Myanmar activists on the run (video)

Dandelion Salad


Pro-democracy activists in Myanmar live in fear for their lives after anti-government demonstrations in September were crushed by the country’s military rulers.

Al Jazeera looks at the plight of the activists, many constantly on the move to avoid arrest. (less)
Added: November 06, 2007

We Are Compassionate, Why Are You Killing Us? by Paul Levy

Goodbye, Ruby Tue – and Wed – and Every Day Until the Burmese Generals Bow Out by Glitzqueen (aka The Other Katherine Harris)

Fresh protest by monks in Myanmar

We Are Compassionate, Why Are You Killing Us? by Paul Levy

Dandelion Salad

by Paul Levy

When I first started studying Buddhism over twenty-five years ago, I deeply connected with a number of Buddhist monks from Burma. They were of the “Therevadan” tradition, which is the “way of the elders,” the most ancient Buddhist lineage. They were “forest monks” who lived in the forest and followed as completely as possible the way of the Buddha. They only ate one meal each day by noon and they only ate what was offered to them. The only possessions they owned were a robe and a begging bowl. They could literally sit in meditation all day, moment by moment just watching their mind. They didn’t sleep lying down but sat up all night in meditation position. They were some of the most amazing and kind human beings I have ever encountered. These Buddhist monks were “awake” in a way I had never experienced before. They seemed totally unselfconscious, very happy, and incredibly joyful. It seemed like all they wanted to do was to help people. Simply being in their presence was literally mind-blowing. It was as if they were all connected through the heart with each other, as if they existed in a higher, more expansive, and freer dimension of our being. I had never before experienced being around other human beings who had a palpable spiritual vibration that was effortlessly radiating through their hearts. These Burmese Buddhist monks were tapped into and embodying nothing other than love. It was one of the most profound blessings of my life to have spent some time with these monks. It felt like they were teaching me in everything they did: the way they walked, the way they ate, the way they did anything.

What is currently happening in Burma is a crystallization of a collective psychosis that is ravaging our planet. This psychic epidemic, what I call “malignant egophrenia” (please see my article Diagnosis: Psychic Epidemic) pervades the entire field of consciousness, which is to say it is not localized in one place or limited in time, in that it exists everywhere in potential at any moment. What is happening in Burma is a localized, acute outbreak of a nonlocal, virulent, pathogen that has infected the global body politic. The situation in Burma is an out-picturing on the world stage of a deeper, archetypal process that exists enfolded within the collective unconscious of our species. What is being played out in Burma is a living “symbol” of a deeper, mythic process which is currently en-acting itself in a variety of scenarios around the world. Being a timeless, archetypal process that has materialized into our time-bound reality, it can be recognized to be an amplified version of what can happen or what actually is currently happening in the U. S., as our country becomes more and more a military, police state, which oppresses the freedom of its citizenry.

What is happening in Burma is the latest manifestation of the underlying psychic epidemic into which our species has fallen prey, simultaneously revealing the collective psychosis in bold relief for all who have eyes to see. Something is being revealed to us through what is materializing in Burma: the underlying world process, which is also incarnating itself in the Middle East, in the U. S. and all over the world, is crystallizing itself into a fully clarified symbol. The situation in Burma is only the latest iteration of an archetypal process that has played itself out throughout human history.

On the one hand are the Buddhist monks, who are truly revered by the people of Burma, and who genuinely represent the will of the people. The monks are devout followers of the Buddha, “the awakened one,” who taught that “Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love, this is the eternal rule.” The monks are holding up signs saying things like “Stop Violence” and “We are compassionate. Why are you killing us?” What clearer expression do we need to reflect the insanity that pervades our planet? As if actors in a cosmic play, the Buddhist monks are re-presenting the role of loving-kindness, of compassion. They are even carrying a victory banner which reads, “Love and kindness must win over everything.” While nonviolently protesting the abuse of power, they are chanting the “Metta Thoke,” the “loving-kindness sutra,” which sends out and shares loving-kindness and its merit to all living beings, including the militarized government who are oppressing them. They are literally embodying the very teachings of both Buddha and Christ.

