DEBORAH AMOS, host:
Commentator Hanna Ingber Winn won't use the name Myanmar. She's married to a Burmese exile, and she doesn't want to give legitimacy to the military government that renamed the country.
Ms. HANNA INGBER WINN (University of Southern California): My husband has been sitting in front of his computer night after night. The Internet is our only link to the uprising and military crackdown in his home.
For a week, Burmese snapped photographs and took shaky videos of the demonstrations. The photos of monks in maroon robes marching through the streets captivated the world. One friend e-mailed me: About a hundred monks and laymen were arrested last night following a brutal attack by the military. Another sent me a photo of a student's brains blown out of his head in the gutter.
I lived in Burma in 2003. The junta stifled dissent so well people didn't dare discuss the political crisis except behind closed doors. Friends would whisper in my ear that they wanted to fight back, but the junta had all the guns.
Now, a friend in Rangoon has e-mailed me photos of protesters running from the soldiers' bullets and batons on Sule Pagoda Road, the road I lived on.
Thousands marched past my old apartment. I've been wondering: if I were there would I watch from my balcony or would I participate? The junta has been targeting journalists and detaining people with cameras. Would I have the courage like so many Burmese to smuggle out images and stories?
A contact in Burma chatted with me on Google Talk. He said some of his friends had been arrested. He wrote: People very scared for past experience of '88. The date 1988 carries as much weight in Burma as 9/11 does here. That was the last national uprising, when the junta killed at least 3,000 people. There has been great hope that this round of demonstrations will lead to political reforms and not another bloodbath.
But then the junta shut down the Internet. They were successful. Almost no news got out. Right now it looks like the junta is winning. The marches have dwindled to almost nothing. Monks have been killed, arrested or confined to their monasteries.
My husband and our Burmese friends tell me they wish they were home. They feel guilty not protesting, not risking their lives.
A young Burmese friend sits up all night organizing awareness events and writing letters. She says the middle of the night here is when the government has been shooting or arresting people in Rangoon. That's why she can't sleep. All she can do is read the news on her computer and cry.
AMOS: Commentator Hanna Ingber Winn is a student at the University of Southern California.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.