Wednesday, October 31, 2007

International Burmese Monks Organisation established

Oct 30, 2007 (DVB)–Burmese monks living in exile around the world have formed an organisation to raise international awareness of Burma’s situation and lobby international governments.

The International Burmese Monks Organisation was formed in Los Angeles, California, on 28 October at a gathering of 49 monks from North America, Asia and Europe.

The director of the new group is U Kaweida, a monk lecturer from Masoeyein monastery in Mandalay who was detained by the Burmese government after the 1988 uprising and now lives in New York.

Another high-profile monk, U Pyinya Wuntha, is the chairperson of the organisation.

The monks had originally planned to meet on Sunday to celebrate U Pyinya Wuntha’s 80th birthday and 50 years of his work promoting Buddhism around the world.

But in light of the demonstrations in Burma led by monks and the crackdown on protesting monks and civilians the focus of the gathering was changed.

U Pyinya Wuntha said that the organisation was formed as a response to the harassment, detention and ill-treatment of monks in Burma by the regime.

Many people inside Burma had asked monks to get together to bring this issue to the attention of international governments and Buddhist groups from all over the world.

“We are going to raise awareness about the issues inside Burma with the relevant governments,” U Pyinya Wuntha said.

“We will pass this message not only to Buddhist groups, but also to Christians, Muslims and people of other faiths to give help to the monks inside Burma,” he said.

Burmese monks in Sri Lanka released a statement yesterday offering their enthusiastic cooperation to the new group and expressing their belief that it will be able to help find a solution to the political and social issues inside Burma.

They were joined in their support by monks in Rangoon, Mandalay, Myin Chan, and Pakokku.

Four Burmese artists living in exile also expressed their support for the newly formed organisation.

The four were Kyemon U Thaung, a Bangkok-based journalist and head of the New Era journal, poet Maung Swan Ye, US-based director, writer and painter Win Pe and Mar Mar Aye, a singer and former head of the state Music Association, also now based in the US.

“We vow to follow the monk’s orders and accept whatever duties are given to us by the monks,” the artists’ group said.

Reporting by DVB

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"Faces of the Burma Struggle" at Lincoln Memorial

Buddhist Relief fully supports an upcoming event scheduled for Sunday November 4th, organized by a great group of committed, compassionate grass-roots leaders. The invitation sent to us reads as follows:

Now more than ever, people in Burma need to know that they are not alone in their struggle for freedom and human rights. The military junta waits for the international pressure for political change that has followed the brutal crackdown on peaceful demonstrations last month to dissipate. We cannot let this happen.

Join us on November 4, 2007 at the Reflecting Pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington , D.C. from 5:00 -7:30 pm. Come hear and be moved by personal stories and reflections from people who have been deeply involved in the Burma Struggle. Come honor the many faces of this struggle.

In 1963 Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech to a crowd at this site. Join us in delivering our message of compassion and hope to the world in support of a free and democratic Burma .

Click on the image to download, print and disseminate

"Use Your Liberty to Promote Ours"
- Aung San Suu Kyi

Candlelight Vigil at the Amitabha Stupa Peace Park

Three Burmese activities from Phoenix joined several KPC sangha members, ordained and lay, attended the candlelight vigil for Freedom in Burma on October 26th at the Amitabha Stupa Peace Park in Sedona, Arizona. Under the light of the full moon the vigil participants chanted what is probably the most recognizable Buddhist chant in Tibetan, “OM MANI PADME HUNG”, the essence of compassion and compassionate activity.

There is no lightin closed at dusk. This night we used the light of the full moon as it rose over the mg at the Amitabha Stupa or throughout the Peace Park so it generally isountains to illuminate our path. The photojournalist from the local newspaper was there, too, and sent the awesome photographs that are posted on this blog. Keeping the aperture open seems to produce interesting results.

The Burmese activists have been working tirelessly for many weeks and seemed happy to be with a group of people who are trying to help their cause. They also loved the Stupa!

Burma is important. Please keep yourself abreast of current events there as they seem to be shifting about almost on a daily basis, the outcome of which still seems to be up for grabs. Maybe with enough effort we can help move the potential outcome towards freedom and compassion!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Military meets Suu Kyi on October 25th

This just in, from the Bangkok Post:

Rangoon - Detained Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was taken to a government guest house on Thursday to meet with the designated liaison official of the ruling junta.