On the other hand is the militaristic government, which represents the will of the elite few. They rule by force, by “might makes right.” Whereas the monks embody love, the generals and their minions re-present the ultimate abuse and perversion of power. Seen symbolically, the militarized government re-presents the very opposite of both love and of life itself, which is to say they represent, in full-bodied form, the archetypal quality of “evil.” An archetypal, timeless drama is being played out in Burma between the monks and the military, freedom and oppression, and good and evil. But like Aung San Suu Kyi, the pro-democracy leader and Nobel laureate says, “There will be change because all the military have are guns.” People, groups, or nations who abuse their power over others invariably self-destruct; it is merely a question of time.

When what is happening in Burma is viewed symbolically and seen as a dreaming process – as an externalized reflection of something going on deep inside the collective unconscious of humanity – it is recognized that the opposites of archetypal good and evil, embodied in the figures of the monks and the military junta, are completely polarized and split, encountering each other in living, breathing, form through the Burmese theater. The very opposites, which animate the extreme tension in the world psyche, are being played out on the world stage for all to see.

Recognizing what the situation in Burma is “symbolically” revealing to us is to have an expansion of consciousness. When recognized as a symbol of the deeper process that is incarnating throughout the collective body politic, including within ourselves, the horror that is playing out in Burma can activate our lucidity and help wake us up. We can only recognize what is symbolically being revealed to us if we realize that the people in Burma, both the monks and the military thugs, are not separate from ourselves. To see symbolically is to recognize that, just like a dream, all characters in the situation in Burma are interconnected aspects of ourselves. The energetic expression of our realization is loving-kindness and compassion for all these various and multiple parts of ourselves.

Having loving-kindness and compassion, however, does not mean doing nothing. It does not mean that we let abuse happen when we are in a position to stop it. We should not forget to take what is happening in Burma “literally” too, which means we should listen to what the people in Burma, these parts of ourselves are saying: “Help!” In their cry is a part of ourselves calling for help. Let us hear their cries, which are none other than our own, and answer.

To show your solidarity with the Burmese people, and support the movement for peace and democracy in Burma, please sign the following emergency petition:

(Ed. Note: I couldn’t get the above petition form to work. Here are some others for you to sign, thanks to OLGA M. on CARE2:

Paul Levy is an artist and a spiritually-informed political activist. A pioneer in the field of spiritual awakening, he is a healer in private practice, assisting others who are also awakening to the dream-like nature of reality. He is the author of, ‘The Madness of George Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis,’ which is available on his website (to read the first chapter, click here: Please feel free to pass this article along to a friend if you feel so inspired. You can contact Paul at; he looks forward to your reflections.

© 2007 Paul Levy

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Goodbye, Ruby Tue – and Wed – and Every Day Until the Burmese Generals Bow Out by Glitzqueen (aka The Other Katherine Harris)

Fresh protest by monks in Myanmar


Fresh protest by monks in Myanmar

Dandelion Salad

Al Jazeera
Wed., Oct 31, 2007

More than 100 Buddhist monks have marched and chanted in northern Myanmar for nearly an hour, in the first public demonstration since the government’s deadly crackdown last month on pro-democracy protesters, several monks say.

The monks in Pakokku on Wednesday shouted no slogans, but one monk told the Democratic Voice of Burma, a Norway-based short-wave radio station and website run by dissident journalists, that it was a continuation of the protests last month.

The monk, who was not identified by name, told the radio station: “We walked around the town and chanted. … We are continuing our protest from last month as we have not yet achieved any of the demands we asked for.”


h/t: ICH

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Prayers for Burma (video)

Dandelion Salad


October 2007
Far from over Burma, as you might expect after the regime’s brutal crackdown, some of the monks involved in the demonstrations have fled into neighbouring Thailand. Hundreds it could be even thousands are in detention inside Burma. And with the junta seemingly impervious to international pressure keeping an iron grip on any information about their fate, eyewitness accounts of the repression have been incredibly scarce. But last week David O’Shea was across the border when three monks completed the long trek out of their closed country.

Myanmar’s “Saffron Revolution”: The Geopolitics behind the Protest Movement by F. William Engdahl

Dandelion Salad

by F. William Engdahl
Global Research, October 15, 2007

Burma’s “Saffron Revolution,” like the Ukraine “Orange Revolution” or the Georgia “Rose Revolution” and the various Color Revolutions instigated in recent years against strategic states surrounding Russia, is a well-orchestrated exercise in Washington-run regime change, down to the details of “hit-and-run” protests with “swarming” mobs of Buddhists in saffron, internet blogs, mobile SMS links between protest groups, well-organized protest cells which disperse and reform. CNN made the blunder during a September broadcast of mentioning the active presence of the NED behind the protests in Myanmar.

