They started in August. The decision by Burma’s ruling junta government to slash fuel subsidies sent gas prices soaring across the Southeast Asian nation, and tempers flared. Soon, Buddhist monks were out in the streets, and the uprising was general. After years of repression, Western speculators thrilled to the possibility that the Burmese people might take their country back. The movement soon had a moniker: the Saffron Revolution.
Starting September 26, however, the government stopped indulging challenges to its rule. A brutal crackdown ensued, in which many died and many more were arrested. A Japanese photographer was shot to death covering the chaos in the streets. Imprisoned in her Yangon home, Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi looked out on a nation that remained in the bloody hands of her jailers. In 2007, there would be no freedom for Burma.
The events of August through October 2007 were commemorated in the Hark this week as human rights activists draped the student center’s tables and balustrades in saffron, an affirmation that the Burmese protests’ somber anniversary would not pass in total silence. Just as smaller protests continue in Burma, so does students’ awareness.