Official cars arrived at her home, where she has been under house arrest for 12 of the last 18 years, around 2 pm and took her to the Sein Le Kantha guest house to meet with retired general U Aung Kyi, according to sources who requested anonymity.

Aung Kyi is the country's labour minister, recently appointed to be a liaison with the democracy leader after the junta bent to pressure from the United Nations to ease tensions following a brutal crackdown on street protests last month.

It was unclear whether the unusual meeting represented a breakthrough toward negotiations to ease military rule, or if the junta was merely paying lip service to international calls for leniency for Suu Kyi.

She has been under house arrest for three separate periods: from 1989 to 1995, from 2000 to 2002 and from May 2003 until now. Her father was a hero of the independence struggle against Britain and was the country's first prime minister before being assassinated in 1947.

Thursday also marked the end of her 12th year of detention, and was accompanied by protests in several world capitals and growing diplomatic pressure for her release and a transition to democracy.

Self-appointed Burmese generals rule the pariah state with an iron fist, and are said to have personal loathing for the dissident Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy won elections in 1990 but was never allowed to take over the government.

Street demonstrations led by Buddhist monks in September ended in a brutal crackdown and the arrest of several hundred monks and civilians. The government said 10 people had died in the unrest, but independent observers claimed the number of victims was much higher.

Burma's religious affairs minister also met with senior monks of the country's Buddhist orthodoxy Thursday to explain the crackdown on the protests, and said the arrests of some monks were necessary to keep order. (dpa)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Rally to mark one month anniversary of military crackdown

A "Free Burma Rally" is being organized to mark the one-month anniversary of the Burmese Military Junta's crackdown on peaceful monks and demonstrators of Burma: Friday October 26th at 1 p.m., at the U.S. State Department, located on 2201 C Street NW, Washington, D.C.

Come and show your support for the people of Burma. You will be joined by the Burmese community from the Washington, D.C. metroplex area, Georgia, North Carolina, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.

Support the Saffron Revolution to:

Show the Burmese Military Junta that the world is always watching!
Demand that the International Community take action immediately!
Demonstrate to the people of Burma that you support them!

For more information, contact:, (260) 443-5150, (571) 235-4035 or (301) 520-4160; National Coalition Government of Burma: (301) 424-4810

Sunday, October 21, 2007

"Light the Way for Burma " on Friday October 26th

On Friday, October 26th, the night of the full moon, the people of Burma will celebrate Thadingyut, a traditional Festival of Lights. The occasion commemorates the return of the Buddha to the human realm after teaching the Dharma to his mother in the realm of the Long-Life Gods.

In Burma, this occasion is a great holiday: people light millions of candles in commemoration of the Buddha's radiance. They light up their homes, their trees, and their shops. They light candles particularly at monasteries and pagodas--places of spiritual refuge. In celebration of the Buddha's presence in the world, people try to stay awake until dawn. There is music and feasting.

This year, the celebration may not look the same as in years past, in an environment of intimidation and suppression of the people. Whole urban monasteries have been emptied out, their monastics either arrested or dispersed to the countryside. If the people can get out to the holy places, they will find many of them desecrated.

We invite you to support the people of Burma with prayer on this occasion. On that evening, at Kunzang Palyul Choling Buddhist temple in Poolesville, Maryland, we will "Light the Way for Burma," with offerings of lights at the Enlightenment Stupa along with meditation and prayers for peace. For more details on this event, click here.

Why not make an occasion of it yourself, wherever you are? Invite your friends and family, turn inward in prayer and meditation, and turn on the outdoor lights for the people of Burma.

What if people all over the world did the same thing that night? What if so many lights were on that it could be seen in space? Leave the lights on for Burma! Let the satellite eyes in the sky show the people of Burma that the world supports them on this special night.

What if astronaut Schweickart (see previous posting) went back to orbiting the earth on Friday October 26th and reports to us that North Africa was all lit up, and so was the Middle East, Ceylon (now called Sri Lanka), Phoenix, Houston, New Orleans … all in support of the people of Burma?

Friday, October 19, 2007

An astronaut's perspective ... on Burma

Back in 1969, astronaut Russell Schweickart orbited the earth on Apollo 9. Four months later that same year, fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. Thirty-eight years later, Schweickart's perspectives on planet Earth are just as relevant today. Read and contemplate on why Burma is important, as well as North Africa, the Middle East, Phoenix, New Orleans ....