There are facts and then there are facts. First it’s a fact which few will argue that the present military dictatorship of the reclusive General Than Shwe is right up there when it comes to world-class tyrannies.

It’s also a fact that Burma enjoys one of the world’s lowest standards of living. A dramatic collapse in purchasing power resulted from the ill-conceived 100% to 500% price hikes in gasoline and other fuels in August.

IMF “Economic Medicine”

Inflation, the nominal trigger for the mass protests led by Saffron-robed Buddhist monks, is unofficially estimated to have risen by 35%. Ironically, the demand to establish “market” energy prices was implemented under the helm of the IMF and World Bank.

The UN estimates that the population of some 50 million inhabitants spends up to 70% of their monthly income on food alone. The recent fuel price hike, which was a direct result of the IMF sponsored reforms, makes matters unbearable for tens of millions.

Myanmar is also deeply involved in the world narcotics trade, ranking only behind Hamid Karzai’s Afghanistan as a source for heroin. As well, it is said to be Southeast Asia’s largest producer of methamphetamines.

This is all understandable powder to unleash a social explosion of protest against the regime.

It is also a fact that the Myanmar military junta is on the Hit List of Condi Rice and the Bush Administration for its repressive ways. Has the Bush leopard suddenly changed his spots? Or is there a more opaque agenda behind Washington’s calls to impose severe economic and political sanctions on the regime?

Behind the recent CNN news pictures of streams of saffron-robed Buddhist Monks marching in the streets of the former capital city Rangoon (Yangon) in Myanmar—the US government still prefers to call it by the British colonial name, Burma—calling for more democracy, is a battle of major geopolitical consequence.

The major actors

The tragedy of Burma, whose land area is about the size of George W. Bush’s Texas, is that its population is being used as a human stage prop in a drama scripted in Washington by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the George Soros Open Society Institute, Freedom House and Gene Sharp’s Albert Einstein Institution, a US intelligence asset used to spark “non-violent” regime change around the world on behalf of the US strategic agenda.

Burma’s “Saffron Revolution,” like the Ukraine “Orange Revolution” or the Georgia “Rose Revolution” and the various Color Revolutions instigated in recent years against strategic states surrounding Russia, is a well-orchestrated exercise in Washington-run regime change, down to the details of “hit-and-run” protests with “swarming” mobs of Buddhists in saffron, internet blogs, mobile SMS links between protest groups, well-organized protest cells which disperse and reform. CNN made the blunder during a September broadcast of mentioning the active presence of the NED behind the protests in Myanmar.

In fact the US State Department admits to supporting the activities of the NED in Myanmar. The NED is a US Government-funded “private” entity whose activities are designed to support US foreign policy objectives, doing today what the CIA did during the Cold War. As well the NED funds Soros’ Open Society Institute in fostering regime change in Myanmar. In an October 30 2003 Press Release the State Department admitted, “The United States also supports organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy, the Open Society Institute and Internews, working inside and outside the region on a broad range of democracy promotion activities.” It all sounds very self-effacing and noble of the State Department. Is it though?

In reality the US State Department has recruited and trained key opposition leaders from numerous anti-government organizations. It has poured the relatively huge sum (for Myanmar) of more than $2.5 million annually into NED activities in promoting regime change in Myanmar since at least 2003. The US regime change, its Saffron Revolution, is being largely run according to informed reports, out of the US Consulate General in bordering Chaing Mai, Thailand. There activists are recruited and trained, in some cases directly in the USA, before being sent back to organize inside Myanmar. The USA’s NED admits to funding key opposition media including the New Era Journal, Irrawaddy and the Democratic Voice of Burma radio.

The concert-master of the tactics of Saffron monk-led non-violence regime change is Gene Sharp, founder of the deceptively-named Albert Einstein Institution in Cambridge Massachusetts, a group funded by an arm of the NED to foster US-friendly regime change in key spots around the world. Sharp’s institute has been active in Burma since 1989, just after the regime massacred some 3000 protestors to silence the opposition. CIA special operative and former US Military Attache in Rangoon, Col. Robert Helvey, an expert in clandestine operations, introduced Sharp to Burma in 1989 to train the opposition there in non-violent strategy. Interestingly, Sharp was also in China two weeks before the dramatic events at Tiananmen Square.

