Tag Archives: Burma junta

Burmese Military Junta Continues Ignoring World

Surin Pitsuwan, head of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations(ASEAN) warned the Burmese junta it must allow foreign aid workers access to areas hardest hit by the cyclone if it wished to keep the trust of the international community. “What has to be delvered is real activities’ that allow the world freedom to help the thousands of Burmese people who continue existing without access to food or water, let alone places to live. ASEAN, along with the UN co-hosted a conference over the weekend which focused on helping victims and its reputation is now on the line. Although three weeks have passd since the cyclone hit, it is estimated only 40% of its victims have received any assistance.

Although there has been a slight improvement in speeding up visas there are still complaints of delays and frustrations. Surin noted: “There are many low-hanging fruits that can be harvested, and those include accessibility, delivering of supplies already on the ground, monitoring, and the ability to admit and allow foreign aid workers into the feld with less obstacles and less delay.” He warned the Burmese government ASEAN wanted results within a week or it would conclude there still was no commitment from the junta to support relief efforts.

Meanwwhile, in a slap at the world which is helping Burma, the ruling junta extended for one year the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi who has been confined to her house snce 2003. Burmese law stipulates a person can not be detained for longer than five yers without either being charged or released. But, the militay junta which boasts it received a 92.4% of the vote for its new constitution, has never been bothered by such issues as respecting the law. It decides which laws are respected.

Initiatives To Help Burmese Must Include India-China

Meidyatama Surodiningrat, writing in the Jakarta Post, argues making speeches that denounce leaders of Myanmar make for good headlines, but do nothing to alter the repressive regime which controls the people of Burma. He is critical of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who sharply attacked the Burmese leaders and those refusing to take action. “The junta cannot be bullied by words, least of all from a country insignificant to its political agenda.” He also notes some nations which were critical of the Burmese government like Australia, France and the United States, have companies operating and investing large sums in that nation.

The author argues for realistic, quiet diplomacy as the best course of action to bring about change in Myanmar. But, no initiative can succeed without the active support of India and China which have extensive holdings in Burma. The ruling Burma junta conducts its affairs under the name, the State Peace and Development Council,(SPDC ) and it depends upon cooperation from its two powerful neighbors for economic development. “In the initial phase(of any change), the United States and the European Union should not be engaged since SPDC’s overriding suspicion is that Western criticism is geared towardds a change of government in Myanmar.”

Perhaps, those of us who seek freedom for the people of Burma must recognize it will not readily occur and must proceed in cautious phases of change. The collapse of dictatorships will eventually occur, but this will most readily happen if the groundwork has been laid.

Burma Military Junta Claims Only 15 Killed

The Burmese military government reported a higher death toll during the recent demonstrations for democracy in Myanmar than previously noted. They told Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, a special UN envoy that 114 Burmese nationals and a Japanese photojournalist were the people killed during demonstrations. Pinheio concluded a five day mission to Burma where he was told by the military leaders there were no incidents in which monks were killed. “My visit was not a full-fledged fact-finding mission because five days and I have interviewed prisoners, met monks, it was very much contact with the government authorities which is very useful for me to have a full consideration of all aspects of the crisis.” The human rights investigator is still int he process of examining evidence before he can conclude making his final report.

There is something strange about the claim of the Burmese military since during the demonstrations there were photos of the bodies of dead monks lying in the water and reports from eye-witnesses they saw monks beaten and killed. Perhaps, this evidence was made up by those hostile to the benevolent Burmese military dictatorship, perhaps, it is merely the anger of a few disgruntled Burmese people harboring grudges against a brutal oppressive regime which has denied human rights for over twenty years. I suspect eventually the real death toll will creep up to the hundreds.

Noose Tightens Around Throats Of Burmese People

The Burmese military junta is returning to its old stand by terrorist isolationist behavior by announcing the expulsion of Charles Petrie, the UN’s representative since 2003 in Myanmar. The junta was apparently upset at a recent UN statement denouncing the “deteriorating humanitarian situation” in their country. The government also announced it was cutting off communication by Internet users to international web sites in an effort to control information concerning their brutalization of the people of Burma. Ibrahm Gambari, the special UN representative who has been working with the Burmese military junta in an effort to mitigate their oppressive policies, is expected to arrive for a six day visit.

The reality is that Gambari will be unable to exert any pressure on the Burmese military junta without the active support of China and India. These two nations have extensive economic connections with Myanmar and if they decide to exert pressure it will be felt by the military junta. Until that happens, the world will hear much talk, but little action.

The Horror Of Myanmar Grows Worse And Worse

German reporters in Myanmar spoke confidentially with a variety of opposition leaders to the bestial military junta which controls Burma. These dissidents report the three largest monasteries have been transformed into military camps and no monks are to be seen. US diplomats who visited 15 monasteries did not find any sign of a monk. Poverty is widespread and many poor people are living on about 60 cents a day when a kilo or rice cost $2. According to residents in the religious city of Pakokku, troops entered the city, tied monks to lamp posts and beat them until blood ran from their bodies. There are reports of bodies of monks found floating in rivers and today, Der Spiegel printed a picture of a dead monk lying face downward in a river. A Der Spiegel reporter spoke with the leader of the All Burma Monks Alliance who said no one will know the extent of how many died, but, at a minimum it runs into the hundreds although officially only 10 died. It is believed bodies are being burned after killed by soldiers and today the Yangoon crematory burned the bodies of 79 “unknown” people. A local resident said troops entered a monastery, lined up the monks and then “the soldiers smashed their heads against the wall.” Since monks believe in non-violence none resisted. Last night, the official radio of the junta, warned reporters, especially Germans, “We will hunt you down” for daring to talk with people about the truth.

China expresses its concern, India pretends nothing has happened, and, after all, its economic interests are more important than people, and the UN envoy admits his mission was a failure. One wonders about the college students of India, why aren’t they protesting their nation’s indifference? Perhaps, American college students can initiate a boycott of the 2008 Olympics to get Chinese action. It is time for action or thousands more will die.