Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Video shows Myanmar beatings

We’d been trying to get the proof of what’s going on in Myanmar for days. CNN hasn’t been allowed into the country, so we’d been forced to rely on a secretive network of dissidents operating across the Thai-Myanmar border.

I’d spent hours on the phone and in front of my computer, talking to dozens of protesters. We’d established links with westerners as well, in the diplomatic community, among charities, aid organizations and holiday-makers.

Everything was pointing to atrocities against the pro-democracy movement, but little was backed up by hard and fast evidence. But then we got word that one dissident had obtained some incriminating footage showing riot police beating protesters as they were loaded into a truck.

We waited for agonizing hours for the video to arrive. It didn’t disappoint -- almost 10 minutes of footage showing a protest which ended with brutal beatings. It wasn't an atrocity, but it certainly was the most dramatic footage we’d seen so far.

Watch the video

The men and women, who got the material to us, have undoubtedly risked their lives. But what depresses me most is seeing those protesters loaded quietly into the trucks. The only sound: The mocking caws of ravens in the sky above. Where were they taken? What happened next? If the soldiers were willing to beat them in public, what would they do behind a prison wall?

And now the “G” word has made its first appearance in the deluge of e-mails I am receiving about Myanmar. It was not from a hysterical activist, but from a senior editor in CNN, wondering if genocide is now under way in Myanmar. The terrible thought, had been sparked by an upsetting e-mail from a monk, claiming to have witnessed hundreds of monks being beaten to death at a monastery. Genocide is defined as the deliberate and systematic destruction of an ethnic, religious or national group. It's the sort of definition that is pedantically debated in the U.N., while people are slaughtered in the world's trouble-spots.

Myanmar's Buddhist monks are now noticeably absent from the streets. Worried residents have contacted us saying the monks have all but disappeared in some parts of Yangon. Some are concerned they are being massacred, away from the camera-phones and bloggers who have kept the world informed about what’s going on. It’s a claim that, at present, is impossible to prove; impossible to believe even. But then I watch those pictures of police beating protesters ... and I wonder.

-- From Dan Rivers, CNN International Correspondent.
Just wanna say with what's been happening in Myanmar, formerly Burma. Many people are scared to tell what really happening but maybe they don't need to because what we see from CNN the story says it all I mean the soldiers beating the civilians like that. The UN should condemn atrocities like this. Thank god for the technology we can see what's really happening.Christian ALLARDE,Northvale,New Jersey
Dear Dan,

I've been following your reporting of this story ever since it was a line on the crawler, and I just had to say how much I appreciate your efforts in keeping the story fresh in the minds of the global audience.

I can't help but contrast how the long silence covering Burma's repressive actions was so unlike the spotlight turned on my country, the Philippines, throughout the 20 years that Marcos was in power; and in the years that followed his unseating, when so many people tried to sidetrack the democratic process.

Thank you for giving these gentle people a voice in the world arena. Please keep on doing so for as long as you can - and please be careful in so doing!

Cynthia M. Genato
Makati City
You know genocide has been going on in the ethnic regions for
decades. This is well documented
in the Kayah state. The courageous
Karenni and Karens, have lost
hundreds of thousands of innocent
people, to press gang porter labor,
they have taken young girls,gang raped them, tortured them and their familes, and then burnt them.

What is this something new? When a
few monks take a beaten we are suppose to hear the cry of revered?

People in Burma become monks out of desperation to eat. This is not some holy sanctified deal, its survival. For more than 45 years
Burma has fought an armed conflict
with the ethnics and no one noticed. I find this whole story
somewhat very suspicious, I also
know that, without China in the deal or India, you get potato
salad and chips. If The Burmese
want their freedom they must return
and fight for it. Blood is always spilled expelling tyrants.
They should not ask for American
help, since Asian wants the soft
hands off diplomacy. Americans
need not be in anymore democracy
building programs. They will get no respect from the people who
they are looking to liberate.

This could have been avoided had the Burmese had a real leader, anyone who stands by and watches
two decades of dicatorship while
calling herself a nobel prize winner is not nobel. House arrest on a lake is not what I call hard times. If she wants to be a martyr
there is always another way

If Suu Kyi can not compromise how is she to run a nation of confederates, the nation will be so splintered as it is now.

