A UN envoy met Myanmar’s detained democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and leaders of the ruling junta Sunday, as he tried to broker an end to a bloody crackdown on anti-government protests.
Ibrahim Gambari met with Aung San Suu Kyi for more than an hour, the UN said in a statement. The rare encounter, seen as a sign of intense pressure on the regime, took place at a government guest house in the main city of Yangon. [complete article]
As they marched through the streets of Myanmar’s cities last week leading the biggest antigovernment protests in two decades, some barefoot monks held their begging bowls before them. But instead of asking for their daily donations of food, they held the bowls upside down, the black lacquer surfaces reflecting the light.
It was a shocking image in the devoutly Buddhist nation. The monks were refusing to receive alms from the military rulers and their families — effectively excommunicating them from the religion that is at the core of Burmese culture.
That gesture is a key to understanding the power of the rebellion that shook Myanmar last week. [complete article]
The military crackdown on Burma’s monk-led opposition has emptied the streets and removed hope of regime change… for now. But dissent continues to seep out via the internet and from the army rank and file [complete article]
The UN’s special envoy, Ibrahim Gambari, has arrived in Burma. It is not his first visit, but it needs to be more successful than the previous ones. It must result in a dialogue involving the junta, the opposition democracy movement led by Aung San Suu Kyi, and other ethnic leaders. Such talks are the key.
If parts of the international community feel powerless, they shouldn’t. All that the people of Burma are asking of them is to speak with one voice. If this junta has survived for the past 19 years maltreating its people, it is partly because it has exploited international divisions. [complete article]