Participants at the Monday night candlelight vigil held on the Bucknell campus.

LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Nearly 150 members of the Bucknell community attended a candlelight vigil Monday, Oct. 8, to show support for the people of Burma.

The vigil was held on the uphill side of the Elaine Langone Center with participants wearing red and maroon to show their support for the peaceful demonstrations by Burmese monks and civilians that the country's military regime has violently cracked down on in recent days.

"We are strongly and passionately committed to maintaining a global sense at Bucknell of pertinent issues, particularly issues that have historic connections," said Bucknell President Brian C. Mitchell. "This is an issue that the Bucknell community feels strongly about and I'm happy to offer my support.

Deep concern
"On behalf of the University," Mitchell said in a statement last week, "I must declare our deep concern for the safety of our students' families and our many alumni and friends in Burma. Our hope is that the international community, in keeping with its commitment to the principles of human rights, will do whatever is appropriate to press the military government to cease its attacks on and arrests of monks, nuns, demonstrators and democracy activists."

The vigil included a moment of silence, updates on the Burma situation, and a summary of Bucknell's long history and connection with Burma. Bucknell will soon celebrate the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Maung Shaw Loo, Bucknell's first international student and the first student from Burma to enroll in a U.S. university.

"This evening is important because of Bucknell's historic ties to Burma and also because it's such a clear cut case of people non-violently struggling for democracy," said Bucknell Chaplain Ian Oliver said. "It's important that we stand up for that."

Monk from Burma
Among those attending the vigil was Ashin Pyinnyathami, a monk from Burma, who came from Washington, D.C., to explain the situation in his country.

"Yes, I am from Burma," the monk said. "Right now the military is putting down the demonstrations by monks. We need democracy. I am a Buddhist monk. We are nonpolitical. But right now we have a military government and they are killing monks."

Contact: Office of Communications

Posted Oct. 9, 2007

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