MANUFACTURING DISSENT LOGO

ASIAN ANNIVERSARIES


`During our protest against the government, the troops came into the university and used bamboo sticks to beat up the students.'

`Many of the women students lost consciousness and were grabbed and raped by the police.'

`When the students were hit by these big weapons, the bullets would rip out a huge hole in their bodies as they exited. Many students died on the spot. At least 280 students died on that day'


So write Burmese students about the demonstrations in their country in 1988. Tomorrow is the anniversary of a special date (8/8/88) to these, and all Burmese students. On this day a general strike was called in Burma (Myanmar) and many thousands of students, workers and other marched peacefully for human rights and democracy. The military dictatorship, which still rules Burma, viciously quelled the demonstrations by killing thousands of people. Many students fled to the jungle where thousands still live a miserable life under constant threat of malaria, military attack and forced repatriation by Thailand.

Also commemorated this week is the fiftieth anniversary of the United States' atomic bomb attack on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This was absolutely necessary in order to test these new weapons and their effects on human beings before Japan's imminent surrender. Of course this excuse couldn't be used at the time. The official "justification" was that these bombs were needed to prevent further deaths to allied troops. Hence the RSA rhetoric that "the bomb saved more lives than it saved."

To commemorate the use of these weapons the Human Rights Action Group is hosting Rev. Dr. Jim Stuart. He will talk on the topic "Hiroshima: The Day That Cut History In Two". Since WWII the major powers have rethought war and how wars will be fought. To make an adequate response to these changes those who care about peace must also change how they work for peace. (Friday, 11 August, 12 noon, Upper Common Room, Student Union Building).

St. Andrew's on The Terrace is also holding a series of lectures on nuclear weapons. Next Thursday 10 August at 12.15pm, David Lange will speak on Nuclear Free NZ. On 17 August at 1.00pm, Justice Minister, Doug Graham will talk about NZ's position on nuclear weapons. Take your lunch.

Commemorating such events serves as a useful reminder that we must strive for peace and human rights and not take them for granted. We should do this constantly, not just on the anniversaries that are a multiple of 25.

Richard Davis

Return to Archival Index

Barbed Wire Border

Back to theHuman Rights Action Group Homepage