BUT UP THERE you go around every hour and a half, time after time after time. You wake up usually in the mornings, over the Middle East and over North Africa. As you eat breakfast you look out the window and there's the Mediterranean area, Greece and Rome and North Africa and the Sinai, that whole area. And you realize that in one glance what you're seeing is what was the whole history of humankind for years - the cradle of civilization. And you go down across North Africa and out over the Indian Ocean and you look up at that great subcontinent of India pointed down toward you as you go past it, Ceylon off to the side, then Burma, Southeast Asia, out over the Philippines and up across that monstrous Pacific Ocean, that vast body of water - you've never realized how big that is before. And you finally come up across the coast of California, and you look for those friendly things, Los Angeles and Phoenix, and on across to El Paso. And there's Houston, there's home, you know, and you look out, and you identify with it.... And you go out across the Atlantic Ocean and back across Africa, and you do it again and again and again... And it all becomes friendly to you.
And you identify with Houston and then you identify with Los Angeles and Phoenix and New Orleans. And the next thing you recognize in yourself is that you're identifying with North Africa. You look forward to it, you anticipate it, and there it is. And that whole process of what it is you identify with begins to shift. When you go around the Earth in an hour and half, you begin to recognize that your identity is with the whole thing. And that makes a change.
You look down there and you can't imagine how many borders and boundaries you cross, again and again and again, and you don't even see them. There you are - hundreds of people in the Middle East killing each other over some imaginary line that you're not even aware of, that you can't see. And from where you see it, the thing is a whole, the earth is a whole, and it's so beautiful. You wish you could take a person in each hand, one from each side in the various conflicts, and say, "Look. Look at it from this perspective. Look at that. What's important?"
And a little later on, your friend goes out to the moon. And now he looks back and he sees the Earth not as something big, where he can see the beautiful details, but now he sees the Earth as a small thing out there. And the contrast between that bright blue and white Christmas tree ornament and the black sky, that infinite universe, really comes through, and the size of it, the significance of it. It is so small and so fragile and such a precious little spot in the universe that you can block it out with your thumb. And you realize that on that small spot, that little blue and white thing, is everything that means anything to you - all love, tears, joy, games, all of it on that little spot out there that you can cover with your thumb. And you realize from that perspective that you've changed, that there's something new there, that the relationship is no longer what it was.

Friday, October 12, 2007

A Seminar on Burma's Human Rights Challenges

A seminar on "Burma's Human Rights Challenges" will be taking place in Washington, D.C. on Monday, October 15, 2007, 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.

It is being hosted by Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)(Southeast Asia Studies Program)and Amnesty International.


Will Davis, United Nations Information Center

A Representative from the U.S. State Department

T. Kumar, Advocacy Director for Asia & Pacific, Amnesty International USA

Location: Rome Building, Rome Auditorium, 1619 Massachusetts Avenue, NW (Johns Hopkins University-SAIS), Washington, D.C.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP to or phone (202)663-5837 or fax (202)663-7711.

Originally scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m., take note that it will now begin at 4 p.m.

SAIS together with the U.S. Institute of Peace also hosted a seminar "Burma's Saffron Revolution: Next Steps" on October 11, 2007. You can download or listen to audio from this event here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Free Burma Rally on Saturday October 13 in Nation's Capital

The Vietnamese American Community has organized a "Free Burma Rally" on Saturday, October 13th, 2007 at 5 pm. According to the flier that was forwarded to Buddhist Relief:

Meet in front of the Burmese Embassy (2300 S Street NW, Washington DC). Then we'll go to the White House for a Candlelight Vigil held by members of the Vietnamese American Community who support the people of Burma.

Please continue to stand with the people of Burma.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Senator Lieberman: "There will be ample evidence"

Buddhist Relief receives a flood of emails and links to websites and other blogs, addressing the current situation in Burma. We thank the many contributors for their continuing support. As a clearinghouse of information, we wish to provide resources related to:

- how and where you can take action;
- strategic and powerful articles and other media; and,
- inspirational pieces to keep us committed to stand with the people of Burma.

Senator Joe Lieberman had an Op-Ed piece in the New York Daily News (October 3rd issue) that is worth posting for our readers' information and reflections on the situation.

How American power can help bring peace to Burma
New York Daily News Op-Ed

Over the past weeks, the world has watched in awe and admiration as hundreds of thousands of Burmese citizens, led by Buddhist monks, have taken to the streets to protest the vicious dictatorship that rules their country.

These courageous individuals have risked their lives for the fundamental freedoms that are the entitlement of all mankind.

