September 23, 2007
People’s Call from the Heart of the City
I felt very glad to see the participation of monks, nuns, students, scholars, artists and those from Civil Society Organizations to the protest. I thought all walk of our society taking part in it. It was about 11 at noon on 23rd, September 2007.
We came to understand that not only Yangon, Mandalay, Pakokku and Sittwe, all around towns through Myanmar made the same protest to the government, keeping the solemn promise, we concluded that it became a ‘Social protest’ never had been seen in two decades of Myanmar history. On the other hand, there would be a violence response from the government that we expected! So we took a great care at that time.
Monks and people in the march held signboards, describing three things:
a) to resolve the difficulties of the citizens’ basic needs,
b) to release all political prisoners, and
c) to begin a national reconciliation process. All monks had agreed not to cry the slogans but to hold the signboards on 21 September.
And proceeded our march in silence, calling for all walks of Myanmar citizen such as students, workers, farmers and public servants to assign twenty monks for ten townships_ two monks for a township in Yangon. Those monks were assigned ad hoc to manage the following day’s strike.
The plan was important to keep the discipline as well as to protect the fakes from participating with us and doing violence, and to guarantee our peaceful demonstration.
There were more people that are active, students and monks that day; they told us what they wanted to do, and we had to discuss them to reach the most convent way to do. At that time, some monks came from other regions; we had to welcome and manage to give accommodation for them. Students and other organizations asked us to raise their flags, in this case, we could not agree for that because the demonstration was under the same flag of Buddha Sasana’s flag.
As usual we marched from our gathering place, the Bronze Image, to the Sule Pagoda, reciting the Mitta Sutta at 12:00. Around 2:30 pm. We reached in front of the City Hall near the Sule Pagoda, and gave our speeches to the people for tomorrow’s ‘People’s uprising’ on 24th in which every walks of lives of Myanmar would participate. ‘Aung Way’, the poet, started his speech,
‘I want to request all of our people to stand bravely and courageously behind the monks who are making demonstration proceed to march the unfinished Myanmar Democracy campaign …..’
At his told conclusion of the speech, people clapped loudly.
Than Kyaw Ko Ko, the president of All Burma Students Union, gave his speech to the students,
‘It’s the time for all the citizen of Myanmar not to be tolerant of the SPDC government any more who are selfish and making profits out of the country’s resources for themselves. They’re been forcing us to live in the world lack of freedom and justice, and making the country and citizens poorer and frustrating our identities. This is my call for you today 23rd September 2007, brothers and sisters students to join hand in hand with us to get a fair and free democratic country.’
Ashin Naymeinda gave his speech after Kyaw Ko Ko.
‘I would like to request you, all the students, monks and people to go hand in hand with us till we reach our destination, to get our demands. Be united!’
I gave my speech to that such plenty of men for the first time. I felt that there was a bind of strength was flowing throughout my body.
‘I have a sympathy for our donors, men and women, who are now suffering from recent high price of commodities and transportation, and long existing poverty. But I, and other monks can receive alms and offerings from them; in my mind, I can’t turn my blind eyes or deaf ears to them. I feel that I have some guilty to eat their alms and to use their offering in this very hard time. We have our responsibility as monks according to our Buddha’s Vinaya, to go around the town, reciting the Mitta Sutta, and to oppose the ruling one not to do so for peace and happiness of majority human beings. The government’s response, as you have witnessed that their thugs beat monks tying at the lamppost_ insulting not only the monks but also the whole religion. We demanded; the neglected, and they accused us these monks are trained as terrorists at the border areas; they are the fake monks, said they. Is that government a respectable one or not?’
‘No, it isn’t.’
‘They are but animals.’
‘They want to divide the Sanga, the monks.’
‘Monk beating creature!’ Responded the people.
I saw the violent attitude of the monks and people within their minds toward the ruling government. It was very dangerous for our destination and discipline. So I warned them,
‘Please, take it easy monks and people. We are now joining as a coalition against the ruling government. But we must always be aware that we are monks, we are peaceful participants opposing to the suppressing military violent government. We know that there are many problems and conflicts. We want you to join us in solving peacefully.
Tomorrow, 24th September, 2007, will be the whole campaign for us to confront the SPDC government with our unity and strength. Must our strike be victorious.’
‘Victory, Our Strike!’
‘Victory, Our Strike!’
‘Victory, Our Strike!’
People cried with their utmost hearts, clapping their hands, and raising the Buddha Sasana flags in the air. That public speech was the first time beyond to decade of 1988 uprising on the street. We felt the inspiration of the mass.