23 November 2008

Burma Eats Its Young

In a just world, the names Min Ko Naing and Ko Ko Gyi would be as well known as Steve Biko and Adam Michnik. These two leaders of Burma’s 88 Generation students, now in their forties, have spent almost their entire adult lives in prison for organizing pro-democracy demonstrations. After a short period of freedom, between 2005 and 2007, they and their colleagues were jailed again for staging a long walk around Rangoon, in August of 2007, in protest of soaring transportation prices—a gesture that sparked the so-called Saffron Revolution, the largest demonstrations in Burma since 1988, both times put down in blood. [. . .]
That is the opening paragraph of this brief notice George Packer posted at The New Yorker on Friday. As he points out, this new 'trial' and the 65 years in prison that the regime has imposed on Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, and their compatriots amount to an unambiguous 'F#*K YOU!!' from the Burmese Junta to anyone and everyone urging them to 'reform.' Of course, Packer starts out on the wrong foot. In a just world we would not have regimes that imprisoned and killed dissidents

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