Last week, the military junta responded to these peaceful protests with indiscriminate violence, shooting into crowds of demonstrators and clubbing and tear-gassing others.

Although the regime is doing everything in its power to muffle the cries of its victims and suppress the images of their repression, it is clear that hundreds of monks are now in detention, Buddhist monasteries are under siege, journalists have been attacked and arrested - and reports of far, far worse have begun to trickle out.

One Burmese general reportedly said, "The bodies can be counted in several thousand."

Every responsible nation has a duty to send a clear and unmistakable message: The military junta must stop its cruel and bloody war on the people of Burma and begin a peaceful dialogue with the dissidents and democrats it has so brutally oppressed.

Unfortunately, the foreign governments with the most leverage over the junta have also been the least willing to use it.

The Russian government has defended the dictatorship, issuing a statement last week - just before the bloody crackdown began - that warned against outside "interference" in Burma's "domestic affairs."

The performance of the Indian government has also been a disappointment; its army chief of staff just dismissed the junta's repression as an "internal matter."

It is the People's Republic of China, however, that enjoys the closest ties with Burma. Beijing is the junta's principal arms supplier, providing 90% of its weapons, and sustains its rulers in power with lucrative business deals and economic assistance. Given this special relationship, the Chinese government has unique authority and ability to restrain its client - or run the risk of being tarred by its sins.

Even as we press our foreign friends to do more, however, we must not allow the inaction of other governments to become an excuse for our own inaction. As we learned in the Balkans a decade ago, promises of continuing diplomacy are sometimes not enough. The United States must also think hard about how we can use our own national power to help the Burmese people against their tyrannical rulers.

It is encouraging that the U.S. government has already doubled its radio broadcasts into Burma through Voice of America and Radio Free Asia.

But we must do much more. To begin with, the United States must turn the full spectrum of its intelligence-gathering capabilities on Burma to monitor, document and publicize what is happening on the ground.

The soldiers who are being ordered to carry out and enforce this bloody crackdown must know that they are being watched and listened to, and their names are being recorded. The men who wear the uniform of this regime must be made to understand that the day will come when they may be judged before a court of their victims, and when that day arrives, there will be ample evidence of the crimes they commit.

The Bush administration should also actively investigate how else our military and intelligence capabilities can be used to put additional stress on the regime. The junta has tried to cut off the ability of peaceful demonstrators to communicate to the outside world through the Internet and cell phone networks; we should be examining how the junta's ability to command and control its forces throughout the country might itself be disrupted.

Above all, Americans must not forget the faces of the brave men and women who have marched for democracy these past weeks. As the fortunes of freedom in Burma hang in the balance, the United States has a solemn duty to continue to carry the torch of their cause.

Lieberman, an independent, is U.S. senator from Connecticut. The link to this article is here

Friday, October 5, 2007

Burma's Saffron Revolution - Next Steps

The U.S. Institute of Peace and Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) cordially invite you to a public event on:

Burma's Saffron Revolution - Next Steps

Date: Thursday, October 11, 2007

Time: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Location: Johns Hopkins University/SAIS, Auditorium- Rome Building
1619 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC


Forty-five years of military rule have left Burma in a state of arrested political and economic development, largely without the means to break free of the military's stranglehold and build the foundations of stable, viable democracy. Drawing from a study and observations of conditions before and during the cataclysmic events this August-September, discussion will center on the impact of the saffron revolution protests on the regime domestically and the effectiveness of different forms of international engagement on bringing about change. Five panelists with different backgrounds focus on the critical question, "What is to be done?"


Priscilla Clapp
Former U.S. Charge d'Affaires, Burma

Carla Freeman
China Studies, Johns Hopkins-SAIS

Keith Luse
Senate Foregn Relations Committee

Bo Hla Tint
National League for Democracy (NLD) MP-Elect, Minister, Office of the Prime Minister (USA), National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB)

Bridget Welsh
Southeast Asia Studies, Johns Hopkins-SAIS

Eugene Martin, Moderator
U.S. Institute of Peace

Media Inquiries

Please contact Ian Larsen (+1.202.429.3870) or Lauren Sucher (+1.202.429.3822) in the Office of Public Affairs and Communications.


