21 June 08 Soldiers told the time is right to topple junta
June 21, 2008 03:54am
The day represents 8808 and is a significant number in a country driven by numerology and astrology.
Flyers being distributed inside Burma appeal to the foot soldiers of the military junta to turn on their overseers.
The date is strategic because the Olympic Games opens in Beijing on that day.
This links with efforts by American activists to make the Olympics a focal point of protests against oppression in Burma.
The US Campaign For Burma wants to rally one million citizens around the world to boycott television broadcasts of the Olympics unless China ends its support for Burma’s military regime.
The 8808 appeal is a powerful message for dispossessed and poorly paid Burmese soldiers working in hostile environments.
Entry into the Burmese armed forces previously consolidated a family’s future, ensured education, healthcare and a decent living in a very poor country. Now it does not.
The Democratic Alliance of Burma general-secretary Kyaw Nyunt said August 8 was an opportunity for the people of Burma to seek the justice they had been denied for decades.
At a recent meeting on the Thai-Burma border, he urged the soldiers to return to their barracks on August 8 and allow the people to protest.
Myint Thein, a Burmese exile living in The Netherlands and visiting northern Thailand to distribute aid for Cyclone Nargis survivors. said he hoped the national day of action would help the Burmese soldiers do what was right.
The military regime has been condemned worldwide for its slow response to Cyclone Nargis on May 2, which left 78,000 people dead and another 56,000 missing. In the wake of the disaster, the State and Peace and Development Council refused Western aid and then extended the house arrest of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
In the US, First Lady Laura Bush also has been a sharp critic of human rights abuses in Burma.
Her lead was followed yesterday by Cindy McCain, the wife of Republican presidential candidate John McCain. She attacked the military junta and vowed to make Burmese human rights a priority if she became America’s next first lady.
The United Nations World Food Program in Thailand was yesterday expected to brief Ms McCain about its work in Burma.
“It’s just a terrible group of people that rule the country, and the frightening part is that their own people are dying of disease and starvation and everything else and it doesn’t matter,” she said yesterday in Vietnam, while working with a charity that helps children born with facial deformities.
“I don’t understand how human life doesn’t matter to somebody. But clearly, it doesn’t matter to them.”
Ms McCain said she had visited Burma twice, once to meet Ms Suu Kyi who has lived 12 of the past 18 years in detention, but wasn’t planning a third trip because she believed the regime would deny her a visa.
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