Unfortunately, my fears of violence in Burma have been well founded. Every day the Guardian has been providing updates and links to more information about the events there. The official death toll is nine, which is likely to be a massive understatement. A Japanese reporter has apparently been killed, which may well bring more opprobrium from the international community. More importantly, hundreds of monks have been arrested, with many being beaten.
One glimmer of hope is that it appears that there is a group within the Burmese army who are sympathetic to the monks and people.
There’s not much that we can do as individuals, and sanctions are unlikely to have an immediate impact. As it is, I don’t use Total petrol stations, so I can’t even hurt them (the French oil company is a heavy investor in Burma, laying a new pipeline there). If by chance anyone who reads this ever thinks about filling up their car with Total, please don’t, while they help provide financial backing for this odious regime.