The deplorable acts of violence being perpetrated against Buddhist monks and peaceful Burmese demonstrators shame the military regime. Tens of thousands of Burmese are turning to the streets to demand their freedom — and the country’s military dictatorship has countered with horrifying abuses. Non-violent demonstrations by Buddhist monks and nuns have been met with tear gas, smoke grenades, baton beatings, and automatic weapons. The regime admits to killing 10 people, but unofficial reports suggest the number is much higher. Getting reliable information in and out of Burma is a challenge as cell phones have been seized and telephone lines slashed. Burmese bloggers and citizen journalists are being silenced. The U.N. has dispatched its special envoy on Burma, Ibrahim Gambari. He must be allowed to meet with demonstrating monks and Burma’s democratically elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. President Bush calls on all nations, especially those nations closest to Burma that have the most influence with the regime, to support the aspirations of the Burmese people, and to join in condemning the junta’s use of violence on its own people. Seeing Burma through a peaceful democratic transition is in all nations’ best interest. The United States stands with the people of Burma. We support their demands for basic human rights: freedom of speech, worship, and assembly. We cannot — and will not — turn our attention from courageous people who stand up for democracy and justice.
— Jon Ward, White House correspondent, The Washington Times