The issue here is the Burmans
cannot get along with themselves.
No one can move this country along
as it is now and will be if democracy came tomorrow. The madman
of Burma Shwe knows Soros is behind Suu Kyi, so does China and India. Its all about resources and
Burma has much of this. The UN is toothless now as in the past.
I cry for my countryman. Why are they(Junta) so cruel. They are worse than Nazi. UN security concil is useless. UN envoy is just useless. Pepole were killed in south but he went and visit north.
Dear Dan,

Thank for your patient to get the picture and let readers around the world know what is actually happening in Burma. New technology allows us to know what is actually going on in Burma and hope that we should keep trying our best to get those news out of Burma.
Dear Dan,

Thank for your patient to get the picture and let readers around the world know what is actually happening in Burma. New technology allows us to know what is actually going on in Burma and hope that we should keep trying our best to get those news out of Burma.
A video says more than 1000000 words. Thanks, CNN!
A video says more than 1000000 words. Thanks, CNN!
A video says more than 1000000 words. Thanks, CNN!
I want to watch this movie again
I watched this air last night. I am by no means an "activist" just a normal middle class citizen, but this issue has so impacted me that I have become involved in my local peace walks and demostrations of solidarity with the freedom seeking Burmese people (way out of my normal daily routine).

This is a critical time for Burma - the world should show it cares - it doesn't take much within our own sphere of influence, but if we could galvanize numbers we could effect change.

Keeping the story front and center is so important and I thank you for that.

Keep the momentum for change going.

To any that are reading and want to help, attend a Global Peace Walk for Burma in your area - many are being hosted all over the world - just hop on the internet and you'll quickly find out all about it.
Are we here only to watch how effective the United Nations, at a time like this. Innocent protesters were beaten up and shot. The nations engaged in business with Myanmar, especially in hardware are accountable for this tragedy. Now it is our turn, as a united world, to boykot comming out of it's neighbouring countries. Break the demand, so that they could eat their own goods and turn the millitary hardware against themselves.
Im not sure if you check this blog daily, but I do.

You'll see some incriminating, if not how ruthless the military junta is
I know I cant really do much as a high school student, amongst closed minded people, but i urge you to PLEASE go look at the site.
I got nightmares bout Myanmar recently!
GoD, help them.. and help me to get enough sleep..
I doubt those prisoners are going to be facing due process in Myanmar. Even though the protesters are not visible, I believe they have only gone underground for the moment. When human rights are at stake, the movement will continue.
Try to get the new confirmation about Burma is not an easy task for any journalist. Pictures and short video from Burma are the current voice for Burmese people right now in the world. With the support of China and Russia, Burmese military regime will use the same methods to crackdown any opposition in Burma. Economic sanction towards Burmese military regime will be the most effective way to stop the bloodshed crackdown and human right abuse by this regime. Please be aware of this regime is the worst regime in the world because only this regime can bring down Burma, a rich nature resources country, into the poorest country in the world.

Where can we view the email sent by the monk to the CNN editor? There is a page on my blog, Jotman, where a few days ago I began tracking the reports of monks having been massacred.

Thanks for the great article. It is sad to say that as optimistic as people are right now, I fear nothing will happen. I sure hope that things will. It's not as simple as it seams in that once again politics are driven by economics. The issue of Burma is entangled with regional politics.

1. Remember who their best friend is! China plays a major factor in the Burma issue. They hold power and the "goons" will listen to them. It has been long standing chinese policy not to interfere regardless of the situation. So the better question is will the world stand up to China? Probably not, and I am sure China will refrain from making any public statement condemning the junta or it's actions.

2. Again as sad as it is, and I hate to say this, however you cannot pick and choose your fights on your feelings. It is absolutely atrocious what the Junta has and still does to the Burmese people. Sadam was the same way, and most of you don't agree with the actions of the coalition forces! This is the same but different.

It's a very complex issue and unless the U.N. does something drastic (take into consideration the track record of U.N. action), we will not see a major shift in the current situation. Most free countries have fought there internal battles and shed a lot of blood over basic freedoms, to include ours. I am afraid that unless that sort of revolution happens with the Burmese people they will again have little hope. I fear their position is Zugzwang. Obviously I do not agree with doing nothing, it's just a tricky tough situation and I hope for the best.

