Here’s the quick history:
The military, which first seized power in 1962, has survived several uprisings through crackdowns similar to the one under way now, content to ride out international condemnation and confident that Burma’s petroleum reserves will continue to attract foreign investment. An estimated 3,000 people were killed in 1988 when troops opened fire on demonstrators; another uprising was put down in 1996 with massive arrests.
The violence this week has killed nine people and injured 31, according to an account read on official Burmese television, but exile groups say they have reports that the toll was considerably higher.
It seems that the UN is going there to calm things down and start dialogue. The US in the meantime is pushing for democracy now. While the actual exiled govt of Burma has no interest.
Like I said in the original post, if you’re going to try to take over a military dictatorship, you need some power. Or else be prepared to be killed. I admire the monks, but they did not seem ready for this at all.
The U.S. officials suggested the goal should be the generals’ departure from power, perhaps to exile in China, opening the way for a democratic government. But the National Council of the Union of Burma, a main exile umbrella group based in Thailand, said its goal at this stage was less ambitious: national dialogue between the military junta and other political forces in the country.
Maybe the UN can be useful! I’m not holding my breath, but I’ll keep hope alive!