Tag Archives: Burma

Burma Aid Trickles In As People Vote

Supplies are tickling into Myanmar on the 11th day after a devastating cyclone killed upwards of 100,000 people. The UN is frustrated because the military junta which rules the nation refuses to grant visas to relief workers due to its fears foreigners might bring the truth to its people of how their own government has abandoned its citizens. A boat carryng vital supplies sank and all the vital material was lost. Three UN disaster assessment experts have been denied entry as the junta tightens rather than opens the weary nation to outside offers of assistance. French charity Medecins du Monde, said authorities finally on Sunday allowed some aid to get through to people.

It is apparent the military junta wants to present a picture of their efficiency by placing stickers on foreign aid that indicate it is really Burmese. There are even reports that state TV showed pictures of leading generals handing out VCRs and TV sets! One can only assume those in charge of Burma are the mad people of the asylum.

Cyclone Deaths May Top 100,000

American diplomatic sources in Yangon indicate the Myanmar death total may exceed all previous estimates, and, according to Shari Villarosa of the US Embassy in Burma, “the information we’re receiving indicates that there may well be over 100,000 deaths in the delta area.” Burmese government radio and TV sources suggest the total is closer to 23,000, but this is consistent with the military junta approach which it to underplay the tragedy that has overtaken their nation. UN sources believe that over 1,000,000 people are homeless as a result of the cyclone.

Small amounts of aid are trickling into Burma since outside nations are hampered by a refusal of the Burmese military junta to admit they need assistance or to welcome foreigners into the country. Burmese officials still insist on reviewing visa applications before allowing foreign aid workers to enter although they have allowed four Asian nations to send in personnel.

The tragedy of Burma is twofold: a devastating natural cyclone and a military cyclone which reflects the attitude of thugs and gangsters who control the nation.

Burma Military Cyclone Of Disaster Blocks Aid

The Myanmar military junta has finally appealed to the world for assistance in coping with the cyclone disaster which may have killed upwards of 60,000 people, but four days after the storm little held has reached the victims due to the regime’s regulations and refusal to issue visas in a speedy manner. It is now estimated upward of a milliion Burmese are without homes and left with literally nothing as they wait desperately for assistance from the outside world. The UN in Geneva said stalling tactics by the military junta are hampering relief efforts. The ruling junta said: “We need aid from both local and foreign sources,” but the UN is facing tremendous difficulties finding out anything due to restrictions imposed by the small group of mentally ill men who run Myanmar.

The UN can’t even do an assessment because of rules and regulations which makes difficult trying to develop a plan for relief. Instead of going to Burma, most UN workers are bunkered down in Bangkok trying to develop plans of action. The UN support system is not sufficiently on the scene of action because the junta still wants to exert control over a situation that is far beyond their capacity to handle.

The Thai Royal Air Force flew in more than $300,000 worth of medical and food aid and a planeload of supplies came from China but no one knows what happened to the supplies. What has God wrought on the people of Burma may well be less than what has the military junta wrought on its own people.

Thailand Sharply Rebukes US Policy On Myanmar

Thailand’s Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama told the United States its sanctions against Burma will not lead to any productive outcome and there is need for refocusing its policy toward a more multi-national process. He presented his views to Secretary of State Rice during a visit to Washington in response to her belief that exerting pressure on Burma will be successful. Mr. Noppadon told Rice that American policies of pressure will only result in furthering the drug trade and illegal labor seeking jobs in neighboring nations such as Thailand. “We have to help Burma and engage them” he insisted, rather than isolating the inner thinking Burma military junta.

Foreign Minister Noppadon believes “China and India should be invited to these talks since both countries can play a constructive role peersuading Burma to show better development.” He hit on the key issue of how best to aid the struggle of Burma’s people for greater freedom– persuading India and China to become part of the effort of changing the military junta’s attitude. American sanctions will have no impact on Burma unless they are part of a multi-national program which includes those nations which can exert the greatest leverage on the Myanmar government. At this point in time, the United States is not an important player in the lives of Burmese leaders. Sad, but true.

Thailand Signs Business Pact With Burma Junta

Thailand’s Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej committed his nation to a large economic investment plan with the dictatorial Burmese miliatary junta. The proposal will be major effort to boost the Mymanar economy. Up to this point, Thailand has been hesitant abou doing any major economic efforts that might result in strengthening the power of the so-called State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) who exert total control over their nation and stifle all opposition to their rule. The Thai prime minister ordered all his ambassadors to operate a “one-stop service” to facilitate foreigners investing in Burma. He also told reporters that Burma’s military leaders has assured him they were proceeding on the road to democracy.

A year ago, the world expressed its concern over the brutal treatment of Burmese monks who were beaten, murdered and arrested by the Burma regime. Today, all quiet reigns on the eastern front and nations rush to assist the retention in power of thugs and gangsters. the voices of oppressed Burmese people are lost in the rush to riches.

Rambo Stallone Takes On Burma Junta

Burmese officials are not only concerned about human rights activists and monks marching through the streets of major cities, but they are now ready to confront the greatest challenge to their power–Sylvester Stallone and his rendition of Rambo! They have banned all copies of his latest Rambo film, even the pirated ones, in an effort to avoid regime change. Stallone has told the media he is ready and willing to go to Rangoon and personally confront those in charge of the military junta run nation. Thanks to him, “these incredibly brave people have found a kind of a voice, in a very odd way, in American cinema… They’ve actually used some of the film’s quotes as rallying points,” he notes.

