I have just returned to my dorm, after going on a bus to a medical appointment. Inside the bus, there was a news clip of the clampdown on protesters in Burma. All I could hear on the broadcast were ordinary citizens yelling ‘Myitta po gya ba’–‘send your love’–to the protesters.
I am speechless. What has been romantically called the “Saffron Revolution” is a far cry from the news I am reading right now. What began as a series of nonviolent marches, civilians and monks alike, is fast becoming violent. Just yesterday, over 150,000 protesters marched in Rangoon, with many calling for United Nations intervention, for fear of a violent crackdown. The UN News Center states this:
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced today he is sending his Special Envoy dealing with Myanmar to the region in response to the deteriorating situation in the Asian nation, and once again urged authorities there to respond to the ongoing peaceful protests with utmost restraint.
What took so long to act? Rumors of a violent crackdown have been making headlines for days. Burma’s ruling military does not listen to the words of its fellow countrymen. And violence is now almost synonymous with the State Peace and Development Council. There have been historical precedents. It was my wishful thinking, that Burma now had to heed the advice of fellow countries like China, that led me to believe there would be no violent ending.
Several monks have already been killed. Godspeed to them. As a Buddhist, as a Burmese, as a human, there is nothing more discomforting in the world than knowing that mankind may have been able to prevent this….