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.