February 23rd, 2011

MYANMAR/BURMA — The phrase telegraphing his punches originally refereed to boxers whose body language alerted opponents to where the next blow was intended and, like the WikiLeaks cables, it is an anachronism. In the 21st century we don’t use telegraphs or cables but we do tweet. Too much political transparency, when dictatorial regimes are involved, is not a good idea.

From The Irrawaddy:

“Since last year, we have trained over 120 laborers from the countryside on how to use the Internet,” said Ko Win, a middle-aged political activist in Rangoon. “I taught them how to use Gmail and Gtalk, though I myself have yet to learn how to use Facebook and Twitter.”

Ko Win said that he hopes some of these students will become politically active and revolt against Burma’s military rulers.

“We hope we can use the Internet to initiate an uprising this summer like those that took place in Tunisia and Egypt,” he said. “Because we cannot rely on the leadership of the mainstream opposition to topple the regime.”

Ko Win, who for security reasons does not want his full name identified, said he and his friends used their own money to give students free Internet lessons in Rangoon Internet cafés.

Many other Burmese activists are also excited by the nationwide uprisings in North Africa that have already ousted two entrenched dictators. But some have said that to use the Internet to organize and rally a political protest in Burma, they must overcome challenges such as the country’s slow Internet speed, the junta’s restrictions on Internet access and the small number of Internet users in the country of nearly 60 million people.

Not that Myanmar’s military dictators are stupid or even ignorant, but I don’t see the advantage of hoisting a big red flag over one of your biggest tools if you’re planning a revolution.

Do what you can to make this a good morning, Myanmar.

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