November 5th, 2010

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Min Ko Naing will spend another birthday imprisoned and isolated from the people of Burma.

October 18, 2010. BURMA. Min Ko Naing will spend another birthday imprisoned and isolated from the people of Burma.
As we celebrate the birthday of this courageous leader, we are reminded of the difference between the regime and Min Ko Naing. We are also aware of what it is to be truly courageous; truly heroic.
Any simpleton can pick up a gun and start shooting at others. That does not require courage only a weapon and minimal manual dexterity. Any brute with the force of an enormous, protective army can arrest and imprison anyone they choose.
True courage can be seen in those who, armed with nothing more than their superior moral position, stand up to a brutal armed regime; and persistently defy their order; refuse to cower under their threats; to simply demand the rights that should be available to all humans…that is true courage.
Min Ko Naing, like Aung San Suu Kyi and over 2000 other prisoners of the regime are willing to risk their own well being for a cause greater than their own personal interests or safety. These stunning souls are powerful and inspiring examples of such uncommon courage.
On Min Ko Naings birthday we realize that the regime again elevates this man to the status of hero rather than prisoner.
So let us wish our brother Min Ko Naing a happy birthday. Assure him that he is not alone in his fight for justice and freedom. Let him know that he will prevail.

"Sculpture of Min Ko Naing by Jim McNalis"

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

President Obama, Please Stand Against Burma's Sham Election

This weekend, Burma will hold its sham election. The elections have already been marred by fraud, voter disenfranchisement, and outright vote stealing by Burma's military regime.

In Magwe division, government officials threatened villagers with forced relocation unless they vote for the regime-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDA). Over 3,400 ethnic minority villages will not be allowed to vote, disenfranchising approximately 1.5 million ethnic minorities. Most importantly, this sham election will usher in a constitution where the most powerful person remains the Commander in Chief of the military.

The Burmese regime is hoping this election gives them legitimacy in the international community. The U.S. must stand against these elections and pressure its global allies to stand with us. Email President Obama today calling on him to come out strongly against these elections.

In the lead up to the election, USCB supporters held more than 50 events at universities and communities around the country educating Americans about how the election will exacerbate problems in Burma. In Kachin state, northern region of the country, ethnic leaders fear attacks by the Burmese Army after the coming elections.

Burma's leading democratic groups including the National League for Democracy, the 88 Student Generation, the All Burma Monks Alliance, and ethnic representatives, have come out against this election. Political prisoners are barred from running for office, excluding Aung San Suu Kyi from the ballot. In addition, campaigning is highly restricted and dominated by the military-backed party. Many high-ranking military members recently covered their military uniforms with civilian clothing in order to run in the election.

Critically, this election will bring into power a constitution drafted behind closed doors by the regime cronies. The constitution allows the Commander in Chief to dissolve the parliament at any given time. In other words, the military will still call the shots, post election. To make sure they remain in power, 25% of the parliamentary seats are reserved for the current military members, making it impossible to amend the constitution (which requires over 75% of votes). A former UN Special Rapporteur to Burma recently emphasized that this election is not a step towards democracy but rather a step towards "military consolidation."

Be the voice for the people of Burma. Ask President Obama to denounce the results of Burma's 2010 sham election and to demand a tripartite dialogue between the democratic forces, the ethnic representatives, and the military regime - critical for national reconciliation.

Stand with us as we stand with the people of Burma today. Thank you for your continued support. We will keep you posted as events unfold in Burma in the coming weeks.