Saturday, September 29, 2007

If you read or listen only to the mass media in article such as this you may be under the impression that the recent uprising of the people of Burma has already been thoroughly crushed by the military rulers. Protests in Rangoon (Yangon) have indeed diminished as the military exercises brutal repression against anyone foolhardy enough to confront them and moves to restrict the monks who have been leading the most recent protests to their monasteries. Yet protests continue in other cities and outlying areas. If you believe mass media reports such as the one linked above then you would think that the Burmese people have surrendered to despair and have taken refuge in a fantasy of American intervention. The reporters for the Associated Press based in neighbouring Bangkok, Thailand actually managed to find 3rd or 4th hand "quote", transmitted by rumour, to back up their assertions. Yet, in the same country in which they are based there is a website/magazine run by Burmese exiles that continues to provide up to date information of what is actually happening within Burma.
The Irrawaddy magazine/website is run by exiled Burmese from a base in Thailand. It continues to transmit news despite cyber attacks from the Burmese government. According to what they report from day to day the protests are still continuing, and there are signs of weakness in Burma's military junta. How far this will go is still anybody's guess, but it is far cry from what the American media have tried to portray. Perhaps there is indeed a few demented souls in Burma, enough to count on the fingers of one hand, who believe that their only hope is some white knight riding to the rescue from that pure and is interested country, the USA. Hardly anybody outside of the USA believes such nonsense, and only a minority within the USA believe it.
The Irrawaddy came under cyber attack from persons unknown, undoubtedly connected to the military rulers, who flooded their original site with viruses. They have established a backup site at . Molly actually has to tell a story here in connection with the reliability of the mass media. I had more than a little trouble finding this site because I began from references in the mass media who referred to the site with a DOT.ORG tag. Stop and ponder for a minute. These "news" organizations have hundreds of employees, some of which are supposed to be "fact checkers". They "check" what they publish so "thoroughly" that they can't even catch web connections that don't work. Molly is one person who works a 60 hour week at other matters. These people are supposed to have verification as their real and true job. If they can't catch simple mistakes how reliable are they in terms of other "news" that may be pure and simple fantasy, written on a napkin at a bar in Bangkok ?
In other news the Burmese junta has engaged in an act of what can only be described as pure and simple childish malevolence. They have stopped or restricted the delivery of UN food aid to half a million people, many of them children. This is an act of petty spite, probably connected to the arrival of the UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari in the country today. The envoy was whisked from Rangoon to the military's new "show capital" at the remote town/fortress of Naypitaw soon after he arrived. It's more than possible that the willingness of the military to let their own people starve is a show of force to the UN.
Also in other news the internet within Burma came on briefly for a few hours today despite the military's blackout. The window of opportunity lasted only a few hours. hard to say what happened there. Sabotage from dissident members of the military ? Simple incompetence ? Who knows.
In addition to the site that Molly mentioned, which has apparently received 22 million hits in the last two weeks, here are a few more sources for information from Burma and the international solidarity movement with its people.
Burma Forum Canada
Canadian Friends of Burma (has information on solidarity actions in Canada)
Federation of Trade Unions-Burma
Prospect Burma (student oriented)
See also the links provided here on Molly's Blog a few days ago when I last blogged on this subject .

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