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Dear Friends,
I’m terribly sorry for being unable to send you an update over the past 4 days. Below please find the update from the Secretariat for October 5 - 9, 2007.

As we all know, it has made a big difference when the whole world witnessed on the pictures of brutal crackdowns by the military regime on unarmed monks and protesters on the television screen.

However, after these pictures and footages had reached around the world, the security forces nowadays are making sure that this does not happen again. They closely monitor both local and foreign travelers, sometimes even stopping people on the roads and searching cameras and cell phones. International access of internet inside Burma is still shut down.

There have been atrocious things happening in Burma but this time almost out of international radar for the world to witness. The detained people, monks, student leaders, and protesters inside are facing horrendous fate in detention centers, in jails and in hiding.

However, people still try to find ways to send out information. Eyewitness accounts reveal that hundreds of monks in these detention centers have been forcibly disrobed and tortured while hundreds of detainees have been transferred to distant places.

Raids and arrests continue on daily basis. At least 4 more youth activists have been arrested in Rangoon yesterday and today. About 400 people were arrested during the UN Special Envoy Mr. Gambaris visit. Large number of monks, novices and activists now are in hiding and running in fear of arrest and repercussion and we are gravely concerned of their situation.

There were also eyewitness accounts of about 80 people who were burnt during night time on September 29 at Yay-wae cemetery in a northern outskirt area of Rangoon. Most were dead bodies while a few were still-alive, including a pregnant woman. (An article in Sunday Time on this situation attached FYI).

This does not surprise me at all!!! I remember vividly that during the 1988 uprising after the September massacre, I had a chance to witness a video documentation of the same kind of situation where an unknown number of people both dead and still-alive were piled in a building under the dim light while a few men were talking to each other in this heavily-drunk voice that they were scared to burn those bodies.

Even writing this makes me feel so sick from my stomach. This is the most ruthless regime that has no hesitation at all to shoot and kill people — be peaceful protesters in the cities or be ethnic civilians in remote frontier areas.

We would like to urge all of you to stay alert and keep up with all these tremendous actions that you have already been organizing as Burma seriously needs your support at this critical time more than ever.

A few monks and people who have just fled to the border areas retold their stories with obvious trauma in their eyes and their body gestures.  As they related their stories a monk in his late 40s cried in disbelief how brutal the military regime and its thugs were.

The regime released a number of monks and demonstrators just before the UN Security Councils meeting last week usual action by the regime in order to buy time or prevent international pressure especially from the UN.

Meanwhile, it launched a major propaganda campaign in its attempts to mislead the world that the people support its sham national convention and oppose the peaceful protest movement by collecting people and holding mass rallies in some states and divisions, including Kachin State. There are reports of those who didnt want to go had to pay money to the authorities.

What is encouraging is that on October 6, about 200 Kachin youths in Maijayang, Kachin State rallied to express their discontent with the ceased-fire Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) for participating in the regime-sponsored public rally to support for the results of this sham national convention (NC).

It is apparent that people are looking for the opportunity to carry on with their movement as small defiant actions were seen in various parts of Rangoon during the past few days despite of the heavy security presence all over the city.

If the UN, ASEAN and other important players of the world are unable to intervene and the military regime continues to rule the country, social breakdown, economic meltdown and distrust among people will further be bred out and Burma will become a complete failed state.

Besides, the regime shows no intention to release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi from under house arrest until now.

In Solidarity,

Khin Ohmar
Coordinator, APPPB

Published: 2007-10-11

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