The Arakan FBR team has reported widespread famine in this area of western Burma. The price of rice in Arakan State has jumped from 140 to 870 kyats per kilogram in the last year. This is partly due to widespread destruction of crops in the last year from an influx of rats. Schools have had to shut down and farmers have been forced to abandon their failed farms to search for food. Thousands of people are starving.
Since earliest childhood I had the dream of being a movie star. I wanted to be rich and famous. When I read that Elvis had to rent out an amusement park, just so he wouldn’t get mobbed by his fans, I said, “that is exactly how famous I want to be.” I am still not there. Occasionally my family recognizes me, and I do get fan mail from people I owe money to, but I am more famous this year than last year. Since leaving the world of finance behind me in New York, I have published five books. I do get fan mail every single day, but usually only one or two pieces. I earn book royalties and magazine story fees, but not even enough to afford the concrete bunker I was living in the Philippines.
When night falls in Rangoon, the city's spectacular decay—patches of black mold devouring the yellowed walls of colonial buildings, trees growing wildly into crumbling third-story terraces—nearly disappears from view. The tea shops fill up, locals crowd the bookstalls on Pansodan Road, and the city, which seems furtive and depressed by day, becomes a communal stage. In the Chinatown district, two men in an alley crank out schoolbooks with a hand-operated printing press. At a sidewalk fish market, women sell shrimp, scallops, and squid by candlelight, while two teen-agers nearby strum guitars. Further east, along the Rangoon River, in the old residential quarter of Pazundaung, the wooden houses are open to the street, like storefronts, revealing an old woman sitting on a couch, a living-room shrine strewn with votive candles, and two men laughing as they listen to a radio.
On 8 May 2008, in Ho Hae Village, the Chairman of the Village Peace and Development Council forced 250 villagers to vote "yes" for the new constitution drafted by the SPDC. The chairman voted yes for all villagers who did not know how to vote. Ho Hae Village is in Maing Khon village group, Kyaing Township, eastern Shan State. Earlier, on 20 April, five villagers voted "yes" for 1350 villagers in Maing Inn Village group by the order of the Chairman of the Village Peace and Development Council in Kyaing Ton Township, eastern Shan State.
The year 2007 represented a turbulent year in the history of Burma. It was a year in which we witnessed people from all walks of life coming together in the largest public display of dissatisfaction with the military regime in almost 20 years. Regrettably, it was also a year in which we witnessed the brutal and bloody crackdown on those peaceful protests, including the unforgivable and unforgettable attacks on and killings of Buddhist monks. In reference to the colour of the robes worn by the monks, the international media named this peaceful mass movement the “Saffron Revolution”. These protests represented the biggest demonstrations conducted in Burma since the popular democratic uprising of 8.8.88.
We, United Nationalities Alliance (UNA), have the honour to present this letter of suggestions to help you think out of the effectiveness of your good offices mandate and efforts for restoration of democracy and reconstruction of national reconciliation in Burma (Myanmar). Our organization (UNA) is a coalition alliance of (12) ethnic political parties which have contested and won (67) seats altogether in 1990 general elections. The political objective of our organization (UNA) is to set up a genuine Federal Union in which democracy, equality, self-determination and human rights are prevailed among all nationalities.
* Another Landmark EarthRights International Case Goes to Trial
* Congratulations to the EarthRights Burma School Class of 2008!
* ERI Speaks Out Against Chevron's Attempts to Lobby the White House in an Effort to Escape Liability for Toxic Pollution of Ecuadorian Amazon
* Latest Cyclone Nargis Update
* ERI in the News: Katie Redford Discusses How Foundation Support Catalyzed the Earth Rights Movement
* Upcoming this Fall . . .
The Burma Bulletin is a short month in review of events in Burma, particularly those of interest to the democracy movement and human rights activists.
In the August 2008 issue you will find: * August crackdown * 8-8-8 Demonstrations * Cyclone Nargis aid * Ojea Quintana's visit * Gambari's visit * Food shortages * Other Burma news * List of Reports * Much more...