In a brief announcement, the Burmese military junta confirmed it still retained in prison 468 of the 2,927 who were arrested for protesting against their nation’s dictatorship. Among those being held are monks who led the protest that was crushed by police and military units. Experts were intrigued the announcement did not also contain typical anti-western rhetoric which blames any troubles in Myanmar on outside “elements.” Three members of the 88 generation(in 1988, the military junta crushed a student led protest and killed hundreds) sent a letter to UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon which said: “Thousands of protestors including monks and students, continue to suffer ill treatment and severe torture in detention centres and some have passed away in captivity.” They concluded their letter with the following comment: “this may be the last letter we send you before our arrest and torture.”
There is nothing anyone can add to the last line of the letter. Perhaps, next year a Nobel Peace prize can be awarded to all those who marched in protest against the brutality of the Burmese military junta.
Posted in Asia, Human Rights, Military, Peace, Politics, Religion, World News
Tagged Military junta, Monks, Myanmar, protests, Students
Leaders of Singapore’s opposition parties rallied in front of the prime minister’s office in protest against their nation’s failure to take decisive action against the Burmese military junta’s brutal crackdown on monks and protestors. They were led by Chee Soon Juan, a noted critic, who has been in and out of jail for his vocal public comments about the Singapore government. The group had planned a 24 hour protest and wanted to submit a petition to the government which stated: “We demand that the government open its books of the Government Investment Corporation and Temasek to the people starting with its investments in Burma.” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong did criticize the Burmese junta, but made clear that Singapore intended to maintain its investments and diplomatic relations.
The Burmese military leaders are aware that Singapore, China and India want to invest within their nation seeking access to its natural resources, particularly oil. The world can condemn the military junta, but as long as nations like Singapore maintain relations and continue investing in Myanmar, there is no need to alter policies. In fact, the military thugs probably don’t even mind a few negative words from the prime minister of Singapore because they understand it’s for show and tell to prove to the world it cares. There is a cynicism among many Asian leaders which results in abasement of rights in Myanmar.
Alan Brown, correspondent for the London Telegraph made contact with a monk who had been jailed and beaten in Rangoon. According to the monk (his name can not be revealed) ‘Day and night, we had to sit on crowded rows with our heads bowed down. If we spoke, looked up or fell asleep, we would be hit. We weren’t allowed to move at all, not even to go to the lavatory– we had to just do it where we were sitting. Once in the morning and once in the afternoon, the guards would come and give us water, but it would be only one or two bottles for 50 people or more.” No medical treatment was provided the wounded. He said some monk who backed the government came and asked the monks to exchange their filthy clothes for new ones, but they refused on grounds they intended to be as they were when entering the prison. Burmese authorities admit to imprisoning 3000, and claim all but 109 have been released, but no one believes their version. The monk who underwent this brutality was finally released and told to leave the area.It is so shocking that members of the military could submit their own clergy to such brutal treatment. One can only wonder if among soldiers inflicting beatings, some are wondering how their behavior can be justified.