Friday, October 5, 2007

Genocide in Burma?

On CNN's "In the field" page -- where you can find a video of protestors getting beaten by troops -- correspondent Dan Rivers addresses a question that's been on my mind:
. . . But what depresses me most is seeing those protesters loaded quietly into the trucks. . . Where were they taken? What happened next? If the soldiers were willing to beat them in public, what would they do behind a prison wall?

And now the “G” word has made its first appearance in the deluge of e-mails I am receiving about Myanmar. It was not from a hysterical activist, but from a senior editor in CNN, wondering if genocide is now under way in Myanmar. The terrible thought, had been sparked by an upsetting e-mail from a monk, claiming to have witnessed hundreds of monks being beaten to death at a monastery. Genocide is defined as the deliberate and systematic destruction of an ethnic, religious or national group. It's the sort of definition that is pedantically debated in the U.N., while people are slaughtered in the world's trouble-spots.

Myanmar's Buddhist monks are now noticeably absent from the streets. Worried residents have contacted us saying the monks have all but disappeared in some parts of Yangon. Some are concerned they are being massacred, away from the camera-phones and bloggers who have kept the world informed about what’s going on. It’s a claim that, at present, is impossible to prove; impossible to believe even . . .
Impossible to prove, yes. Impossible to believe? Not any longer. A few days ago Jotman began tracking accounts of a monk massacres on this page. They are adding up.

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