Myanmar is the name invented 18 years ago by the benighted junta, known as SLORC* back then and the State Peace and Development Council now, when it seized power through force. When Westerners say "Myanmar," they're not being culturally respectful to the people of a beautiful but oppressed nation. (We don't call China Zhongguo or Germany Deutschland just because the locals do.) They're bowing to the whims of the generals who still imprison Aung San Suu Kyi.Blacklisted Buddhists: According to Burma-based Mizzima News, junta police are out in full force in Rangoon carrying photos that identify participants in last week's peaceful protests. They're arresting on sight any demonstrators they find.
Whitewashing Atrocity: William Drenttel at Design Observer shares photos he took in 1989, a few months after the bloody military coup that put the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) in power. One shot in particular captures the spirit of the junta: "After the uprising, the military regime decided to cleanse the country, and many temples were whitewashed in December 1988-January 1989." The image at top shows paint overspray after a temple had been sprayed white. Which leads to this obvious question:
BINO (Buddhists in Name Only): Myat Thu Pan writes, "I was asked by an American friend, 'Burma is a Buddhist country. Why are the soldiers shooting innocent monks and people? Aren't Buddhists supposed to be non-violent?' My answer was, 'They are soldiers first and Buddhists last.'"
The Good Buddhist: Hundreds of monks are trying to flea Rangoon after hundreds more have been imprisoned. The junta says ten people were killed in the police response to the peaceful demonstrations, but the BBC says the figure is "many times higher." Meanwhile, an officer in the junta has defected to Thailand. He said, "I knew the plan to beat and shoot the monks and if I stayed on, I would have to follow these orders. Because I'm a Buddhist, I did not want to kill the monks."
Symbols of Solidarity: October 4 is International Bloggers Day for Burma