Bloggers: Witness or Shapers of History? Print
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 27 September 2007 22:35
We have all heard the jokes about the pajamadeen, heros in pajamas and slippers who fight for truth and justice via the laptop on their dining room table. There has been huge debate about the power of bloggers to spread news around the world with astonishing speed. But this story coming out of Myanmar (Burma) gives a vivid sense of how powerful blogging can be.

Via CNN:

Armed with a laptop, a blogger named Ko Htike has thrust himself into the middle of the violent crackdown against monks and other peaceful demonstrators in his homeland of Myanmar.


He runs the blog out of his London apartment, waking up at 3 a.m. every day to review the latest digitally smuggled photos, video and information that's sent in to him.

With few Western journalists allowed in Myanmar, Htike's blog is one of the main information outlets. He said he has as many as 40 people in Myanmar sending him photos or calling him with information. They often take the photos from windows from their homes, he said.

Myanmar's military junta has forbidden such images, and anyone who sends them is risking their lives.

Ko Htike's blog (significant portions of which are in English)gives a chilling, immediate sense of the crisis and violence in Myanmar.

And the impact and significance of blogging.

Update: 9/28: CNN covered Ko Htike's activities, last night the internet was shut down all over Myanmar. Ko Htike writes:

Dear All,

I sadly announce that the Burmese military junta has cut off the internet connection throughout the country. I therefore would not be able to feed in pictures of the brutality by the brutal Burmese military junta.

I will also try my best to feed in their demonic appetite of fear and paranoia by posting any pictures that I receive though other means (Journos!! please don’t ask me what other means would be??). I will continue to live with the motto that “if there is a will there is a way”.

Update: 9/28, 10:00 am

Just another indicator. I stepped away from the computer for a bit, only to discover upon returning that CNN has linked to this post under the rubric of blogger's reactions to the plight of another blogger in London who is one of the few windows on what is happening on the other side of the world. The junta is desperately trying to control news leaving the country but it can't. Long live the pajamadeen.

Meanwhile in Ko Htike's comment boxes, journalists beg for interviews, bloggers in Italy are coloring their blogs in red in support, and lots of Americans are writing to let him know of their support. But, he's had to shut down his comments because someone "misused" them.

Please pray for the Ko Ktike and the people of Myanmar at this moment of crisis.

Rome, Sep 27, 2007 / 10:52 am (CNA).- The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Myanmar (CBCM) has called on Catholics to pray for their country as street demonstrations by Buddhist monks against the military government which has ruled for 45 years entered a second week.

According to press release published by the UCA News Agency, the bishops said, “The Church in Myanmar has been making chain prayers, fasting and perpetual adoration turn by turn in all the parishes of all the Archdioceses and Dioceses for peace and development in the country since February 1, 2006 up to now.”

“Especially at the present situation,” the bishops continued, “all Catholics are requested to make unceasing prayers and to offer special Masses for the welfare of the country. They also noted that in accordance with “the Canon Law and Social Teachings of the Catholic Church, priests and religious are not involved in any party-politics and in the current protests.”