Thursday, October 4, 2007

Are mass killings taking place in Burma?

"Where have all the monks gone?" asked the US Ambassador to Rangoon today. We have reports of monk round-ups; reports of monks being sent off to far away detention centres. There are also reports of monks being killed in mass executions. This issue is of the greatest concern, and we should address it as carefully as possible. Did such killings take place? Did the Myanmar junta issue directives to exterminate monks?

The defecting general says he refused to take part in a plan to kill "several hundred monks." He also indicated quite clearly that orders had been issued to this effect:
"I knew the plan to beat and shoot the monks and if I stayed on, I would have to follow these orders. "
Sophie Lwin wrote on her Facebook page, "We just got phone call with our sister living in Yangon about a few hours ago. We saw on BBC world, saying that 200 monks were arrested. The true picture is far worse!!!!!!!!!" She continues:

For one instance, the monastery at an obscure neighborhood of Yangon, called Ngwe Kyar Yan (on Wei-za-yan-tar Road, Yangon) had been raided early this morning.A troop of lone-tein (riot police comprised of paid thugs) protected by the military trucks, raided the monastery with 200 studying monks. They systematically ordered all the monks to line up and banged and crushed each one's head against the brick wall of the monastery. One by one, the peaceful, non resisting monks, fell to the ground, screaming in pain. Then, they tore off the red robes and threw them all in the military trucks (like rice bags) and took the bodies away. . . .

When all is done, only 10 out of 200 remained alive, hiding in the monastery. Blood stained everywhere on the walls and floors of the monastery.

Lwin's sister's account is very detailed, which suggests to me it's not just rumor being repeated. So we have two reports, neither by any measure confirmed, but eerily similar. I'll post any others I come across.

One other point: note Lwin was objecting to the extreme understatement of a BBC account of events. Scroll down to the next post and you will read how the defecting general's comments were toned-down in the BBC's account as well. What's going on here with the BBC?

The Daily Mail article seems to point to a 3rd reported masscre of monks (assuming it is not a different version of either of the above incidents). Swedish diplomat Liselotte Agerlid is quoted as saying:
"People are scared and the general assessment is that the fight is over. We were informed from one of the largest embassies in Burma that 40 monks in the Insein prison were beaten to death today and subsequently burned."
So there we have it: Three reports detailing the mass executions of monks. One report that the junta has ordered the extermination of prisoners. And many reports that monks have "disappeared" or are being moved to far away concentration camps. Put the reports together and you have a nightmare scenerio occuring in Burma at this moment.

Update 1 (10/05/07): CNN has received "an upsetting e-mail from a monk, claiming to have witnessed hundreds of monks being beaten to death at a monastery." That makes four reports.

Update 2 (10/08/07): "Some of the worst violence appears to have occurred at the Mwe Kya Jan monastery in northwest Rangoon. According to graphic testimony published in yesterday’s Thai newspapers, the soldiers lined the monks up against a wall and smashed each of their shaven heads against the wall in succession. The monks were roughed up and thrown into trucks, but the abbot was so severely beaten that he died on the spot, the reports claimed." (Sunday Times).

2 comments:

  1. I am writing to you to ask for your help with the dontforgetburma.org campaign. I would like to ask you to please put this campaign up on your blog if you don't mind. We created this site because we wanted a space where normal people could show that although the media spotlight over Burma may have dimmed, we are still thinking of Burma.

    The team that runs this site came together through the "Support the Monks' Protest in Burma " Facebook group (439,000 members) and has created the website www.burma-watch.org .

    We're a team of activists from around the world that work around the clock on our sites, we were key to coordinating the Global Day of Action for Burma on October 6th 2007 and Aung Sang Suu Kyi day (October 24th 2007).

    We'd like to thank our launch partners who have helped make this project work., they are: Burma Campaign UK, The US Campaign for Burma, Avaaz.org, the European Burma Network and wearenotafraid.com .

    Sincerely,
    Sophie


    Sophie Lwin
    Phoenix, Arizona
    sophiel444@msn.com
    623-703-0110
    BURMA GLOBAL ACTION NETWORK
    http://burma-watch.org
    DON'T FORGET BURMA CAMPAIGN
    http://www.dontforgetburma.org
    U.S. CAMPAIGN FOR BURMA, ARIZONA CHAPTER
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=5584384651
    http://www.myspace.com/uscampaignforburmaaz
    SUPPORT THE MONK'S PROTEST IN BURMA
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=24957770200
    ADDITIONAL BURMA INFO. (PERSONAL):
    http://sophielwin.blogspot.com
    http://groups.myspace.com/helpfreeburma

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am writing to you to ask for your help with the dontforgetburma.org campaign. I would like to ask you to please put this campaign up on your blog if you don't mind. We created this site because we wanted a space where normal people could show that although the media spotlight over Burma may have dimmed, we are still thinking of Burma.

    The team that runs this site came together through the "Support the Monks' Protest in Burma " Facebook group (439,000 members) and has created the website www.burma-watch.org .

    We're a team of activists from around the world that work around the clock on our sites, we were key to coordinating the Global Day of Action for Burma on October 6th 2007 and Aung Sang Suu Kyi day (October 24th 2007).

    We'd like to thank our launch partners who have helped make this project work., they are: Burma Campaign UK, The US Campaign for Burma, Avaaz.org, the European Burma Network and wearenotafraid.com .

    Sincerely,
    Sophie


    Sophie Lwin
    Phoenix, Arizona
    sophiel444@msn.com
    623-703-0110
    BURMA GLOBAL ACTION NETWORK
    http://burma-watch.org
    DON'T FORGET BURMA CAMPAIGN
    http://www.dontforgetburma.org
    U.S. CAMPAIGN FOR BURMA, ARIZONA CHAPTER
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=5584384651
    http://www.myspace.com/uscampaignforburmaaz
    SUPPORT THE MONK'S PROTEST IN BURMA
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=24957770200
    ADDITIONAL BURMA INFO. (PERSONAL):
    http://sophielwin.blogspot.com
    http://groups.myspace.com/helpfreeburma

    ReplyDelete

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