“They Come At Night And Murder The Monks”

It’s this simple:

It is 9.15 p.m. on Tuesday evening in Yangon, the time of day when the stranglehold of fear settles across the city. The first heavily armed soldiers take position outside the few restaurants that still serve foreigners. Curfew starts at 10 p.m. After that, anyone who is still out on the streets is risking their lives.

The foreigners can’t find a car to take them from the restaurant. Someone goes out to find some sort of transport. Outside, a young man in shabby clothes emerges from the shadows to speak to the foreigners.

“The repression is continuing every night. When there are no more witnesses, they drive through the suburbs at night and kill the people.”

He wants to get his story out, and he does so quickly. If he’s caught, he’ll be imprisoned or killed. He’s from South Okalapa, a huge, terribly poor suburb. Most of the rebel monks were from there. The military junta crushed the rebellion in the city, then went to the source.

Around midnight, the military rolled into town. There’s a special unit of gangsters and ex-cons- for special purposes.

They surrounded a monastery on Weiza Yandar Street. All the roughly 200 monks living there were forced to stand in a row and the security forces beat their heads against a brick wall. When they were all covered in blood and lay moaning on the ground, they were thrown into a truck and taken away. “We are crying for our monks,” said the man, and then he was gone.

The huge monastery in the city is empty and quiet. Several thousand monks are gone. Disappeared.

“We are assuming that the number of victims among the monks and protesters last week goes well into the hundreds,” says one diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Some 800 monks are captive at the infamous Insein Prison. They have no contact with the world.

(I)f the authorities don’t provide international organizations with access to the camps soon, it will be a matter of time before there are further deaths.

The British ambassador hopes condemnation from ASEAN will help. He hopes U.N. efforts will help. He hopes the Chinese will help.

The article in Spiegel Online ends with these chilling words:

Editor’s Note: For security reasons we are not naming our correspondents in Burma.

The blogosphere is frequently full of cries about the creeping fascism of the Bush Administration. There are claims that we are all in imminent danger. There are comparisons to the world’s most brutal regimes. The Bush Administration is a viper’s den of war criminals, imperialists, and End Times theocrats.

You want to talk fascism?

This is fascism- from the New York Times:

Embarrassed by smuggled video and photographs that showed their people rising up against them, the generals who run Myanmar simply switched off the Internet.

Until Friday television screens and newspapers abroad were flooded with scenes of tens of thousands of red-robed monks in the streets and of chaos and violence as the junta stamped out the biggest popular uprising there in two decades.

But then the images, text messages and postings stopped, shut down by generals who belatedly grasped the power of the Internet to jeopardize their crackdown.

“Finally they realized that this was their biggest enemy, and they took it down,” said Aung Zaw, editor of an exile magazine based in Thailand called The Irrawaddy, whose Web site has been a leading source of information in recent weeks.

You want to talk fascism?

They are murdering Buddhist monks by the hundreds.

You want to talk fascism?

In 1990, Aung San Suu Kyi was rightfully elected Prime Minister. She has lived under house arrest, off and on, ever since. Even when not under house arrest, she has been told that if she leaves the country to join her family in Britian, she will never be allowed to return to Burma.

You want to talk heroism?

She has remained in Burma, under house arrest, freed without freedom, and back under house arrest. She remains separated from her family. Her cause is too important.

When her British husband was dying of cancer, he was not allowed to visit her. He died without ever again seeing her.

When she won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, her son had to deliver her acceptance speech:

Although my mother is often described as a political dissident who strives by peaceful means for democratic change, we should remember that her quest is basically spiritual. As she has said, “The quintessential revolution is that of the spirit”, and she has written of the “essential spiritual aims” of the struggle. The realisation of this depends solely on human responsibility. At the root of that responsibility lies, and I quote, “the concept of perfection, the urge to achieve it, the intelligence to find a path towards it, and the will to follow that path if not to the end, at least the distance needed to rise above individual limitation… “. “To live the full life,” she says, “one must have the courage to bear the responsibility of the needs of others … one must want to bear this responsibility.” And she links this firmly to her faith when she writes, “…Buddhism, the foundation of traditional Burmese culture, places the greatest value on man, who alone of all beings can achieve the supreme state of Buddhahood. Each man has in him the potential to realize the truth through his own will and endeavour and to help others to realize it.” Finally she says, “The quest for democracy in Burma is the struggle of a people to live whole, meaningful lives as free and equal members of the world community. It is part of the unceasing human endeavour to prove that the spirit of man can transcends the flaws of his nature.”

Aung San Suu Kyi is one of the world’s great heroes. The Burmese have been suffering far too much for far too long. It’s time for the world to stand as one and demand Burmese freedom. It’s time for the world to stand as one and demand that the Burmese be allowed to have the leader they chose- the leader they deserve.

The time has come for Aung San Suu Kyi!


Skip to comment form

    • pico on October 5, 2007 at 00:11

    I wouldn’t call what’s happening in Burma fascism, by a long shot.  They’re not hypernationalists or anti-communist corporatists; they’re a brutal military junta. But otherwise, like I said, powerful essay.

  1. after Hurricane Fran landed in North Carolina in 1996. The curfew lasted for days.

    We drank bottled water and had no power for days. Everything in the fridge and freezer spoiled. After the canned tuna and crackers diet, we decided to go out for the evening to a restaurant.

    Some had power and we wanted something good to eat. So, we loaded-up in a care that would not run in the rain and set off for town. Before we got to far, we ran into a police roadblock. Nothing large, just three cop cars with barricades across the roadway.

    The police waved us over (no place to go) and asked us why we were out past curfew. Of course, clueless, we didn’t know there even was a curfew. They ordered us to turn around and go home. We did. We had another night of tuna and crackers.

    No one rounded us up during the night. No one tried to kill us. I find difficult to imagine the horror of going home each night for people of Burma.

    It’s about a quarter to 5 o’clock in the morning in Rangoon. Who didn’t live through the night. Will the world ever know?

    What fresh horror does tonight bring?

    • oculus on October 5, 2007 at 01:23

    While in the West, Buddhism is often seen as exotic and progressive, in the East, Buddhism is regarded as familiar and part of the establishment. Buddhists in Asia are frequently well organised and well funded. In a number of countries, it is recognised as an official religion and receives state support.

    Here’s what I’m wondering about:  is their any top down organization in Buddhism? 

  2. People are going to have different legitimate views of what fascism is, but to me, any authoritarian military regime is inherently fascist. 

  3. thank you for your work.

    • Twank on October 5, 2007 at 15:08

    That’s right, American, reading these golden words that flow from my fertile coffee encrusted brain to you.  See that “FUN” in Iraq and Myanmar … well, that show is coming to YOUR home town in the VERY near future.  Think that YOU are immune because you are an “American citizen”?  Sorry, that free pass won’t work anymore. 

    Prepare to bend over to Cheney and his crowd.  And you heard it here first!

Comments have been disabled.