All entries for September 2007

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?

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