In the words of the protesting monks, may we be free from torture, may peace reside in your hearts and minds.
The U.S. Campaign for Burma http://www.uscampaignforburma.org/i
has lots of great information, petitions, and a collection of news articles from papers around the world on the country.
Some things one can do to assist Burma:
1. Use a search engine that supports charities with each click, paid for by advertisers (such as http://www.goodsearch.com, which I use) and designate the profits for a Burma-related charity such as the US Campaign for Burma.
2. Visit Amnesty International online http://www.amnestyusa.org/Myanmar_B
3. Write a letter to the editor of one's local paper concerning Burma and encouraging people to take action. I have a sample letter which I wrote and submitted to a couple papers here in the San Francisco Bay Area which I'd be happy to send anyone who would like a letter writing guide.
4. Encourage your Senators and Representatives (if you are American) to support Rep. Lantos' JADE act, HR 3890, restricting the importation of Burmese jewelry, denying visas for junta members to visit the U.S. and freezing their assets abroad.
Reposted from my own journal:
I've decided to support the Stop Burma's JADE (Junta's Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act - H.R. 3890, introduced a few weeks ago by Rep. Tom Lantos. The U.S. Campaign for Burma supported the resolution right away, but I had a few reservations as I don't usually give knee-jerk support for economic sanctions as sometimes they end up harming ordinary businesspeople and workers who have little say in their governments' policies. However, the JADE act is specifically targeted towards jewelry gem production, an industry owned by a Burmese government monopoly. According to Burmese human rights groups within the country, only the government and not private enterprise will be penalized.
Maung Maung, a Burmese human rights activist, expressed his support for the JADE act recently in a Washington Post article by Nora Boustany.
Description from the Post article of the bill's provisions:
If the bill is enacted, a list of Burmese officials will be prohibited from entering the United States and their U.S.-related assets will be frozen, according to a lawyer familiar with the bill. American institutions or individuals helping them will also be subject to confiscation of assets and be deprived of any tax credit equal to the sum of income earned from Burmese enterprises. Any gems originating in Burma will be banned from import into the United States.
In the interview Wednesday, Maung Maung said the country's revenue from gas, rubies, teak, timber, rice, gas, uranium and diamonds is being pilfered for the personal enrichment of junta members or their families.
The Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings, a company set up and owned by the military, has a monopoly on the country's gem-mining business. The enterprise's profits go directly to the military, Maung Maung said. "Even the air, they own it," he added.
Link for Americans to find the email pages for their Congressional representatives: http://www.house.gov/writerep/
Email I have written to Representative Stark on the issue:
Please cosponsor the Burmese JADE act - HR 3890 - to condemn the recent killings of unarmed demonstrators in Burma.
Supporting Burmese democracy lends our approval to a nonviolent "people power" movement and reflects our belief that working for fundamental human freedoms within one's own country in a humane way is worth the effort.
American jewelers support the JADE act and do not believe it will harm their businesses, as several have stated recently. Also, the Burmese gem industry is a government monopoly. Weakening it will only weaken the junta without harming private citizens or companies.
The JADE act will send a signal to the world, the junta, and the indefatigable human rights activists in Burma, that we support their fight for decency.
Please cosponsor this measure. Thank you very much.
5. Donate to a well-known and respected humanitarian organization, such as Mercy Corps, which performs relief work and community-building projects in Burma.