"Panties for Peace"

Activists encourage women to protest Burma's oppressive regime by sending the junta their underpants.

Published October 19, 2007 6:49PM (EDT)

An activist group in Thailand believes it can do what the United Nations couldn't -- peacefully put a stop to Burma's iron-fisted junta. For all the United Nations' diplomatic deliberation during the regime's violent crackdown on peaceful protesters, it just never considered sending panties to Burmese embassies. Oh, but the Panties for Peace campaign has -- that's exactly what they're urging women the world over to do.

There is some logic to this underwear offensive -- apparently junta members believe that women's panties (regardless of whether they are clean or dirty) will leech them of their power. "Not only are they brutal, but they are also very superstitious," Jackie Pollack, a member of the Lanna Action for Burma Committee, told the Guardian Unlimited. "Condemnation by the United Nations and governments around the world have had no impact on the Burmese regime. This is a way of trying to reach them where they will feel it."

Panties for Peace encourages women to "post, deliver or fling your panties at the closest Burmese Embassy," and activists estimate that hundreds of women all over the globe have already followed suit. In fact, the Burmese Embassy in Geneva recently received a single shipment of 140 pairs of panties. "The junta is famous for its abuse of women: it is well documented that they use rape as a weapon of war against ethnic minorities. This is a way for women around the world to express their outrage," Pollack said.

I don't exactly believe in the power of panties over the diplomacy of the United Nations, but as a form of global mocking, the campaign seems promising. Still, I can't help feeling that the silliness of this symbolic offensive makes light of a dire situation -- so I won't be parting with my panties anytime soon, thank you.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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