I wrote in our church bulletin last Sunday about the situation in Burma. We need to pray for Burma as the Buddhist monks initiated protests in Rangoon and other cities. The number of protesters is growing each day. And because most of my co-workers are from Burma, I’m hearing a lot of humors. The Burmese security forces started firing directly on the protesting monks and demonstrators. My friend told me that the government means business and that they are ready to kill to stop any revolution. I don’t that the revolution that happened in the Philippines in 1986 will also happen here. The Philippine revolution against the Marcos regime was successful because the military turned their back against the government and joined the people’s movement. Here I don’t see that happening, at least not yet.
The Bush administration issued statements about the situation in Burma. According to Irrawaddy, Burma’s leading authoritative news paper, Bush announced “three major measures against the military regime. First, he said, the US will tighten economic sanctions on the leaders of the regime and their financial backers. Secondly the US will impose an expanded visa ban on those responsible for the most egregious violations of human rights, as well as their family members. Thirdly, the US will facilitate the efforts of humanitarian groups working to alleviate suffering in Burma.” But one wonders, is that what America can do for a country who have been suffering from an oppressive military regime for more than twenty years? The international community has been enraged with what happened to Burma as it has been suffering under the military regime who rules the country with tyranny and violence. People suffer from hunger and disease, illiteracy and ignorance, poverty and despair.
I received an email imploring me to join the protests. The email expresses something that is so true and I have been witnessing everyday as I worked with Myanmar people from different ethnic groups. Here is the content of the email.
Burma is ruled by one of the most brutal military dictatorships in the world. For decades the Burmese regime has 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.
But last Tuesday Buddhist monks and nuns, revered 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.
Peaceful protesters numbered 20,000 on Saturday, 30,000 on Sunday, 100,000 today. This week, they could win a new life for their country. In the past, Burma's military rulers have massacred the demonstrators and crushed democracy. This time it can be different—but only if the world stands with the Burmese.
Global leaders are gathering now in New York for the annual United Nations summit. In speeches and press interviews, we need them to show Burma's military junta how grave the consequences will be if they crush the protesters with violence this time. Click below urgently to sign the emergency petition supporting the peaceful protests in Burma, it’ll be delivered to UN Security Council members and the UN press corps all week.
If you want to join the peaceful protests and be counted in please click here.
At this point, I still do not know how Myanmar Christians are being involved in the protests. But we are one in our desire and aspirations for a peaceful change in Burma.
The picture is from Avaaz.org-Stand with Burmese Protesters