Thursday, October 25, 2007

Avaaz newsletter - Burma

Dear Avaaz member,

What Avaaz members have done so far:

789,479 petition signatures, hand-delivered to UK Prime Minister and UN Security Council member Gordon Brown. (Video here.)

$315,000 raised for the Burmese democracy movement.

33,403 emails to EU leaders urging targeted sanctions.

1,952 messages sent to Singapore's Foreign Minister George Yeo.

100+ protests in cities worldwide against the Burmese regime.

1 global ad campaign, including a full-page ad in the Financial Times pushing China to act.

If they haven't yet, ask friends to
sign the petition
Burma's streets are quiet--no mass demonstrations, no riot police. But the calm is an illusion. Change is coming to Burma, and we are all a part of it.

Here's where we stand: The regime has massacred, tortured, and intimidated its critics at home, and continues its night arrests and brutal interrogations. But while it has momentarily silenced the domestic opposition, its attacks on the revered Buddhist monks ignited an anger amongst the Burmese people that cannot be extinguished. Contacts inside Burma tell us that the demonstrators are steadily regrouping, even in the face of the deadly crackdown.

And around the world, the roar has grown deafening--so powerful that governments are scrambling for ways to bring new pressure to bear on the junta. Government leaders and the media have publicly credited the outcry of global civil society. Look at the statistics in the box on the right to see how, working alongside allies around the world, Avaaz members have begun to make a difference.

Many Burmese members of Avaaz have written in. Here's a note from one of them--Trisa, now living abroad:

I am one of the 8888 uprising generation. Since the September uprising in Burma, I can't get good night sleep. I can't contact my remaining families and friends if they are ok... The voice of the world is very powerful. I have heartfelt thank you for all the supporters. Your voice can change our lives!

And here's a note from an Avaaz member, Lynn in London, who joined a group of Burmese monks to hand-deliver the Avaaz petition--contained in a big red box--to UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, on the steps of 10 Downing Street last week:

When I put my hand on the red box, which held the 753,000 signatures from around the world collected by Avaaz, I imagined the outrage of the many people from every country in the world, every culture, every race, and every religion, contained within this box which was about to be presented to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. I thought about what it might mean for these Burmese monks whose religious brothers far away had been hurt and mistreated by the crackdown, to know that in every country in the world, people were supporting them.

And here's what May Ng, a Burmese writer, editorialized on the news site Mizzima after seeing our petition:

As their voices have been heard and their faces have been seen, Aung San Suu Kyi and the people of Burma will no longer be alone., whose mission is to ensure that the views and values of the world's people shape global decisions, will make sure that Burmese people will have a voice over their own fate from now on.

Avaaz will share the struggle of the Burmese people until the struggle is won. Our goals are constant: transition, dialogue, reconciliation, and democracy. We will also continue to take action together on many urgent issues, from climate change to peace in the Middle East to human rights--but we will not turn from the cause of the Burmese people. We believe that every human life has equal value, whether in Berlin, Beijing or Rangoon.

As Aung San Suu Kyi once urged, we will use our freedom to promote theirs.

With hope,

Ben, Ricken, Paul, Galit, Graziela, Iain, Sarah, Pascal, and Milena--the Avaaz team

PS: 52 years ago today, the UN charter enshrined "the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples." Twelve years ago today, Aung San Suu Kyi was imprisoned. And today, in key cities around the world, protesters held a new wave of protests; the first shipment of supplies, paid for by Avaaz members, left for Burma--and the junta agreed to re-admit Ibrahim Gambari, the U.N. envoy who is working to build a dialogue between the regime and the opposition, earlier than previously announced. It's been a long struggle, but the most important ones always are.

PPS: If your friends haven't yet signed the petition, urge them to sign at:

PPPS: Some further reading:

Voices from within Burma:

Avaaz's Paul Hilder "People Power can win":

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