Monday, 24 December 2007

The Building Up Time In Taunggote

23 December 2007
Origional source : DVB's Naw Say Paw and Nan Kum Tayauk, Thailand

The citizens in Taunggote have been ordered to take on the guarding duty to watch the public activities by the rulers, it was reported. Since the beginning of the month, people from all four areas of the town have been on the political activity watch duty and if they can't carry out the order, they have to pay the penalty - a heavy sum. This latest turn in the politically active town, which has challanged the junta to make a' swift change or get out', is creating the very unhappy situation among the locals, almost like the pressure building up in the volcano, before the eruption, according to one resident.

The antigovernment activists have been tirelessly campaigning, including propaganda distribution and graffiti writing on the roads and the much embarrassed rulers are focing the public to take on the guard duty to catch the campainers.

'The whole town is full of guards. There are about 6 guard centres for each area of the town. At least 3 people must be on duty in one centre, all night long, from 7 pm until 6 am. They call it fire guard but the funny thing is that there shouldn't be any fire alarm warning. It is clearly people being asked to spy on each other', said one local.

'Nevertheless, it fails to stop the campaign. Posters appear everywhere; outside the town, in the trees and bushes, on the lamp post, in the smaller nearby towns, there are lots of letter distribution. That's what they are after. They want to get them so they call it a fire guard', he said.

'Those households, who can't go on the guard duty were charged a huge penalty payments of about K 10,000/- so some families who can afford the fine are even sending the ladies for the duty, which is rediculous. We are all poor people, who have to work during the day and now, at night, when we should be sleeping, whe have to work too. People are getting very tired and angry. The lower ranking officials also have to share the duty.'

When the local government office was asked to explain about this new compulsory guarding duty, there was no one available to answer.

'People are getting very fed up and unhappy about this force labour. Everyone who came off the duty is swearing and cursing. It is just like the slow fire burning inside and there could be a big explosion any time. There are so many other parts of the country where they rulers are using force and power to demand and pressure the normal citizens and there are only so much that you can tolerate. If they are fuelling and building up the pressure in the volcano, it is inevitable that there will be an eruption'.

Rangoon and other areas

'This is the quiet moment but on the other hand it just means that it is accumulating and waiting for the next big public demostration', said people from Rangoon and around the country. After the most brutal crack down on the peacefully protesting monks and other civilians in September, the junta unwittingly fuelled the hatred and unhappiness among the public. Since then the country's economy and humanitarian situation have gone bad to worse and people are struggling so much, just to have daily meals, it will be difficult to avoid another public uprising', according to the people DVB managed to interviewed.

Where questioned if the country's affairs are now over, 90% replied that they are certain there will be many more coming up. 'It is not the fortune teller's prediction. It comes from people's hearts. It may have seemed gone quiet but it is a bit like a resting time after the running race. You entered one competion, you lost it, you went back to prepare and practice again, train hard again, when you are ready, you will enter another competion. We are just training hard to enter the next big race.' said one Rangoon resident.

Another resident from Karen state said,' It is like a boxing match. You may loose the first round but you need to regroup and recharge for the next round'.

'This is a Buddhist country. That was the worst thing anyone can even think of - killing the much loved and respected Buddhist monks. Only people who are blinded by greed and power can do this. The public has no weapon so they just have to suffer at the moment but by no means are they giving it up. All we can think of is how to get rid of this killer government.'

A public member from Mandalay, central Burma said,' We are just waiting for a good moment. We are not frightened. There are lots of volunteers to carry out the poster sticking job. This was done despite the top security control that they (the junta) arranged, well over 2 or 3 days before the VIP visit (referring to Than Shwe's visit to Pagan). It was just a proof that we are not afraid. We are all waiting for every little opportunity'.

For the original report please click here.

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