Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Burma - The Fight Against Dictatorship

I have been a little slow on the current situation in Burma, but RickB has a series of posts with the latest. And Avaaz have released the following:

Dear friends,

After decades of brutal dictatorship, the people of Burma are rising--and they need our help.

Clicking below will add your name to this petition to Chinese Premier Hu Jintao and the UN Security Council:


"We stand alongside the citizens of Burma in their peaceful protests. We urge you to oppose a violent crackdown on the demonstrators, and to support genuine reconciliation and democracy in Burma. We pledge to hold you accountable for any further bloodshed."

Click Here to Sign Now

Today over 100,000 people are on the streets of Rangoon, more around the country. When protesters last marched in 1988, the military massacred thousands.

But this time it can be different--if only the world stands with the marchers. The United Nations summit starts today in New York. Let's raise an emergency global campaign, demanding they press the Burmese generals to negotiate rather than crush the demonstrators. We'll deliver it to Security Council members--particularly China's Hu Jintao, until now the military junta's protector--and to media at the UN this week. Sign our emergency petition supporting the peaceful protests in Burma--click here, then spread the word:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/stand_with_burma/f.php?cl=20234942&signup=1

For decades the Burmese dictatorship fought off pressure--imprisoning elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and democracy activists, wiping out thousands of villages in the provinces, bringing miseries from forced labour to refugee camps. One-third of children under 5 now suffer malnutrition; millions are down to one meal a day.

But last Tuesday Buddhist monks and nuns, overwhelmingly respected in Burma, began marching and chanting prayers. The protests spread--now they're growing by tens of thousands every day, as ordinary people, even celebrities and comedians join in. They've broken the chains of fear and given hope to 52 million Burmese.

However, this hope is hanging by a thread. While hesitating to attack the respected monks, the regime is reported to be organising violence. Demonstrators have already been beaten, shots have been fired.

This is one of those moments where the world can make the difference: standing shoulder to shoulder with the Burmese people, helping to shine a dissolving light on tyranny. Let's call on powers at the UN--in particular, China (next year's Olympics host)--to warn the generals that violence will have the gravest consequences, and the time has come for change.

People power is rising through the streets of Burma today. Let the demonstrators know the world is with them. Click here to sign the petition, then tell everyone you know:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/stand_with_burma/f.php?cl=20234942&signup=1

In hope,

Paul, Pascal, Graziela, Ricken and the whole Avaaz team

PS: The government has just threatened the monks--here's an Associated Press article:
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iy-MfhLN9Q7MwtQ1VlrvexLjr2dA

And we've just heard this from the international Burma Campaign: the military has reportedly ordered a battalion of soldiers to shave their heads, pose as monks and operate as agents provocateurs. This might be the first first step towards a bloody crackdown. See
http://www.uscampaignforburma.org/ for more background.