Friday, 9 May 2008

Remembrance Or Referendum - 10 May 2008 ?

By Goldie Shwe

In less than 24 hours, the day that millions of traumatised people in Burma have been sadly anticipating will begin -the completion of the entire week circle or the Seventh Day After The Death.

For the Buddhists, this Seventh Day is when the rest of the family members, neighbours and friends all gather in unity, to say the best prayers for the loved ones who have just passed away, as they mourn together for the final time.

More importantly, it is also the day of donation when people give the maximum amount they can afford. It usually consists of offerings of the best food and other religious items to the specially invited monks, followed by the offering of more food and drink to neighbours and friends.

The traditional and cultural belief is that prayers and donations on the 7th day after a person dies, helps them to achieve a good after-life. And if you don’t do this, they will struggle to find the right path (to enter a new life).

This thousand-year old culture will be now in the mind of every single member of the families that have survived the deadly cyclone. Where entire families have been wiped out, their neighbours and friends will be carrying out the sad but holy duty.

However traumatised and mentally scarred , physically sick, starving and cold they are, they will now be focusing on the 7th Day Food Offering for the sake of their beloved ones they tragically lost.

On Saturday, 10th of May, the rest of the population, who did not suffer the effect of the storm, will also be praying and offering the food to the monks. People of different religions such as Christians, Muslims and Hindus, who have long lived in harmony with the majority Buddhists, will be also helping and supporting those who deliver the donations.

Meanwhile, the country’s military junta, led by the powerful Generals and their supreme leader Than Shwe, are determined to go ahead with their referendum, the draft constitution they wrote themselves, which has taken 14 years to complete. It would have taken 14 more years if the September 2007 protests did not happen. But it did happen and the hyena Generals who have the brains of reptiles, realised that they needed some kind of seal of approval to confirm the right to rule for ever: the power they robbed from the elected government 50 years ago. They have shamelessly imprisoned and killed off any one showing the slightest disagreement and refuse hand over power, to the democratically elected political party.

Than Shwe and his lap dogs have set their mind on the plan to continue to strengthen their hold on power over the country and would not be deterred or even dream of postponing it. Not even Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general made a veiled swipe at them for holding a constitutional referendum tomorrow. Unfortunately, he was only speaking in human language to the bestial junta who can’t understand a word of it.

So, whether the whole world is pleading with them to allow the international emergency rescue services to start saving the lives of millions of people or not, the junta is determined to carry on with their original plan to force the civilians to vote for the referendum, at gun point , on this Saturday, 10th May, even though it is the day the heart broken ‘shellshocked’ nation is expected to mourn for the catastrophic loss of the hundreds of thousands of lives to the cyclone, just 7 days before.

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