laureate's Suu Kyi's struggle for democracy, which has seen her detained for about 12 of the last 18 years.