Tag Archives: monasteries

All Quiet On The Burmese Front

An ominous quiet reigns in Rangoon after the beatings and killings of last week. Truckloads of troops drive around carefully examining people for any sign of disobedience. Streets are being cleaned in anticipation of the arrival of UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari who undoubtedly will be told there were only minor disturbances. The New Light, official newspaper of the military junta, published pictures of young boys and girls who were arrested for owning “catapults”(sling shots) which apparently were the weapons used to viciously attacked soldiers armed with rifles, machine guns, etc… It is now a crime to possess a sling shot. The oslo based Democratic Voice of Burma claims at least 4 monks died while being held in detention centers. The military junta has ordered that monks should be sent back to provinces and made it an illegal action for a monastery to allow a non-monk to spend the night. It is a Burmese tradition that strangers can always find refuge for the evening in a monastery.

In 1988, the military junta killed at least 3,000 people who protested — many of whom were students. Last week’s figures are unclear but the death figure may well exceed a hundred. Every time the UN Security Council attempts to take action against Burma’s rulers, Russia and China block action.

Myanmar Troops Occupy Buddhist Monasteries

Myanmar troops swept into Buddhist monasteries, sealed off areas by locking gates, and placing barbed wire around many religious centers in their efforts to halt further protests against the military junta which controls Burma. There are reports at least ten people are dead although exiled Burmese believe the figure might be much higher. Southeastern Asian diplomats have urged the Burmese military to compromise and avoid bloodshed, but their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Asian observors witnessed hundreds of people beaten with batons, herded onto trucks and arrested where they most probably face further beating and torture in prisons.

Southeast Asian diplomats expect that once the monks are contained in the monasteries, the military junta will turn its attention toward protestors who were shouting, “give us freedom.” Unfortunately, in the absence of pressure or actions from the outside world, those who shouted will face brutality and torture.