While watching something on MSNBC over the weekend, I caught the lead-in for another program. It was how a very lovely, predominantly Hispanic community by day became a drug-infested gang-banger oasis at night. Some heavily tattooed dude with a kerchief around his head quietly said this: “I rather be feared, ya know.”
The Guardian in the UK has ‘One monk for every soldier‘:
How will the predominately Buddhist population of Burma respond to this attack on members of its revered religious order? With absolute horror, I imagine, as they have done to previous attacks (an unverified number of monks were shot dead during the nationwide uprising in 1988, and over 500 were imprisoned). But people’s reactions will probably be expressed behind closed doors. The regime has a terrifyingly effective network of spies and informers,and people are often not willing to openly voice any criticism of the regime for fear of imprisonment and torture. The surveillance has been so insidious that there are Burmese people I have met who do not trust anyone outside their immediate family; they won’t talk openly to cousins or close friends. When I asked a friend for advice on how to safely do research in Burma, he told me to operate under the assumption that everyone I met was an informer – including him.
The Norway Post is reporting that a high end commander is seeking asylum in Norway. “He said he had defected after refusing to lead his men in an attack on the demonstrating monks.”
Norway has deep ties to the opposition movement in Myanmar, formerly called Burma, through the Democratic Voice of Burma, which runs a robust news operation out of Oslo. So far, it has posted no English-language reports of Mr. Win’s reported defection, but it referred to him in an earlier piece as a “local commander” in Yangon.
The Daily Mail is reporting that Mr. Hla Win has stated, “Many more people have been killed in recent days than you’ve heard about. The bodies can be counted in several thousand.” (He is “the most senior official to defect so far”).
However, he is, after all, only one small man. The junta, not even trusting those who apparently are the closest or most available, has opted to bring in troops from the border to quell the resistance.
Soldiers from the government’s elite 77th Brigade — its toughest fighters — are positioned under the trees lining some of the city’s boulevard…..
The generals have shown few scruples in using deadly force against their own people, a population that has somehow managed to intimidate them at the same time. Two years ago, on an astrologically auspicious date, the ruling junta moved the country’s capital to Naypyidaw, a remote location in the jungle 320 kilometers (189 miles) north of Yangon, where they believed themselves safe against uprisings.
Yes, isn’t that what all bullies do – hide, surround themselves with those who will do their bidding for whatever reason?