To RSVP, please send your name, affiliation, daytime phone number, and name of the event to Peter Rockwood at

Unite at Union Square, NYC on Saturday October 6

This just in, from the US Campaign for Burma:


When: Saturday, October 6, 5 pm
Where: Union Square, New York City
Who: US Campaign for Burma
Contact: Farheen Malik at 714 473 2708

This Saturday marks a Global Day of Action to support the monks' protests in Burma by demanding UN Security Council action. In over 35 countries around the world on this day, people are coming together to condemn the Burmese military junta's violent suppression of peaceful protesters. Join us on Saturday in Union Square to take part in this worldwide event, as the US Campaign for Burma and several other Burma groups show their solidarity for the Saffron Revolution. Please WEAR THE COLOR RED, and BRING AS MANY RED FLOWERS AS YOU CAN. The flowers will be used to create a public display of tribute to those who have sacrificed so much in Burma these past weeks - all of those untold hundreds of thousands who put their lives on the line to bring down the military regime. Many lost their lives, many are imprisoned, and many are in hiding. On Saturday, the Global Day of Action will honor their courage. We will call for UN Security Council action, and we will distribute postcards giving people an opportunity to pledge their boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games. China must stop vetoing Security Council action.

For more information, contact Farheen Malik at

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Suu Kyi: "Please use your liberty, to promote ours"

Global Day of Action for Burma

Saturday 6TH OCTOBER 2007

Time: 12 NOON in every major city across the world

We are marching in solidarity with the monks and ordinary people of Burma who are risking their lives for freedom and democracy.

We appeal to all religious and secular communities across the world not to look the other way while the people of Burma cry out for international support.

Wear RED to show your support for the monks and nuns of Burma.
For more details on locations world-wide – please check out:
Support the monks' protest in Burma

“Please use your liberty, to promote ours”
- Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

Regarding Burma: Here's What You Can Do

This is what the monks in Burma have done:

This is what you can do:



To the Chinese Govenment

To the UN

Take Action to Free Aung San Suu Kyi

The Burma Campaign UK: Campaigning for Human Rights and Democracy in Burma
Email the EU President at

US Campaign for Burma

Call for Immediate Action Against the Burmese Military Regime

Stand with the Burmese protestors.

Release Myanmar Protestors

Canadian Petition

Some UK Petitions:
You must be a British citizen or resident to sign this petition (deadline to sign up: 4 October 2007)


visit for a worldwide list of peaceful protests

Saturday October 6 12 noon in every major city across the world:

A Day of International Action for a Free Burma
Free Aung San Suu Kyi & Support the Monks in Burma

“We are marching in solidarity with the monks and ordinary people of Burma who are risking their lives for freedom and democracy.

We appeal to all religious and secular communities across the world not to look the other way while the people of Burma cry out for international support.”

Official Dates and Places (Cities / Countries) will be listed soon. (See

Suggestions for Protest Signs: Honor Burmese Monks and Nuns -Stop the Bloodshed -
Start a Revolution of Compassion - Compassion is Revolution


Support the Saffron Revolution in Arizona

A rally will be held in Tempe on Saturday, October 6, in support of the monks and people of Burma. It will be held at the ASU Memorial Union, Ventana A (226A) near University and Mill Drive in Tempe from 3:00-5:00 pm. For more information please go to Wear red!

Burmese Foreign Minister: "Normalcy has returned in Burma"

Yes, normalcy has returned in Burma. This, according to the Burmese Foreign Minister, who was in New York City this past Monday (October 1st) to address the UN General Assembly!!

Read below the eloquent and moving statement from Than Lwin Htun from the VOA (Voice of America) before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus Special Update on Burma, held on Wednesday October 3rd.

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Caucus:

Thank you for inviting me here today to discuss the current situation in Burma. I understand you would like me to stay focused on what is happening today and how I see the situation unfolding in the days and weeks ahead. Let me also mention that the comments I will make today reflect my personal views, and not necessarily those of the U.S. Government.

To begin: the Burmese Foreign Minister at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday said, “normalcy has returned in Burma.” The question I would like to ask is “what kind of normalcy” is he referring to? I am certain he does not mean to say Burma is “quiet.”

Let’s have a quick look at the situation on the streets in Rangoon and other cities to see if normalcy prevails.

Several VOA reporters in the region and other news agencies report that the situation is anything but normal. Just this morning, residents in Mandalay, the second largest city in Burma, told us many monks who participated in street protests were picked up at night from their monasteries. A Burmese news journal editor told us that many journalists were stopped on the streets and their cell phones and digital cameras were searched. Also this morning, Mr. Paul Paisley, a World Food Program official in Bangkok, told us that merchants in the countryside could not transport rice and other staple food to the cities due to skyrocketing transportation costs.