Paya Paya
To reply to the comment added at 9:46am - spoken like a person sheltered 10,000 miles away from the action. I find it hard pressed to believe that a poor, underfed, malnourished nation can rise up and defeat an army that is supplied with armor and weapons. People in Burma are in survival mode - barely making it through the day to collect the bare essentials to live. I would find it a mere suicide mission to use force and attack the junta. It's been extremely hopeful these past few weeks,witnessing the monks and brave people in Rangoon and Mandalay able to capture and direct the attention of the international community to the atrocities that were taking place in the country. However, after what seemed to be an optimistic recap given by the UN envoy,Gamberi, it seems that much of this hope is lost. The Burmese people were hoping that Gamberi would have enough guile and wit to see through the smoke and mirrors shenanigans that the junta would put in front of him. The junta is run by ignorant and uneducated men whose sole objective is to undermine the unity of the people and grow their own wealth. Burma is a nation pleading for help. Unlike other nations like Iraq, they are asking for outside help. It's amazing (note the sarcasm) how countries like Iraq get military assistance while countries such as Burma, who in the eyes of the US, have little economic value, receive none.
YES, the world is WATCHING. but i think the whole world is just watching to see how many people would die at the end. Input sanctions all you want, the Burmese military regime just doesn't care. The death toll is still counting.
i pray for those who died and those who are going to die all go to heaven.
Very few people have given it much attention but a big part of the problem and the responsibility belongs to China. China has been supplying military equipment to Burma in large quantities enough to arm an army of 400,000. The military pays for these arms and they use them to impose their power on a population longing to be free. China, the most populous nation in the world is also the most insensitive to the human longing for freedom. They have demonstrated that in the Tiennamen massacre. Their slogans about being "for the people" are merely lies because it is not for the majority but for the few who hold the gun. China makes lots of money but renders the greater majority of the Burmese as destitute beggars.
The current crises have raised the moral stature of the Buddhist monks who are the real heroes. It will increase their stature in the eyes of simple Buddhist but they have also failed because they have not succeeded in teaching true Buddhism to the majority of the military who claim to be Buddhists.
If there were enough good Buddhists in the Military these things would not have happened.
I pray for Burma. With God's help things can change.
The Military Leaders of Burma should be tried in the International Court of Justice for systematic crimes against humanity. There is need for documentation and proof. There is need for concerted effort. We cannot really be free until the greater millions of Burma's population are free...for no man is an Island.
Thank you Mr. Rivers for continuing to cover this event. Everyday I search the newspaper for an update on the situation and am left searching. It is a necessity that this story continues to get to told because, as you very well know, as soon as we turn our backs the opportunity the people of Burma are looking for will have passed and thousands will be dead.
This is very much Tibet - take 2

We have done what we can afford by sending this clip on DVD to each of the 100 members of the U.S. Senate.

We know everyone here believes in the power of the image. We are asking you to help raise the voice of Tibet at this opportunity.

Please choose to help.

Simply cut and paste this note and link below and forward it to friends, representatives and world leaders.

It is that simple to help. Thank You

Visually and respectfully Yours, Joe Mickey and Sazzy Varga

Click the picture to play the clip or use the link
This is Tibet - Take 2
Our perspective on this can be found at
i read many news about Myanmar.Cos' of CNN i know many things about My country.Thanks very much CNN.. By the way i want to know is What is UN?? Myanmar is one of the member of UN.. But I think.Not i think i want to ask >>IS UN reallycan change Myanmar political problems?/ All over a round the world know what conditions in Myanmar. But UN can't do nothing about myanmar ..
UN is only under the control of westen country ..
The world has seen atrocities in Burma. Now the military regime continue brutal crackdown and genocide. They even cremated the injured who were still alive. They dare to kill and destroy evidences.
If the world leaders think it is an internal affair, too bad for Burmese people.
What I observe that the countries who have heavy investment and interest in Burma, their leaders oppose UN sanctions/resolutions on military regime.
So what USA, UK and UN would do next? It is very interesting.
Will UN allow continuous torturing and killing of innocent people in Burma.
Ingr Weber
Military Junta is top in telling lies but this time they couldn't. I'll share one example to you all. There was a bush fire in Mon State in recent years and 600 people died from 3 villages because of that fire. However the death toll was only 6, in the newspaper. I have no idea why they couldn't announce the truth. It was very disappointing.
In North Okkala, those who listen BBC, RFA had to pay fine for that. We do not have such a basic human rights anymore.
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