In Burma/Myanmar, the military junta has ruled since 1962, brutally suppressing human rights and the flow of information. Yet in the fall of 2007, the military found itself challenged by Buddhist clergy and ordinary citizens who used nonviolent actions and 21st century technology to challenge the regime. Although the so-called Saffron Revolution failed to result in regime change, dedicated Burmese activists are continuing to risk their lives to work for change in their country. In a country of 58 million with less than 1% internet and cell phone penetration, how is technology being used to challenge a military regime?
This event involved a conversation on this topic, including:
-- A presentation by Digital Democracy on the use of technology inside and along Burma's borders.
-- Footage from the Sept. 2007 Saffron Revolution, where tech such as mobile phones and the internet allowed protesters to coordinate and publicize the largest protests seen in a generation,
-- A Q&A with "Stanley", a Burmese computer programmer and chairperson of the All Burma IT Students Union.
This was the inaugural event of the 2009 Upgrade! New York art and technology programming series, pertaining to open source activist and creative practices, co-produced by Not An Alternative and Eyebeam.