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Ballot boxes Burma

May 10th vote may give Burma's generals permanent control...

From a country that employs one soldier for every citizen - where demonstrators are tortured and where political joke-tellers end up in jail - some incredibly brave men and women step up to Radio New Internationalist's microphones today to talk about the latest developments in their country. Since 1962, military generals have run Burma with iron fists and frozen hearts. As the generals' bank balances rise, the standard of living of the Burmese continues to fall, with an estimated one in ten of Burma's people now suffering from chronic malnutrition.

On Saturday 10th May the Burmese people will be asked to give the generals permanent control over the government of their country by endorsing a new constitution: one that most voters won't be able to read before they place their vote. Just back from Burma, New Internationalist co-editor Dinyar Godrej shares some stories about the generals and their grip on power with three resisters of the military regime who are forging new horizons for Burma:  

  • Bo Kyi from Burma's Assistance Association for Political Prisoners spent a total of seven years and three months in Burma's jails because he organized a demonstration. He explains the way tens of thousands of political prisoners have been abused in a justice system that the military kidnapped decades ago.  
  • Charm Tong from the Shan Women's Action Network reports on how military madness is burning ethnic villages off Burma's map - killing the villagers and using rape as a weapon of war.
  • Htoo Paw from the Karen Women's Organization has been part of a process to draft a Constitution that's alternative to the one being proposed by the military. She outlines a system to unite the country and still deliver autonomy to minorities.

Today's CD is a collection of ambient funk from Asia from the Ryukyu Underground, which takes original Japanese recordings and mixes them with a beat pulsing with an independent spirit.

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