October 01, 2007
Burma: Voices of Dissent
BY Anuj Chopra
FRONTLINE/World reporter Evan Williams interviewed prominent Burmese dissident U Sein Win in 2006 for our broadcast story, "Burma: State of Fear." Watch a clip.
Monks are at the heart of Burmese cultural society in this devoutly Buddhist nation.
Editor's Note: Amid curfews and unconfirmed reports that hundreds of protesters have been killed and beaten in the military crackdown, the U.N. special envoy Ibrahim Gambari arrived in Burma over the weekend to seek a diplomatic end to the violence. Burma, also known as Myanmar, has been ruled by a repressive military regime for the past 45 years. Rare protests erupted there more than a month ago when the government imposed massive price hikes on gasoline. Reporter Anuj Chopra was in Rangoon at the beginning of the unrest before a handful of small protests turned into the largest demonstration against the junta in two decades -- this time led not by students but by tens of thousands of Buddhist monks. Sources inside the country have told the BBC that some 4,000 monks have been rounded up in the last week and will be sent to prisons in the far north. In the following dispatch, Chopra describes the tension and violence on the streets of Rangoon, and talks with a pro-democracy leader in hiding about where this uprising, which some are calling the Burgundy Revolution, might lead. Chopra also meets with a family and hears firsthand about the day-to-day hardships facing regular Burmese.