Thursday, February 21

Christian Science Monitor continues to monitor situation in Burma.

"We are ready for compromise," insists Mr. Han Than. "We are not at war with the government. All we want is to express our opinion – but even that we are not allowed." Under international pressure, the junta recently agreed to send an envoy to hold talks with Suu Kyi, but these have been going nowhere. Last month she sent word to her party that no progress has been made.

And so, reluctantly, most Burmese are left with faith in the long term. "We have no faith in these passing pronouncements," says the head of a monastery in the ancient town of Sagaing, who spoke anonymously for security reasons. "In any case, if we got democracy today we would lose it the next day because we would not know what to do with it.... We have been 'de-educated.' "

Although Burma used to be famous in Southeast Asia for its quality education, today the situation is abysmal as half of its budget goes to the 400,000-strong military and less than 1 percent to education. According to the UN, 50 percent of children here do not finish primary school.

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