Richard Fernandez at PJM takes a closer look at the efforts of peaceful protesters in Myanmar to overthrow Burma’s military government and comparisons to the “People Power” revolution in the Philippines in 1986:
The situation hangs on a knife’s edge; the next few days will show which way things will break. But one can only hope that a combination of the Burmese “People’s Power”, Western pressure and Chinese non-intervention can jointly engineer a Buddhist miracle in 2007 to match that ascribed to the Virgin Mary in the Philippines in 1986. “The old order changeth, yielding place to new, And God fulfills Himself in many ways, Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.”
…In “People’s Power” situations it is the psychological momentum which counts the most. The Burmese junta looks to be timing its counterstrokes to first slow, then break the will of the resistants. Unless some dramatic defection or collapse provides fresh impetus to the protesters, the process of peaceful protest will either be smothered or risk transformation into violent confrontation.
Latest news from the front is that 17 monks have been beaten and one reportedly shot dead outside Rangoon’s holiest shrine, the Shwedagon Pagoda:
Anti-government protesters turned out again today to march in their thousands in defiance of a ban on public gatherings.
Burma troops fire shots and tear gas at monks But crowds outside Rangoon’s holiest shrine, the Shwedagon Pagoda, were left severely bloodied after they were beaten by troops wielding batons. Witnesses said at least 17 monks were injured in the beatings, while hundreds of people were arrested and dragged onto waiting trucks.
A radio station run by the protest movement reported that one monk had been killed. A crowd of around 700 protesters, many of who were wearing masks or wet towels to protect against tear gas, was confronted by troops near the pagoda.
Warning shots were fired at around one hundred monks who refused to be chased away and tried to hold their positions near the eastern gate of the vast pagoda complex. Several thousand demonstrators later regrouped to march to the city’s Sule Pagoda, with the monks in the middle and members of the public on either side.
Gordon Brown has called for a UN Security Council meeting on what are the biggest anti-government protests in 20 years.
“The whole world is now watching Burma,” he said.
Bloggers are watching, too.
The Age profiles Burmese bloggers bringing the truth to the world:
Savvy young bloggers in Burma are breaking through the military junta’s tight internet controls to post photos and videos of swelling anti-government protests.
The government blocks almost every website that carries news or information about the South-East Asian country, and even bars access to web-based email.
But an army of young techies in Rangoon works around the clock to circumvent the censors, posting pictures and videos on blogs almost as soon as the protests happen.
Many of these images have been picked up by mainstream news organisations because bloggers have managed to capture images that no one else can get.
Aung Zaw, editor of Irrawaddy, a news magazine for expatriate Burmese living in Thailand told The Age bloggers and underground journalists in Burma were risking arrest in communicating with the outside world.
He said Irrawaddy had several reporters in Burma who used the internet, email and mobile phones to send stories and images to their colleagues in Thailand.
Ko Htike blogs from the protest scene and has first-hand photos:
The Burmese blog Justice and Injustice also has photos and up-to-date reports and a live chatbox.
And soneseeyar is also photo-blogging with fresh pics from this morning’s protests:
Gateway Pundit has a breaking news round-up with photos.
Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés weighs in on “An Insane Regime Dedicated to Beating Up The Sane.”