Why Myanmar now?

A relevant question is why the US Government has such a keen interest in fostering regime change in Myanmar at this juncture. We can dismiss rather quickly the idea that it has genuine concern for democracy, justice, human rights for the oppressed population there. Iraq and Afghanistan are sufficient testimony to the fact Washington’s paean to Democacy is propaganda cover for another agenda.

The question is what would lead to such engagement in such a remote place as Myanmar?

Geopolitical control seems to be the answer. Control ultimately of the strategic sea lanes from the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea. The coastline of Myanmar provides naval access in the proximity of one of the world’s most strategic water passages, the Strait of Malacca, the narrow ship passage between Malaysia and Indonesia.

The Pentagon has been trying to militarize the region since September 11, 2001 on the argument of defending against possible terrorist attack. The US has managed to gain an airbase on Banda Aceh, the Sultan Iskandar Muda Air Force Base, on the northernmost tip of Indonesia. The governments of the region, including Myanmar, however, have adamantly refused US efforts to militarize the region. A glance at a map will confirm the strategic importance of Myanmar.

The Strait of Malacca, linking the Indian and Pacific Oceans, is the shortest sea route between the Persian Gulf and China. It is the key chokepoint in Asia. More than 80% of all China’s oil imports are shipped by tankers passing the Malacca Strait. The narrowest point is the Phillips Channel in the Singapore Strait, only 1.5 miles wide at its narrowest. Daily more than 12 million barrels in oil supertankers pass through this narrow passage, most en route to the world’s fastest-growing energy market, China or to Japan.

If the strait were closed, nearly half of the world’s tanker fleet would be required to sail further. Closure would immediately raise freight rates worldwide. More than 50,000 vessels per year transit the Strait of Malacca. The region from Maynmar to Banda Aceh in Indonesia is fast becoming one of the world’s most strategic chokepoints. Who controls those waters controls China’s energy supplies.

That strategic importance of Myanmar has not been lost on Beijing.

Since it became clear to China that the US was hell-bent on a unilateral militarization of the Middle East oil fields in 2003, Beijing has stepped up its engagement in Myanmar. Chinese energy and military security, not human rights concerns drive their policy.

In recent years Beijing has poured billions of dollars in military assistance into Myanmar, including fighter, ground-attack and transport aircraft; tanks and armored personnel carriers; naval vessels and surface-to-air missiles. China has built up Myanmar railroads and roads and won permission to station its troops in Myanmar. China, according to Indian defense sources, has also built a large electronic surveillance facility on Myanmar’s Coco Islands and is building naval bases for access to the Indian Ocean.

In fact Myanmar is an integral part of what China terms its “string of pearls,” its strategic design of establishing military bases in Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia in order to counter US control over the Strait of Malacca chokepoint. There is also energy on and offshore of Myanmar, and lots of it.

The gas fields of Myanmar

Oil and gas have been produced in Myanmar since the British set up the Rangoon Oil Company in 1871, later renamed Burmah Oil Co. The country has produced natural gas since the 1970’s, and in the 1990’s it granted gas concessions to the foreign companies ElfTotal of France and Premier Oil of the UK in the Gulf of Martaban. Later Texaco and Unocal (now Chevron) won concessions at Yadana and Yetagun as well. Alone Yadana has an estimated gas reserve of more than 5 trillion cubic feet with an expected life of at least 30 years. Yetagun is estimated to have about a third the gas of the Yadana field.

In 2004 a large new gas field, Shwe field, off the coast of Arakan was discovered.

By 2002 both Texaco and Premier Oil withdrew from the Yetagun project following UK government and NGO pressure. Malaysia’s Petronas bought Premier’s 27% stake. By 2004 Myanmar was exporting Yadana gas via pipeline to Thailand worth annually $1 billion to the Myanmar regime.

In 2005 China, Thailand and South Korea invested in expanding the Myanmar oil and gas sector, with export of gas to Thailand rising 50%. Gas export today is Myanmar’s most important source of income. Yadana was developed jointly by ElfTotal, Unocal, PTT-EP of Thailand and Myanmar’s state MOGE, operated by the French ElfTotal. Yadana supplies some 20% of Thai natural gas needs.