The junta says only ten people have died (including a Japanese reporter). Diplomats in Rangoon are estimating as many as 100 may have been killed. But my “88” generation sources in Rangoon have already published the names of 138 people who have perished at the hands of the army last week. All of this reminds me of my days in 1988 when I was a student activist in Burma and the government was saying only 200 or so so-called “looters” had been killed, but my colleagues and I knew for sure that over 3,000 peaceful demonstrators had died.

Of course the streets are now empty and the visible protests have been quashed. But the scene is not at all tranquil: thousands of heavily armed soldiers are on patrol, manning all the key intersections and important public gathering places like the holy Sule and Shwedagon pagodas in Rangoon. These are the sites where many monks and ordinary Burmese were beaten up or gunned down during last week’s demonstrations. Is a situation “normal” when barbed wire fences are everywhere? Is it “normal” for all intersections to be barricaded and for all people leaving and entering the city to be searched and harassed by soldiers? Why are so many shops and businesses still closed? Why are the classrooms in the schools empty if it is not because parents are afraid of sending their kids to school?

The top U.S. diplomat in Rangoon in an interview with VOA Burmese Service yesterday morning told us, “It is quiet here; people are too scared to go onto the roads. We visited several monasteries and found so many of them to be empty and guarded by security forces blocking public access.” In summary, the only truth in the claim of the Foreign Minister that Burma is back to normal is that it has resumed to being a country of fear. For too many years, fear has been the “normal” state of affairs in Burma.

The second question I would like to address is whether all the dissent and the desire to change Burma to a democracy have all been ended. It is understandable that with such an extreme use of violence, people might be scared to continue their struggle so openly. The discontent of the people has taken deeper root than ever. They are suffering as much as ever before, if not more. Commodity prices are still as high as ever, if not higher. Plus they have fewer human rights than they did before this crisis. Their resentment is so strong that it is only a question of time before it erupts again in some as yet unforeseeable way.

My understanding is that monks do not need to protest in the streets to carry out the religious boycott they started on September 19. Let me explain this important point: the military is powerful because they have guns; the monks’ power resides in their contributions to the religious life of every Burmese. The majority of the 400,000 soldiers in the Burmese army are Buddhists. They are going to want to practice their religion. The religious boycott means all the soldiers, the authorities to whom they report, and their families are no longer eligible to participate in Buddhist rituals. In other words, to apply Western terms to the situation in Burma, they will be “shunned” or “excommunicated” by the religious clergy. They will have nowhere to go to worship. The monks’ goal is to punish the army for its actions. But I believe the boycott might lead to a split in the army, perhaps even at the top. Many thousands of soldiers regard Buddhism as their shield, as their protection against any kind of danger. Without their shield, they will be vulnerable and open to harm. They might not want to remain banished forever.

The result of the boycott might be a split in the army. In the past few days we have heard of troops refusing orders to shoot or beat monks. At the height of tension in the first week, sources close to the Army said the number two general, General Maung Aye, had been telling his close subordinates to exercise leniency. Sources also suggest several Army commanders may have been arrested for being too lenient or refusing to carry out the orders of General Than Shwe. The religious boycott might, therefore, in my opinion, further exacerbate the fissures that already exist inside the military. Both First Lady Laura Bush and Chairman Lantos last week encouraged the soldiers to think about their actions. Mrs. Bush called on them not to shoot the demonstrators but to “join the movement.” Chairman Tom Lantos added to this point by encouraging Burmese Army leaders who want to side with the democracy movement to choose this particular time to make their move. He said it would be a “turning point in history” if they did so.

What can the international community do? At the government-to-government level, everyone is waiting to see the results of UN Special Envoy Gambari’s discussions with General Than Shwe and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi earlier this week. It was good that he was allowed to see both of them and engage in a form of “shuttle diplomacy.” But so far there is not even the slightest hint of compromise on the part of the junta. The Burmese Foreign Minister’s speech to the United Nations confirmed that Burma will not heed the international community and will continue to seek its own path, no matter what. This is what is meant by the so-called “road map to democracy.” Mr. Gambari was even shown a public rally by supporters of the constitution drafted by the junta. There seems to be little or no hope that the junta will ever respond to the type of international pressure that has been brought to bear so far. Not even the United Nations makes a difference or even a small dent in the determination of the Burmese generals to ignore world opinion. Any effort on their part to “spin” international opinion by offering talks, visits or other window dressing designed to mislead everyone will not lead to change. For this reason, the US government has announced that it will intensify sanctions and has called on other key players – the EU, ASEAN, China and India – to join the effort to bring democracy to Burma. Meanwhile Burma cannot expect China to defend it as staunchly as usual against increasing international pressure. The junta will surely feel more and more pressured and isolated.

