September 26, 2007

Support Burmese Monks?

Hello. A fresh new academic year and a fresh new author for the ICA monksblog. I’m the treasurer of the ICA [International Current Affairs] discussion society also the one responsible for maintaining the blog. We in the ICA society holds weekly meetings (in S0.13, Wednesdays at 2pm) to discuss for an hour about the passing week’s current affairs, followed by going for a drink at the Graduate. We normally have a newsletter written out with a brief outline of the three top topics of the passing week’s news, which we then email out to all our members a couple of days before the meeting. If you enjoy discussing current affairs, politics, or whatever, please feel free to pop in any time.

Most weeks I will post some topic on this blog that will nearly always be able political current affairs. To start this trend off its about the Burmese monks. As most of the front pages of newspapers have shown, the past few weeks has seen escalating protests in Burma against the dictatorship. On Monday there were 100,000 people protesting. This was sparked off on 15th August when the government doubled fuel prices. This led to protests. The government cracked down, harming three monks. This eventually led to tens of thousands of monks protesting. This induced others to join them. Widely unpopular, could this see the beginning of the end for the dictatorship?

Problem is, however, that this has happened before. In 1988 there was mass protests, government cracked down by killing 3,000 people. Many speculate that history will repeat itself. Gordon Brown has threatened to impose sanctions on the Burmese dictatorship if they do. But the US at least have already been doing this since 2003, and to no effect. Indeed do sanctions even work? They haven’t in North Korea or Iran. Is there anything more active we can do? Or are we so far away that there is nothing practical we can do, we just have to talk about it as we passively watch events unfold?

- 4 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Andrea

    Let me just say that is appalling that this is the only post about what is happening in Burma appearing on warwick blogs as of sept. 27th, 2007. This text has been circulating around the world:
    In support of our incredibly brave friends in Burma: May all people around the world wear red shirt on Friday 28. Please forward!»

    28 Sep 2007, 00:32

  2. arizona insurance broker, agent

    I agree with Andrea. What a tragedy down there. Some of these nations continue getting support elsewhere even while we impose sanctions. It has to be a unified international event. Still, the people most hurt are still the ones we want to help. What’s the solution?

    28 Sep 2007, 02:43

  3. What surprises me is that the trigger of these protests that encompass the whole political situation of Burma was trigged by a typically banal issue of fuel prices. Though on the other hand, perhaps these things need such a trigger to gain the momentum we have seen over the past few days. Worryingly, it is momentum that appears to be slowing. From the few reports from within Burma, the monks have disappeared from the streets, leaving the civilian protesters significantly more open to violence by the security services. I don’t think we will see the same reaction by the regime as in the 80s, but I feel that more blood will be shed.

    29 Sep 2007, 12:09

  4. FYI, the room this year is S0.18 from week 3 onwards (no room available on week 2, though we will probably meet in the pub)

    29 Sep 2007, 12:12

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