Today the Yetagun field is operated by Malaysia’s Petronas along with MOGE and Japan’s Nippon Oil and PTT-EP. The gas is piped onshore where it links to the Yadana pipeline. Gas from the Shwe field is to come online beginning 2009. China and India have been in strong contention over the Shwe gas field reserves.

India loses, China wins

This past summer Myanmar signed a Memorandum of Understanding with PetroChina to supply large volumes of natural gas from reserves of the Shwe gasfield in the Bay of Bengal. The contract runs for 30 years. India was the main loser. Myanmar had earlier given India a major stake in two offshore blocks to develop gas to have been transmitted via pipeline through Bangladesh to India’s energy-hungry economy. Political bickering between India and Bangladesh brought the Indian plans to a standstill.

China took advantage of the stalemate. China simply trumped India with an offer to invest billions in building a strategic China-Myanmar oil and gas pipeline across Myanmar from Myanmar’s deepwater port at Sittwe in the Bay of Bengal to Kunming in China’s Yunnan Province, a stretch of more than 2,300 kilometers. China plans an oil refinery in Kumming as well.

What the Myanmar-China pipelines will allow is routing of oil and gas from Africa (Sudan among other sources) and the Middle East (Iran, Saudi Arabia) independent of dependence on the vulnerable chokepoint of the Malacca Strait. Myanmar becomes China’s “bridge” linking Bangladesh and countries westward to the China mainland independent of any possible future moves by Washington to control the strait.

India’s dangerous alliance shift

It’s no wonder that China is taking such precautions. Ever since the Bush Administration decided in 2005 to recruit India to the Pentagon’s ‘New Framework for US-India Defense Relations,’India has been pushed into a strategic alliance with Washington in order to counter China in Asia.

In an October 2002 Pentagon report, ‘The Indo-US Military Relationship,’ the Office of Net Assessments stated the reason for the India-USA defense alliance would be to have a ‘capable partner’ who can take on ‘more responsibility for low-end operations’ in Asia, provide new training opportunities and ‘ultimately provide basing and access for US power projection.’ Washington is also quietly negotiating a base on Indian territory, a severe violation of India’s traditional non-aligned status.

Power projection against whom? China, perhaps?

As well, the Bush Administration has offered India to lift its 30 year nuclear sanctions and to sell advanced US nuclear technology, legitimizing India’s open violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, at the same time Washington accuses Iran of violating same, an exercise in political hypocrisy to say the least.

Notably, just as the Saffron-robed monks of Myanmar took to the streets, the Pentagon opened joint US-Indian joint naval exercises, Malabar 07, along with armed forces from Australia, Japan and Singapore. The US showed the awesome muscle of its 7th Fleet, deploying the aircraft carriers USS Nimitz and USS Kitty Hawk; guided missile cruisers USS Cowpens and USS Princeton and no less than five guided missile destroyers.

US-backed regime change in Myanmar together with Washington’s growing military power projection via India and other allies in the region is clearly a factor in Beijing’s policy vis-à-vis Myanmar’s present military junta. As is often the case these days, from Darfur to Caracas to Rangoon, the rallying call of Washington for democracy ought to be tasted with at least a grain of good salt.

F. William Engdahl is the author of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order, Pluto Press Ltd.. To contact by e-mail: Further articles can be found at his website,

F. William Engdahl is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

His most recent book, forthcoming with Global Research, is Seeds of Destruction, The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation.

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F. William Engdahl is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by F. William Engdahl

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Why Burma is Not Iraq by Ramzy Baroud

Dandelion Salad

by Ramzy Baroud
Global Research, October 12, 2007

The 2003 invasion of Iraq has enabled two important realisations. First, that imperial powers act only to preserve their interests, and second, that humanitarian intervention — i.e. humanitarian imperialism — is touted and encouraged by the media and official circles mostly to circumvent the true self-serving intents of aggression. Granted, many Americans are still under the impression that Iraq harboured Al-Qaeda, developed weapons of mass destruction and threatened America’s security. But who can blame them? Compare the relentless campaign of fabrication and half-truths prior to the invasion — courtesy of the Bush administration and its willing allies in the media — to the dismal follow-ups on whether such military adventurism actually achieved any of its declared objectives.