At the grass roots level, although the events in Burma were so ugly, they generated tremendous international attention and sympathy. The whole world was shocked by the violence. Fortunately, the world’s media was able to effectively communicate this sympathy and solidarity to the people of Burma. Not only international broadcasters but also famous newspapers, internet blogs, celebrities, religious leaders and millions of ordinary people around the world found ways to reach out and touch the people of Burma last week.

What we are doing at the Voice of America is to keep this communication going? We tell the world what is happening inside Burma. And we do our best to let all Burmese citizens know that they are not alone. We are proud to be able to empower the people of Burma with accurate news about how the world is responding to events inside Burma. We feel our reporting sustains the hope that they need to keep alive so that when their day finally arrives, they will prevail.

Thank you.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Show up and wear red

Just go and show your support for the people of Burma! There are two opportunities on Wednesday, October 3, 2007 in Washington, DC:

- Burma’s Saffron Revolution: Hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, 110th Congress, First Session (Time: 2:30 PM, Place: 419 The Dirksen Senate Office Building)

- Congressional Human Rights Caucus, Special Update: Burma (Time: 3:30 – 5:00 PM, Place: 2200 Rayburn House Office Building)

Details of both events, as received from the U.S. Campaign for Burma below:

"Jennifer Quigley, Burma Campaign" wrote:
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2007 16:20:41 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Jennifer Quigley, Burma Campaign"
Subject: Burma Friends in DC, MD, and VA: Help Us Tomorrow (Wed.) in

Dear all,
We are asking for all of our friends in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC to attend a hearing in the US Senate tomorrow (Wednesday) and help us fill the room with people wearing the color red. For the front row of the hearing room, we have printed dozens of t-shirts that demand UN Security Council action. We need 30 people to meet at the fountain in front of Union Station at 1:00 pm. We will give you t-shirts so that you can sit in the front row at the hearing so that the media cameras will see you with your t-shirts. From Union Station, we will all walk to the hearing together.

We need to know who the 30 people are right away -- so please email me at and let us know if you can be there. Bring your friends too. The hearing starts at 2:30 and we need to be there early to make sure we can get seats so be sure to be at Union Station at 1:00 if you want to help us wear the shirts.

If you can't be there early, show up on time but BE SURE TO WEAR A RED SHIRT IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE MONKS. LET’S PACK THE ROOM IN RED. You will still need to be there at least 45 minutes early so you can get a seat.

Other details on the hearing are below.

Jennifer Quigley
Advocacy Coordinator
U.S. Campaign for Burma
1444 N Street NW, Suite A 2
Washington, DC 20005
Ph: 202-234-8022
Fax: 202-234-8044




before the




Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Time: 2:30 PM
Place: 419 The Dirksen Senate Office Building

Presiding: Senator Boxer


Panel 1:

Mr. Scot Marciel
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Department of State

