UnNews:Myanmar junta jails entire population
1 October 2007
YANGON, Myanmar - Myanmar's junta leader jailed the entire population of the sweaty, rat-infested country over the weekend, complicating his chance to respond positively to international demands for an end to the crackdown on the largest protests in two decades. A Norway-based dissident news organization estimated that 75 million people were incarcerated, leaving only a couple dozen people to guard them and run essential government services.
Traffic was obviously light and most shops remained closed as there is no one free to shop or run those same shops. Some monks were allowed to leave monasteries to collect food donations, but returned empty-handed. Ibrahim Gambari, the U.N.'s special envoy to Myanmar, was given an appointment to meet with Senior Gen. Than Shwe on Tuesday in the junta's remote bunker-like capital, Naypyitaw, but the meeting was called off because the General had to take his cat to the vet.
Instead of the meeting Monday that he had hoped for, Gambari was taken on a government-sponsored trip to see one of the large prison camps built to house the population of the country. "They're like a Warped Tour concert, with people jammed together and standing in their own filth," he said. "But there are no cool bands playing."
Public anger, which ignited Aug. 19 after the government increased DVD rental prices, turned into mass protests against 45 years of military dictatorship when Buddhist monks joined in. Monks are notorious buttinskis. Soldiers responded last week by rounding up millions of demonstrators and making them build the huge internment camps.
"The people are angry but afraid," said Thet (no, not that Thet), a 30-year-old university graduate who is now incarcerated in one the larger camps holding approximately 23 million people. "They're charging nearly 34 ynars for a bottle of Dasani, which is like, nuts."
The jailing is expected to continue for another week at least, or until the junta leader is declared a god and raises his ancestors from the dead, whichever comes first.
The Myanmar régime has shut down most Internet and mobile phone access in Mafagafo, the capital city. Information is therefore being smuggled out in fragments, concealed in jars of shaving cream. The fragmentary.info is then reassembled at roadside in rural America:
- Altho insured/Remember, kiddo/They don't pay you/They pay your widow." Burma-Shave, Feb 30, 2002 "
- Violence in Burma/Causes a rush/To dig up Grandpa's/Old shaving brush." Burma-Shave, Feb 30, 1957 "
- Burma situation/Now becomes scary/Shaving cream shortage/Is getting hairy." Burma-Shave, Apr 31, 2007 "
- They put a bullet/Through my hat/But I've had closer/Shaves than that." Burma-Shave, June 31, 2007 "