Tag Archives: Burma

Hillary Clinton Ponders Myanmar Dilemma

The problem of how best to deal with the military thugs who control Myanmar with a iron fist has bedeviled American political leaders for years. The Bush administration tried employing sanctions but there is scant evidence those running Myanmar are worried if their people suffer due to economic constraints. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is going to attempt seeking new ways to connect with the rulers of Burma in order to explore alternatives to the failed policy of sanctions. After meeting with the Foreign Minister of Indonesia, she made clear since they have a better entry into the Burmese leaders the United States would work in close cooperation with Indonesia in finding ways to assist the people of Burma. As she noted, “imposing sanctions has not influenced the junta… reaching out and trying to engate has not influenced them either.”

In reality, there is not much the United States or even Indonesia can do to influence a group of men who inhabit a closed world in which only their concerns are of importance. Most probably, China is a better entry into these people since they have built a lucrative relationship with China in order to develop the rich natural resources of their country.

Trip To Burma-Trip To Oz

A visit by a United Nations official to investigate the level of human rights in Burma is akin to taking a trip to the land of Oz in search of reality. Sometimes, the military thugs who run Myanmar actually allow visitors to inspect the presence of what people in other parts of the world term, “human rights” but to the military clique, human rights means, they have rights and other humans have the right to agree with their version of rights. Tomas Ojea Quintana is in Burma, and he is talking to a few people, but the leaders of the nation simply don’t understand that when one talks with people, they have the right to disagree so their solution is not to talk with anyone from the UN or any of those nasty organizations which throw around words like “rights.”

Reality is that leaders of the National League for Democracy which won the last free election are currently under house arrest or in prison. UN officials can come and go but there will not be any changes in current approaches to human rights.

Burmese Muslims Tossed From Nation To Nation

Myanmar is a nation ruled by a group of thuggish military leaders who constantly wage war against ethnic minorities who reside in a Buddhist society. The plight of the Rohingya people illustrates the indifference felt by the Burmese government and other non-Muslim societies in Asia. Rohingya have been expelled from Thailand and set adrift on rafts in the Indian Ocean in order to get them out of Thailand. Daw Aye Aye, a Burmese official made clear his government did not want the Rohingya to return and would prefer if they were sent off to some far away Muslim nation.

The Rohingya are a symbol of the world’s indifference to human suffering and our inability as humans to confront issues of persecution, particularly when oppressed people inhabit faraway lands and are of a different religion or ethnicity that fails to attract sympathy in the media. It always fascinates this writer how the plight of one group can become a media sensation while similar persecution does not even rate a line in the media.

Burma Abuses Christians

The world focuses intently on events in the Middle East while massive abuses of individuals proceeds in Asia and Africa without eliciting any pangs of guilt or anger. Human Rights Watch claims the Burmese government is abusing, torturing and killing members of the Christian Chin ethnic group and thousands are attempting to flee across the border to India. A Chin man told the group: “They(Burmese soldiers) tortured me and put me in jail for a week. They beat me on my heads and ears, I still have a hearing problem. Then the army forced me to work at road construction and repair.” Reports indicate thousands are being forced to work on army projects as well as turn over food to soldiers without receiving compensation.

The Chin are about one percent of the 57 million Burmese people and are mainly Christian. Their religious facilities are routinely destroyed and people attempting to worship forced to flee. It is always fascinating which group of oppressed people in the world attract attention from left wing groups and those who are concerned about suffering in the world. It appears we humans have selective attention as to whom we will protest about when it comes to people being beaten and oppressed.

Burmese People Stand Openly For Freedom

The people of Burma are among the bravest human beings on this planet because they continue fighting for the rights of free people despite living in a closed society in which a military junta uses its power to imprison and brutalize any who oppose their totalitarian rule. Phoebe Kennedy, a reporter for the Independent, found the offices of the National League for Democracy(NLD) the party of house detained Aung San Suu Kyi, who won the only free election in recent history, but was denied the right to assume control of the government. In recent months a variety of opposition leaders ranging from a comedian to politicians have been sentenced to fifty years or more in jail for daring to openly express their views.

Ms. Kennedy found a crowd of about 80 people gathered openly to discuss issues while members of the secret police watched from across the street. She asked several people if they were frightened and most responded: “No. We don’t care.” They were stating their conviction that fear had long since left their lives because they know if they surrender to obedience to the military junta, their dignity as humans has vanished.

A pseudo election will be held in 2010 by the military and the NLD has to decide whether to play along with the charade or find a way to oppose participating in the “elections” whose outcome is already known.