Ko Aung Din
Policy Director and Co-Founder
U.S. Campaign for Burma

Mr. Tom Malinowski
Washington Advocacy Director
Human Rights Watch

Mr. Michael Green
CSIS Japan Chair, former NSC Asia Director

Congressional Human Rights Caucus
Special Update:
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
3:30-5:00 p.m.
Room: 2200 Rayburn
Please join the Congressional Human Rights Caucus for a special update on the current situation in Burma. The briefing will be held on Wednesday, October 3, 2007, from 3:30 – 5 p.m. in room 2200 Rayburn HOB. The briefing is open to the public and the media.
The despicable crackdown on peaceful demonstrators in Burma last week and the current “silence of the graveyard” which the Burmese junta has imposed all over Burma has placed this country at the center of attention of the international community. Demonstrations following the cancellation of fuel subsidies in mid-August spread around the country and into the capital, culminated with 100,000 people marching for democracy on September 24. These peaceful demonstrations led by Buddhist monks and prominent democracy and human rights activists, became the largest expression of the desire of the Burmese people for democracy, human rights, and freedom since the massacre of thousands of protestors in 1988. In addition to democratic reform, the over 100,000 people demanded the immediate and unconditional release of 1991 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and that of all other political prisoners and religious leaders. Unfortunately, this heroic peaceful movement was brutally suppressed by a military crackdown that has killed over 200 protesters and left hundreds of people severely injured. Democracy and human rights groups further estimate that over 2,000 have been arrested, imprisoned, and/or tortured as part of this violent crackdown.
The Burmese people have long suffered under the oppressive rule of a military junta, which renamed itself from the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) to the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) in 1997. Following a military coup after the 1990 democratic elections, the victorious National League for Democracy (NLD) was not allowed to assume office, and NLD leader and Prime Minister-elect Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest. The military junta has turned this once thriving country into one of the world’s worst police states, in which Burmese citizens do not enjoy even the most basic human rights. Extrajudicial killings, rape, drug trafficking and attacks on ethnic minorities are common place. The Burmese press is state controlled and will only report the official government view.
The Burmese dictatorship has destroyed more than 3,000 villages and created 2 million displaced persons in the past decade and a half, creating strong international criticism. The Burmese military regime has caused such international concerns that it was placed on the permanent agenda of the United Nations Security Council and was subject to unusual public and harsh criticism by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
To discuss these important issues, we welcome as expert witnesses:
Bo Hla-Tint, National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma
Than Lwin Htun, Voice of America Burmese Service
Alex Arriaga, Amnesty International
Jennifer Quigley, U.S. Campaign for Burma
We look forward to seeing you at this important briefing. If you have any questions, please contact Sarah Burns (Rep. Lantos) at x5-3531 or Hilary Hosford (Rep. Wolf) at x5-5136. For media inquiries, please call Lynne Weil at x5-5021.


Hans Hogrefe
Senior Professional Staff Member -- Majority
House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Exec. Director, Congressional Human Rights Caucus
2170 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515
Direct: 202-225-4819; Cell: 202-316-3905; Fax: 202-225-2136

Meditate for Peace and Democracy in Burma

Welcome to the launching of the blog "By my hand and heart alone...".

We are deeply dismayed to see the military crackdown on Buddhist monks, nuns and other protestors in Burma. We want to show our solidarity with the Burmese people as they strive for freedom.

We intend to serve as a clearinghouse for information on the protests from a Buddhist perspective, and let individual citizens know what specific actions they can take to make a difference. Our main website is: .

We will use this blog to provide constant updates so that you may be informed of ways you can make a difference. You CAN make a difference. The following event has just been announced:

Meditate for Peace and Democracy in Burma

Thursday, October 4, 2007

5:00-8:00 pm

In Front of the Embassy of Myanmar

2300 S Street, NW, Washington DC 20008

Like many around the world, we are moved and shaken by the recent events in Burma. The poignant stories and scenes — peaceful demonstrations led by monks and nuns, protected by lay supporters, the use of brute force and violence by the military resulting in many deaths — have given rise to strong and often conflicting feelings of concern, hope, frustration and rage.

Amidst the turmoil of these powerful emotions, we feel an urgent need to look for ways to not only nurture compassion and loving kindness that brings peace to our own hearts and minds but also express solidarity with the people of Burma in their just struggle for peace and democracy.

Please join us in our Meditation for Peace and Democracy in Burma on Thursday October 4, 2007 in front of the Burmese embassy in Washington, DC. The meditation will focus on loving kindness, directed to:

· Honor the Buddhist monks and nuns who have taken leadership to end oppression and hardship under the military dictatorship

· Honor the many who lost their lives in their acts of courageous defiance

· Honor the hundreds who are injured, imprisoned, and tortured

· Show solidarity with the people of Burma in their noble cause

· Fill the hearts and minds of soldiers with compassion

· Free the constricted minds and hearts of the generals of destructive greed, insecurity, and fear

· Encourage the international community, particularly those nations that have influence with the Burmese generals, to do all in their power to help bring about peace and democracy in Burma

Please wear red/maroon shawl or covering and feel free to bring meditation cushions. We will provide mats, candles, and tea.


Thursday October 4, 2007


5:00 Gather in front of the Embassy of Myanmar

Lighting of Candles

5:30 Welcome statement

5:45 Meditation—Session I

6:30 Tea Break

6:45 Meditation—Session II

7:30 Closing

Contacts for the Event on October 4, 2007: Alex Ergo cell: 240-422-3039; Hnin Hnin Pyne: cell: 240-481-9805