Every facet in America’s propaganda machine was in ceaseless motion to make a case for war; aside from the obvious pretext, Iraq’s horrors under Saddam were repeatedly emphasised. Also showcased were Iraq’s exiled elites who “proved” that the US war was in tune with the desperate pleas of the Iraqi “masses”. Forget the actual masses thereafter butchered with impunity. Compare again the attention given to Saddam’s victims to the subsequent attention given to victims of the US war (estimated to number more than one million), who were not even validated as victims but instead presented as grateful beneficiaries. A few months into the invasion, a leading US neo- conservative claimed to me in an interview that the Iraq democracy experiment was so successful that “Iranians are calling me at my office angrily saying, ‘How come you liberated the Iraqis and are yet to liberate us?'”

So why aren’t the US and Britain responding to the situation in Burma with the same determination that they exhibited for Iraq, and now Iran? Why haven’t media pundits rushed in to make a case for war against the brutal regime of General Than Shwe who has denied his people not only political freedom but also the basic requisites of a dignified life? To maintain their extravagant lifestyles in the midst of crushing poverty, junta generals jacked up fuel prices by 500 per cent in August. This even provoked Burmese monks — legendary symbols of peace and endurance — to demonstrate en masse, demanding greater compassion for the poor. The protests, starting in a rural town 19 August, culminated in massive rallies of hundreds of thousands and lasted for weeks.

The media correctly drew parallels between the most recent Safrron Revolution and the 1988 uprising, when students in Rangoon triggered nationwide demonstrations that were suppressed brutally by the army, claiming 3,000 lives. General Than Shwe became the head of the junta in 1992 and continued to rule with an iron fist. However, his subversion of democracy was not a strong enough reason to prevent large multinationals from seeking lucrative contracts in the gas-rich country. He accumulated wealth and his officials continued to roam the globe with few hindrances, while the Burmese people continued to suffer. This eventually led to the most recent revolt, which was once again crushed without remorse. The number of dead this time remains unknown; estimates range between 200 and 2,000. Thousands have also been arrested and many monks have reportedly been tortured, their monasteries ransacked. From a media angle, no revolution could be as sentimental or appealing. But, of course, it takes more than tens of thousands of monks leading hundreds of thousands of the country’s poor in mass rallies to make Burma relevant for long.

Western leaders, aware of the criticism that awaits them, have paid the necessary lip service, but little else. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown decried the use of violence against protesters and demanded European sanctions. President Bush declared that Americans “stand in solidarity with these brave individuals”. Israel, on the other hand, denied its military links to the junta, despite much contradictory evidence. It justified its unwillingness to influence the situation on the grounds of nostalgia — Burma was the first South Asian country to recognise Israel. The UN sent its envoy to Burma to meet General Than Shwe and Ibrahim Gambari was left waiting for days before he was allowed to express the concerns of the international community. And that’s that.

Burma is as important to China as the Middle East is to the US. China cares more about the political stability of its neighbours than human rights and democracy; the US cares about such a nuisance insofar as its ability to serve its own militaristic and economic interests is affected. China is the world’s fourth largest economy, and will soon be the third; its holds $1.4 trillion in reserve, mostly in US treasury bonds. Its sway over the global financial system is undeniable, and under no circumstance will it allow America a significant role in a country that shares with it a 2,000-kilometre border. The US, on the other hand, pays lip service to democracy in Burma, and its continued “support” of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy is aimed at maintaining a foothold in Burma for a future role, should the relationship between the West and China turn sour.

Humanitarian imperialism has proved more destructive than the injustices it supposedly eradicates. But expect none of that in the case of Burma, because intervention does not serve the interests of the influential parties — not the West’s, or China’s, or Russia’s. We may see a few sentimental meetings between Aung San Suu Kyi and representatives of the generals, and perhaps a few gestures of goodwill by the latter, at the behest of China and the West. But they will bring no sweeping reforms, nor meaningful democracy or human rights. These can only be achieved by the people of Burma, their monks, civil society activists, and by ordinary people.

If Iraq has been a lesson of any worth it is that the Burmese are much better off without American bombing raids or British napalm in the name of intervention. True reforms and democracy can only come from within, from the closed fists of the determined dispossessed. Indeed, Burma is not Iraq, and Thank God for that.