It is easy for those thousands of miles away from the brutality that is known as Burma to urge standing up for rights. We cannot use such words. These brave people will do what they believe is necessary and whatever they do will be an expression of freedom.

Myanmar Thugs Imprison Defenders Of Freedom

The military thugs who presently run Myanmar cracked down last year on anyone who had the audacity to express an honest opinion about life in the prison known as Burma. Nay Phone Latt, a well known blogger, was arrested last year, but not until this week did he learn the government was sentencing him to a twenty year prison term. Latt, like the vast majority of Burmese supports democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, but fellow leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD) reportedly were also being sent to jail for their part in last year’s demonstrations. Nay Phone’s blog was in the Burmese language and had become a focal point for those who disagreed with the military junta which runs the nation.

The United Nations is powerless because the Burmese junta has close economic ties with India and China who prefer wealth over support for democracy. It is reported there was no trial and no defense attorney for Nay Phone. Most probably, it didn’t matter, because he was guilty as charged since all honest people oppose the thugs running their nation.

Burma Remains In Disaster Mode

Six months have passed since a huge cyclone ripped through Burma leaving over a hundred fifty thousand people suffering from lack of fresh water, food, and lodging. The thug military rulers of the nation refused to take immediate action, but finally allowed in some outside aid groups. However, after months of doing the least necessary action possible, thousands of people remain without access to fresh water, and as the dry season hits, many good watering places will dry up. The United Nations pledged about $500 million in aid, but there is not enough evidence this money has been wisely used. Ironically, the cyclone has proven a blessing in disguise for the military rulers of Burma. The world is not as concerned about lack of freedom in the nation since all thoughts are on economic rebuilding.

Aid does get through, but most of those who suffered still lack access to the aid that is coming from outside sources. There may yet be a worse outcome if basic necessities such as water and food doesn’t get through to those who were most impacted by the cyclone.

Burma Thug Rulers Seek Refuge In Victimhood!

The military rulers of Myanmar insist they have been doing a terrific job of ruling their nation but imposition of sanctions by the UN has created serious economic problems. Despite the fact the UN has only recently become directly involved in trying to aid the Burmese people, military rulers claim the UN sanctions are “immoral and unfair” and the cause of poverty in the country. The “Friends of the Secretary General on Myanmar” want the military junta to comply with UN requests for a democratic opening that would allow all parties to participate in elections and the freeing of opposition leaders. Foreign Minister Nyan Win, responded that Myanmar would be a bread basket to the region and offer plentiful energy supplies if only the UN would end sanctions.

A first step in the move toward democracy by the military junta would be freeing opposition leader, Aung San Auu Kyi and allowing freedom of the press and speech. Unfortunately, the junta definition of what constitutes “democracy” has no relation to the reality of democracy. Unfortunately, there is scant prospect of the junta bending and allowing more democracy.

Burma Dissident Finally Freed

The thugs who run Burma have imprisoned many people over the years in their attempt to stifle voices of freedom, but none of these heroes stands out more than Win Tin, a journalist who was finally freed after 19 years in prison. He is Burma’s longest serving prisoner in the fight for democracy in the nation. Win Tin told fellow reporters on being freed, “I will keep on fighting until the emergence of democracy in this country.” He was arrested in 1989 for the heinous crime of assisting a girl who had just obtained an abortion. While in prison, he received additional punishment for agitating against the military government and distributing propaganda. The 79 year old dissident was released along with 9,002 other prisoners under amnesty for ordinary prisoners.

Win Tin showed his defiance to the very end refusing to pick up his personal belongings or change into civilian clothes because he wanted to make clear he was not an ordinary criminal but a hero of the Burmese people.

Western Aid To Burma Thug Leaders Will Continue

The government of Australia announced it would continue providing relief to survivors of the Myanmar May cyclone even though it completely disagrees with the policies of that nation’s government. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also said her country would pursue its current policy of supplying aid. The Australian and American leaders met at the annual ASEAN summit meeting which also included Burmese Foreign Minister Nyan Win. Rice emphasized, “We believe that ASEAN has an important role to play in addressing the root cause of Burma’s grave problem, the repression of the Burmese democracy movement.” Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith also called on Burmese leaders to “respect human rights, to respect the rule of law and we want to see democracy return to Myanmar.”

According to Smith, Burmese Foreign Minister, Nyan Win gave “the usual Myanmar reaction” which is to insist his nation is democratic. It just doesn’t allow elections and criticism of its leaders, but, most probably that is only done in the name of maintaining law and order. In Burma, law and order means doing what you are told by the military junta which rules the nation with an iron fist.