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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Free Burma

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Related posts:
The mess that is Myanmar
Interfaith Prayers for Myanmar

Free Burma!

The world over, protests continue calling for democracy in Burma (renamed Myanmar by the SLORC), and for the end of the use of deadly force against its own people.

Malaysia is no different. Earlier today, Malaysiakini reported that about 1,500 protesters rallied outside the Burma embassy.

The group, including women and children, chanted pro-democracy slogans outside the barricaded Burma embassy before burning a poster bearing the portrait of Senior General Than Shwe.

Many carried posters saying: "End Violence on Monks," while others demanded "Death to Junta!"

(source: Malaysiakini - subscription required)

The riot police was close at hand as they usually are during protests such as these, and the report states that the rally was conducted peacefully, without any untoward incident.

Al-Jazeera this afternoon reported that as far as the UN is concerned, the recent visit to Burma by special envoy Ibrahim Gambari "cannot be called a success'. Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General said, however, that the envoy "delivered 'the strongest possible message' to the country's military rulers over its bloody crackdown on anti-government protests".
(more UN reaction, and what you can do, in the full post)

In the wake of violent action by government troops on protesters in Burma, the government had shut down Internet access in the country, and prohibited the press from reporting on any unrest.

Now, if you've been following myAsylum the past couple of days, you would have noticed that Walski has used the name Myanmar to refer to the country. But then, we refer to their citizens as Burmese and not Myanmarese. What gives?

Well, a quick look at Wikipedia will tell you that Burma was renamed Myanmar (or in full, The Union of Myanmar) by the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) on June 18, 1989. The SLORC was what the military government was then known as, changing its name to the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) in 1997. Linguistically, both names are valid - Bama or Bamar is the oral, colloqial name, while Myanma is the literary, written name in the Burmese language (source: Wikipedia).

In a way, calling the nation Myanmar in English, is in support of the SPDC, which is why some countries and agencies worldwide still refer to the country as Burma, which is what myAsylum chooses to call it from now on.

Why This Post?
Simply put, this is part of myAsylum's support for the Free Burma web campaign, where participants (blog or website owners) dedicate a post today - October 4th, 2007 - which has been declared International Bloggers' Day for Burma.

Since it will still be October 4th in many parts of the world for many more hours, Walski urges you to take part, if you can.