Ramzy Baroud ( is an author and editor of His work has been published in many newspapers and journals worldwide. His latest book is The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle (Pluto Press, London).

Ramzy Baroud is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Ramzy Baroud contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries:
© Copyright Ramzy Baroud, Global Research, 2007
The url address of this article is:

Al Jazeera: Inside Myanmar – The Crackdown Parts I & II (videos)

I posted this yesterday but they took the video down. Here it is again for those that missed seeing it. ~ Lo

Dandelion Salad


This video contains images depicting the reality and horror of a police state and should only be viewed by a mature audience.


For this extended special news programme, Al Jazeera’s Tony Birtley went undercover in Myanmar to report exclusively on the people’s protests and resulting bloody crackdown by Myanmar’s military government, talking to the protesters, filming the bloody crackdown and gauging the mood of the nation.

Continue reading

Al Jazeera: Exclusive footage of Myanmar crackdown (video)

Dandelion Salad


This video contains images depicting the reality and horror of a police state and should only be viewed by a mature audience.


For almost two weeks, Al Jazeera’s Tony Birtley saw first hand the popular protests against Myanmar’s military government and the subsequent crackd…

For almost two weeks, Al Jazeera’s Tony Birtley saw first hand the popular protests against Myanmar’s military government and the subsequent crackdown. Each day he filed reports as soldiers were ordered to open fire on unarmed protesters. Three Al Jazeera cameras captured the events as they unfolded in the largest city, Yangon. The scenes of repression show the violent treatment meted out to protesters. You can Watch Al Jazeera’s exclusive programme ‘Inside Myanmar: The Crackdown’ at the following times GMT:
Wednesday 10th October 2007: 1330, 1930
Thursday: 11th October 2007: 0300, 1130
Friday: 12th October 2007: 0600, 1630

Continue reading

Resistance, Not Repression, Is the Real Story From Burma By Cynthia Boaz

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By Cynthia Boaz
t r u t h o u t
Tuesday 09 October 2007

Note: the events within Burma described below come from a member of the exiled pro-democracy leadership of Burma 8888. This individual is now deeply involved in the current movement’s strategizing and communications, and is in regular contact both with groups on the Thai-Burma border and within the country. Because of the sensitive nature of his work, he has asked to remain anonymous. Continue reading

Burma’s Junta Protested in DC at Embassy Row Rally (video)

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On Saturday, Oct. 6, 2007, a protest … On Saturday, Oct. 6, 2007, a protest action, rally and march directed at the Junta now terrorizing the country of Burma, a/k/a Myanmar, was held on Embassy Row, in Washington, D.C. There is abundant evidence on the public record that the brutal military regime in that beleaguered country is arresting, killing and torturing, on a wholesale basis, scores of human rights activists, while viciously suppressing any public dissent to their criminal policies. At noon, the demonstration began in front of the Embassy of Burma. Then, the protesters proceeded to march to the Embassies of China and India. Today is “International Free Burma Day.” Speaking at the rally in front of the Burma Embassy was Mr. Bo Hla-Tint. He is associated with the “National Coalition of the Union of Burma,” a government-in-exile. When the protesters got to Embassy of China, they chanted: “Boycott the Olympics!” The 2008 Olympics are planned for China. It was accused today, by some of the speakers, of collaborating with the Junta now running Burma. One of the themes for the rally was: “Support the Monks!”
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The Burmese Regime’s Lifeline – Chevron’s Pipeline By Amy Goodman

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By Amy Goodman
10/05/07 “ICH

The barbarous military regime depends on revenue from the nation’s gas reserves and partners such as Chevron, a detail ignored by the Bush administration.

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Imagine Peace by Cindy Sheehan

by Cindy Sheehan
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featured writer
October 5, 2007

Imagine all the people, living life in peace.
John Winston Ono Lennon
October 9, 1940-December 8, 1980

A dream you dream alone is only a dream.
A dream you dream together is reality.
Yoko Ono Lennon

On October 9th, on what would have been John Lennon’s 67th birthday, his widow, Yoko Ono is dedicating a peace tower in Reykjavik, Iceland in the memory of her husband. There will also be almost a half a million peace wishes buried in capsules around the tower which is a blue tower of light extending up to the sky above us.

