February 13, 2008

Burma Report Back

From Avaaz.org:
Avaaz Members Donate over $325,000 to the Burmese Democracy Movement

"Thank you indeed from friends in need." - Dr. Naing Aung, Secretary-General, Forum for Democracy in Burma

Background: People Power vs. The Generals
Petition delivery to Gordon Brown

For decades, the nation of Burma has been ruled by a corrupt and brutal military dictatorship. Despite the awful risks, the Burmese people have repeatedly peacefully demonstrated in the streets, led in spirit by their last democratically elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, a woman who has been under house arrest for years.
Last fall, in the face of desperate poverty and continued repression, Burmese monks marched with hundreds of thousands of others asking for change. The world responded with a global outcry of solidarity.
Avaaz members responded in force, with 835,610 of us signing a petition calling on China and the UN Security Council powers to stop a military crackdown on the protests. Avaaz members endorsed and funded a global ad campaign targeting Chinese support for the Burmese military, and organized and joined in hundreds of protests and rallies around the world on October 6th. Avaaz members in Singapore successfully lobbied their foreign minister to deny the Burmese generals easy investment and vacation opportunities, and European Avaaz members lobbied their governments to strengthen economic sanctions.

Reasons for Hope:

  1. The protests last fall brought a whole new generation of nonviolent activistsinto politics. Hundreds of thousands of new people are eager to take up the cause.
  2. The brutality against monks, revered by all Burmese, was the last straw for the Burmese generals. They have now lost all legitimacy whatsoever with the people -- they are holed up in a jungle capital and rule by force of terror alone.
  3. There are signs of dissension within the Burmese military, as some senior officers refused to crack down on the protesters.
  4. International pressure remains steady. The Junta has been pressured, by the UN Security Council and by China, into fast tracking their (flawed) plan for democratization, and have announced a constitutional referendum to be held in May.
  5. 2008 is going to be a big year for the Burmese democracy movement. Plans are being made, the movement is thinking big and planning its return.

People Power Can Make a Difference



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