PHOTO: Japanese journalist, Kenji Nagai for AFP lying wounded from a gunshot on a street in Yangon, Burma while a soldier stands over him. Kenji later died at a local hospital. This picture should be spread far and wide.
Source: Mizzima news (www.mizzima.com), September 27, 2007
Latest reports indicate that the military junta have stepped up the crackdown. Hundreds of monks have been arrested, many forcibly taken from their monasteries. Sounds of beating and cries of pain are heard from within the walls of the monasteries. Near the Sule Pagoda, Rangoon tear gas were fired to disperse protestors gathered around that place.Thousands of protestors have emptied the streets of Yangon after 200 soldiers and police ordered them to go home or risk being shot. Pockets of people remained on balconies and bridges, as soldiers and police worked systematically through the city centre to ensure that no protesters remained. At least 100 people were arrested and thrown into military trucks after the ultimatum. Security forces had earlier fired warning shots, but the crowd only broke up after soldiers issued their warning.
James: I hope the movement stays strong despite the horrific actions by the dictatorship. If they crack down in Yangon then I say move the protests to another town and on and on. The military can not be everywhere. Some reports have stated that people can be heard yelling, "Give us freedom, give us freedom!!"
In other news, it appears that a Japanese journalist was murdered in the latest round of violence.
Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said Tokyo held Myanmar "strictly" accountable for Nagai's death. The 50-year-old journalist had been covering the protests in Yangon since Tuesday, APF representative Toru Yamaji said in Japan.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said Japan will lodge a protest with Myanmar, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said. "We strongly protest the Myanmar government and demand an investigation" into the death, Machimura was quoted as saying by the official, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, as saying. "We demand (Myanmar) take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of the Japanese citizens in that country."
Japan will send Deputy Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka to Myanmar to protest Nagai's death, said Tomohiko Taniguchi, a deputy press secretary traveling with Komura in Washington.
He told AP that the "situation is intolerable," and Japan "cannot accept the brutality" of what happened to Nagai.I urge my Japanese readers to write/phone your political and religious leaders to speak out on this tragedy.
It also appears that despite its public stance of non-intervention in Burma's politics, China (the "Myanmar" junta's closest ally) is quietly working behind the scenes to calm tensions:
BEIJING, China (AP) -- China has gently urged Myanmar's military rulers to ease the strife that has seen tens of thousands take to the streets in protest, diplomats said Tuesday, even as Beijing said publicly it would stick to a hands-off approach toward its neighbor. China's political and economic interests in Myanmar are spurring it to act, diplomats and experts said. With an Olympics in Beijing next year already bringing China heightened scrutiny, Chinese leaders are likely loath to be associated with another repressive, unpopular regime. Criticism from foreign governments and international activist groups already have caused Beijing to pare back lending to Zimbabwe and put pressure on Sudan to accept a U.N. peacekeeping force for Darfur.
Democracy campaigners in Myanmar took note of the success of the Darfur activists, who warned the games would be tarnished as the "Genocide Olympics" if Beijing did not act, said David Mathieson, Burma consultant for Human Rights Watch.
"China has made some significant concessions recently on its links to Sudan, but it hasn't gone that far on its links with Burma," said Mathieson. "If things heat up on the border, that's not going to look good for China in the lead-up to the Olympics at all."James: That being said, China could do a lot more but it's a start. On a related topic, I found the following impassioned plea by American actor Jim Carey regarding Burma and Aung San Suu Kyi inspiring:
James: Reader of this blog, Ladona (thanks for pointing this out) mentioned in the comments of my last post about a petition we can sign titled, Stand with the People of Burma. It will be sent to Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations.
Other Hollywood stars are also speaking out. They urge the U.N. Secretary General to personal intervene.
In closing, In this dark hour I have decided to recite (or read) the metta sutra at least once a day to unite with the people of Burma. It is the sutra that the monks have been chanting during their peaceful protests. I have a version of the sutra on my profile, on the right hand side of the screen but I'm going to post it here as well:
"He or she who wants to attain peace should practice being upright, humble, and capable of using loving speech. He or she will know how to live simply and happily, with senses calmed, without being covetous and carried away by the emotions of the majority. Let him or her not do anything that will be disapproved of by the wise ones.
"(And this is what he or she contemplates): May everyone be happy and safe, and may their hearts be filled with joy.
"May all living beings live in Security and in Peace beings who are frail or strong, tall or short, big or small, visible or not visible, near or far away, already born or yet to be born. May all of them dwell in perfect tranquility.
"Let no one do harm to anyone. Let no one put the life of anyone in danger. Let no one, out of anger or ill will, wish anyone any harm.
"Just as a mother loves and protects her only child at the risk of her own life, we should cultivate Boundless Love to offer to all living beings in the entire cosmos. We should let our boundless love pervade the whole universe, above, below and across. Our love will know no obstacles, our heart will be absolutely free from hatred and enmity. Whether standing or walking, sitting or lying, as long as we are awake, we should maintain this mindfulness of love in our own heart. This is the noblest way of living.
Free from wrong views, greed and sensual desires, living in beauty and realizing Perfect Understanding, those who practice Boundless Love will certainly transcend Birth and Death."
---- Metta Sutta (Suttanipata 1) from the Plum Village Chanting Book
~Peace to all beings~