I received the link to the Imagine Peace website while I was on a layover in the airport in Las Vegas, Nv. Still reeling from the reports of hundreds, if not thousands of Burmese monks and other humans being slaughtered for protesting against their oppressive government, it was hard for me to watch all the people sitting hypnotized at the slot machines, pulling the handles or pushing the buttons as if the world is not going to hell in George’s hand basket. The dichotomy of business as usual in America compared with genocides in Darfur and Iraq while I am still and always will be mourning my son makes me dizzy sometimes.

So, I made myself close my eyes for a few minutes between planes and tried to shut out the bells and whistles of the slots and “imagined” peace. What would a world at peace look like? What would a world at peace be like to live in? I have a great imagination but I knew this exercise would be challenging.

John Lennon called his song Imagine an “anti-religious, anti-nationalism, anti-conventional, anti-capitalist” sort of a “Communist manifesto.” It is for sure a utopian vision of a perfect society that unfortunately can not be achieved by imagining, and probably not at all—but how close can we get to this world and how much sacrifice will a world at peace take from each and everyone of us?

First of all, imagine a world with no religion. A world where sick and evil people could not manipulate the masses into believing that the set of myths and beliefs that they profess are more important or powerful than the other’s set of myths or beliefs. Israelis could not (with the help of Christian extremists) tell Palestinians that it is okay to occupy them or kill them so that the Jews could claim their “Promised Land.” Land promised to whom by whom? Muslims could not proclaim “jihad” against infidels. There would have been no Nazi holocaust against Jews; no Crusades; no holocaust against our own native population; no black slavery justified by the Christian scriptures; no George Bush saying that his Christian God is like a mob-boss ordering him to “hit” the world. Imagine that!

Secondly, imagine no countries. No jingoistic worship of banners made of mere cloth (not spun gold) or arrogant nationalism that gives leaders the right to kill other human beings just because they do not happen to live within the same false borders that were artificially drawn many years ago by empires that have long ago fallen. In this homeland-istic fervor it is especially correct to kill those other people if they are not the same religion as the religion of your state (and don’t kid yourself that the US does not have a state sanctioned religion). Imagine no armies that in reality kill and get killed for the imperialistic neo-liberalism that has crept around our globe like a flesh eating bacteria since the Reagan years. Imagine that.

Imagine no possessions: This is the crux of our problem. Going back to my brothers and sisters at the slot machines in Vegas, pulling almost catatonically on the lever of the One Armed Bandit, for what? To win the “jackpot” of course! How nice is it of the State of Nevada to allow gambling machines in their airports, so we can perchance live the American dream of buying higher stacks of stuff! On a day that George vetoed the health of over six-million children here in America, 16,000 children around the world died of starvation. In a week that we saw murder on a horrendous scale in Burma, more Iraqis were killed or forced from their homes by violence: to wander in the desert, or probably off to Syria where their daughters may be forced into prostitution to help support the family which should be able to live in peace and relative prosperity in their own country. Imagine that.

It was hard for me to imagine or envision peace when I am terrified because BushCo is contemplating even more slaughter in the Middle East in Iran and when Congress, Inc is busy supporting a murderous status quo that hurts humans within all borders, even our own.

Peace will only happen when every member of humanity is guaranteed prosperity, health and security which will not happen when we here in the US can’t even get off our asses to protest a war that is four and a half years and hundreds of thousands of bodies old, now.

We can imagine peace all we want but until each and everyone of us is willing to sacrifice some of our prosperity (because we have already had our security robbed from us by the rotten Republicans and complicit corporate Democrats) true peace—not just the absence of war—will be as elusive as a morsel of truth or modicum of courage coming out of Washington, DC.

Voluntary sacrifice is truly a revolutionary concept here in the United States of America.

So you say you want a revolution? Imagine that.

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My Last Conversation With Aung San Suu Kyi By John Pilger

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By John Pilger
10/04/07 “ICH

As the people of Burma rise up again, we have had a rare sighting of Aung San Suu Kyi. There she stood, at the back gate of her lakeside home in Rangoon, where she is under house arrest. She looked very thin. For years, people would brave the roadblocks just to pass by her house and be reassured by the sound of her playing the piano. She told me she would lie awake listening for voices outside and to the thumping of her heart. “I found it difficult to breathe lying on my back after I became ill, she said.”

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