BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — Women in several countries have begun sending their panties to Myanmar embassies in a culturally insulting gesture of protest against the recent brutal crackdown there, a campaign supporter said Friday.
"It's an extremely strong message in Burmese and in all Southeast Asian culture," said Liz Hilton, who supports an activist group that launched the "Panties for Peace" drive earlier this week.
The group, Lanna Action for Burma, says the country's superstitious generals, especially junta leader Gen. Than Shwe, also believe that contact with women's underwear saps them of power.
To widespread international condemnation, the military in Myanmar, also known as Burma, crushed mass anti-regime demonstrations recently and continues to hunt down and imprison those who took part.
Hilton said women in Thailand, Australia, Singapore, England and other European countries have started sending or delivering their underwear to Myanmar missions following informal coordination among activist organizations and individuals.
"You can post, deliver or fling your panties at the closest Burmese Embassy any day from today. Send early, send often!" the Lanna Action for Burma Web site urges.
"So far we have had no response from Burmese officials," Hilton said.
I hope the panties they send are stinky ones, unwashed ones! Show those generals how despised they are! Let those panties sap their power!
You know what, if there was a Burmese embassy near where I lived, I would go there and throw my panties at it too.
The people of Burma have been under the yoke of the military junta for too long. People in other Asian countries are slowly coming out of poverty but in Burma many people are just concentrating on survival. But not for the generals though. They live secluded in their luxury villas in Naypyidaw, cut off from the squalor of Rangoon and other towns.
I say down with the military junta and support the democracy movement. I'd like to support the democracy movement but how do we get our voices heard? There have been protest marches against the recent military crackdown, and signed petitions were sent to international leaders to pressure the Burmese government.
That's a start because last week a senior general offered to meet pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Keep those pressures on Burma's military leaders and hopefully things will begin to change for the better in Burma.
Further Reading: Q&A: Protests in Burma | Free Burma Coalition