Carnival of the Revolutions
**The Carnival of the Revolutions is back!**
Democratic reformers living in “fear societies” don’t necessarily need guns or large wads of cash to succeed. They just need:
– people to “tell their story”
– people to “hear their story”
– people to “know their story”, and
– people to “feel their story”.
There are remarkable events going on in the world today. Here is an opportunity for us as bloggers, small or large, conservative or liberal, western or non-western to make a difference. We can work together and spread the news that makes us cheer, that makes us proud, that makes us feel. Let Freedom Ring!
First Stop- Burma (Myanmar) one of the “6 Outposts of Tyranny” as defined by the current administration in Washington.
* This week 11 individuals were killed in a bomb blast in the capital, Rangoon. The government has blamed the opposition but today the opposition said that the violence may be linked to last October’s purge of Prime Minister Khin Nyunt and reports of a power struggle in the secretive military leadership.
* Two political prisoners were released from jail this week after more than a decade of confinement.
* However, hundreds more are imprisoned under very harsh conditions and there are reports of torture on political prisoners who have been staging a hunger strike. (shocking pictures of many of the young political prisoners here)
* The Shan State declared its independence from Myanmar in April. There are reports of fighting between the government and opposition forces.
* Two Burmese children soldiers who defected to Karenni Opposition Forces have accused the Myanmar government of chemical weapons use.
* The EU held its first ever meetings with the Myanmar Government this weekend since the military junta came to power and has since killed and jailed thousands of people.
* But, these meetings in Kyoto were met with many Burmese activists who stood out in the rain to protest against the regime.
China– By Dawn’s Early Light has a post on US relations with China, how the US needs to take more notice.
* Throughout the week, we’ve had a number of posts on the protest at the US embassy in Tashkent by relatives and friends of Bakhodir Choriyev demanding that the Uzbek government return farmland seized from them. Choriyev’s farm and business was quite successful, and it appears that authorities seized his property for this reason.
* Since about November of last year, there have been a number of protests in Uzbekistan. Bazaar merchants rioted in Kokand, forcing police to turn tail. Authorities nipped a protest in the bud in the Ferghana Valley more recently. There have also recently been protests in Jizzakh over land confiscation and nonpayment for crops. Additionally, there have been a number of smaller protests in the capital.
* The grievances behind each of these protests have been economic. On the one hand, this is welcome news. No one has been calling for a new caliphate to cure their ills. But at the same time, this suggests that the inability or unwillingness of the Uzbek government to create more favorable economic conditions is a more durable source of instability than Islamism (though Islamism certainly still is a risk). It’s not as if the Uzbek government doesn’t know it needs to reform the economy, but one must wonder whether or not the pace of reforms is erring too much on the side of caution to head off widespread economic discontent.
* Unfortunately, this “tent city” protest ended violently.
Azerbaijan– Azeri government and opposition begin talks to reduce tensions in the runup to the parliamentary election.
Iran– Election Update: Iran va Jahan reminds the western media that former Iranian President Rafsanjani has “a record.” While the Europeans vainly hope that Rafsanjani will transform himself into a “pragmatic moderate,” writer Shaheen Fatemi reminds us what his record consists of.
* Regime Change Iran has more at their “Week in Review”.
Belarus– A Belarus official accused the US and the West of financing democracy protests in his country and declared that there would be “No Citrus Revolution” in Belarus.
* Officials are wanting to keep a close alliance with Russia.
* 14 Russian protesters were freed in Minsk this week.
* Viktor Yushchenko demanded the release of 5 Ukrainians still held in jail for protests last month.
* In Moscow, 6 youth protesters were arrested at the Belarus embassy for an unsanctioned protest demanding the release of the Ukrainians.
* George Bush called Belarus Europe’s last dictatorship this week. He is to meet with members of the opposition during his trip to Europe this week to celebrate the Anniversary of VE Day.
Pakistan– The Paksitanis celebrated “Press Freedom Day”.
Venuzuela– The Bad Hair Blog has the reason’s that Chavez is a threat to democracy and stability in South America.
That is this weeks roundup.
We hope to get people looking outside their backyards.
I thought that it would be only fitting since this is our first week of posting to bring back the Burka Band , Afghanistan’s all girl band, for the occasion. (Thanks to Global Voices Online for bringing the girls back!)