Many New Mandala readers have written to ask about ways they can show their solidarity for the current wave of protests in Burma and help exert pressure on both the Burmese and Chinese governments.
An electronic petition is now circulating widely. Its goal is 1 million signatures. It has been organised by the activist collective Avaaz.org. They are also providing information on upcoming protests in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Norway, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Information on those protests and the petition is available here.
The message that accompanies the petition is:
Burma’s generals have brought their brutal iron hand down on peaceful monks and protesters — but in response, a massive global outcry is gathering pace. The roar of global public opinion is being heard in hundreds of protests outside Chinese and Burmese embassies, people round the world wearing the monks’ color red, and on the internet–where our petition has exploded to over 200,000 signers in just 72 hours.
People power can win this. Burma’s powerful sponsor China can halt the crackdown, if it believes that its international reputation and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing depend on it. To convince the Chinese government and other key countries, Avaaz is launching a major global and Asian ad campaign on Wednesday, including full page ads in the Financial Times and other newspapers, that will deliver our message and the number of signers. We need 1 million voices to be the global roar that will get China’s attention. If every one of us forwards this email to just 20 friends, we’ll reach our target in the next 72 hours.
Please sign the petition – if you haven’t already – and forward this email to everyone you care about.
The pressure is working – already, there are signs of splits in the Burmese Army, as some soldiers refuse to attack their own people. The brutal top General, Than Shwe, has reportedly moved his family out of the country – he must fear his rule may crumble.
The Burmese people are showing incredible courage in the face of horror. We’re broadcasting updates on our effort over the radio into Burma itself – telling the people that growing numbers of us stand with them. Let’s do everything we can to help them – we have hours, not days, to do it. Please sign the petition and forward this email to at least 20 friends right now. Scroll down our petition page for details of times and events to join in the massive wave of demonstrations happening around the world at Burmese and Chinese embassies.
With hope and determination,
Ricken, Paul, Pascal, Graziela, Galit, Ben, Milena and the whole Avaaz Team