Burmese people are secretly obtaining copies of the film and many are now quoting some of its lines such as:
When you’re pushed, kiling’s as easy as breathing.
Burma’s a warzone.

Rambo: Are you bringing in any weapons?
Aid Worker: Of course not.
Rambo: You’re not changin anything.

Stallone challenges the Burmese military to invite him to their nation. “Let me take a tour of your country without someone pointing a gun at my head and we’ll show you where all the bodies are buried…Or let’s debate in Washington in front of a congressional hearing.”

Somehow, we believe the Burma military junta sleeps peacefully tonight knowing Rambo is in Hollywood and they are in Rangoon.

ASEAN– Toothless Tiger Of Asia

In a biting sarcastic article appearing in the Bangkok Post, Achara Ashayagachat, decried his government’s willingness to go along with the Organization of South Eastern Nation’s decision to ignore human rights violations in Burma. Despite urging from UN leaders, such as special envoy Ibrahim Gambrari, the ASEAN meeting demonstrated “there was no unified voice and the leaders all succumbed to Burmese objection to any form of intervention.” The Philippines was the only government taking a firm stand in support of dissident rights and will refuse to sign the recent agreement until something is done to protect human rights in Myanmar. Unfortunately, the failure of ASEAN to take a stand means Burma’s generals “need not fear any interference from their neighbours should they again deal harshly with any future opposition.” He urges the incoming Thai government to stand up for the Burmese people.

It’s encouraging to know there are voices in southeast Asian nations which support human rights. Hopefully, a new Thai government will listen to these cries for assisting the oppressed people of Burma.

Myanmar Activists Use Internet To Fight For Freedom

The new world of Internet activism is being used by Burmese dissidents to fight Burma’s corrupt and oppressive military junta. A Tokyo based group of overseas Burmese belonging to Burma Democratic Union, is drawing upon telephone communication vie cell phones with their comrades in Myanmar to broadcast a true version of conditions in their nation. “This is an editor from ‘Maykha Internet Radio.’ Can I talk to you,?” asked Lay lay, one of the editors who was speaking to a spokesperson for the National League For Democracy in Burma. Each night the program provides interviews inter-mixed with hard news about conditions in their country. Hisao Tanabe, founder of the People’s Forum on Burma operating in Japan, notes how opposition organizations based in Japan are getting out information regarding what really is happening in Myanmar. These groups enable activists still in Burma to communicate reality since the military junta will not allow even the semblance of free press in their nation.

Each day, political leaders are becoming increasingly aware of how the Internet or MySpace or Facebook are altering the scope and function of communication in the 21st century world. It becomes increasingly difficult for governments to cut off communication as alternative sources sprout up throughout the world. Will information disseminated by Burmese activists in Tokyo change what will happen in Burma? Most probably their information will not lead to the overthrow of the junta, but it may cause them to pause in carrying out death and destruction.

Singapore Leader On Burma- “They Are Rather Dumb Generals”

Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s leading statesman commented on his efforts to advice Burmese military leaders by noting they were, for the most part, not the brightest people in the world. “These are rather dumb generals when it comes to the economy. How can they mismanage the economy and each this stage when the country has so many natural resources?” He expressed concern that if Myanmar’s present military leaders were suddenly swept from the scene there would be chaos because the army so permeates the entire economy of the nation. Yew said he had been trying for years to offer advice to Burma’s military junta and thought former prime minister and head of the intelligence, Khin Nyunt, was listening and willing to make changes until swept from office and placed under arrest. “I do not believe,” said Yew, “they can survive indefinitely.”

There is little doubt the basic essence of Yew’s comments are correct about the inept performance of the military junta when it comes to managing Burma’s economy, but at the same time they have been proficient in the imposition of a cruel dictatorship upon the country. An unknown factor is whether or not there are lower level officers who are aware of the need for change in their country. The hope for Burma is that such elements exist and will some day assume positions of leadership to institute change. In the meantime, nations like China and India are the only hope for exerting pressure on the military junta.

Singapore Opposition Parties Rally For Myanmar

Leaders of Singapore’s opposition parties rallied in front of the prime minister’s office in protest against their nation’s failure to take decisive action against the Burmese military junta’s brutal crackdown on monks and protestors. They were led by Chee Soon Juan, a noted critic, who has been in and out of jail for his vocal public comments about the Singapore government. The group had planned a 24 hour protest and wanted to submit a petition to the government which stated: “We demand that the government open its books of the Government Investment Corporation and Temasek to the people starting with its investments in Burma.” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong did criticize the Burmese junta, but made clear that Singapore intended to maintain its investments and diplomatic relations.

The Burmese military leaders are aware that Singapore, China and India want to invest within their nation seeking access to its natural resources, particularly oil. The world can condemn the military junta, but as long as nations like Singapore maintain relations and continue investing in Myanmar, there is no need to alter policies. In fact, the military thugs probably don’t even mind a few negative words from the prime minister of Singapore because they understand it’s for show and tell to prove to the world it cares. There is a cynicism among many Asian leaders which results in abasement of rights in Myanmar.