Tag Archives: Military junta

UN Worried Myanmar Situation Is At Critical Stage

UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari met with Chinese diplomats in an effort to draw upon their influence with the military junta which rules Myanmar. He told them: “I believe we are now in a critical phas in terms of developments in Myanma, in terms of Myanmr’s relations with neighboring countries, with ASEAN, with the international community.” ASEAN, the Associatioin of Southeatern Nations has been urging the junta to reach out to opposition leader Augn San Suu Kyi in hope of creating conditions for establishing democracy.

Burma’s military leaders have announced a May referendumon a constitution written in secret without any input from opposition leaders. Gambari desperately needs China’s aid due to its wide economic involvement in Burma and its close ties with military leaders. However, there is little interest within the Chinese government to see a democratic government created on its southern flank. The only apparent concern among the Chinese developing Myanmar’s natural resources.

Myanmar Opposition Terms Junta Plans Shameful

Myanmar’s opposition party, The National League for Democracy, staged a protest outside of its headquarters to express dismay at the decision of the nation’s military junta to institute a new constitution and hold elections in 2010. UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon termed the so-called elections a backward step because there had not been any consultation with members of opposition parties nor was there any indication those opposed to the junta would be able to engage freely in the electoral process. Senior General Than Shwe dismissed complaints by the NLD by telling the nation on television, “Subversive elements with a negative attitude are resorting to diverse means and ways to weaken unity among the country’s ethnic groups.”

Whenever, the military junta terms a group or person “subversive” it means they have expressed an opinion that runs contrary to those of the generals who rule Burma. The US State Department correctly termed the entire election process a “sham.”

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.

Burmese Celebrate Independence Day Amidst Armed Guards

Four months after huge protests against the military junta which rules Myanmar, the nation’s independence from Great Britain will be celebrated in Rangoon as thousands of police and soldiers observe the scene. Residents watched as hundreds of police gathered at bus stops, railroad stations, and other places where large numbers of people might congregate. The junta’s leader, General Than Thew called for building a “discipline-flourishing democratic state.” Meanwhile, members of the National League for Democracy (NLD), whose leader Aung San Sui Kyi, has spent most of the past 12 years under house arrest, stood quietly outside their party headquarters wearing the prison uniform of dark blue longyi and pale blue shirts with the words, “Fee Political Prisoners” on the back. In another attempt to crush access to information, the Burmese government increased fees for satellite TV from $6 to $1,000.

The sixty or so monks who will participate in the “celebration” of their nation’s independence will be a far cry from the thousands who demonstrated four months ago. The military junta remains firmly in power, the world is silent about Burma, and life goes on its normal course of events. What ever happened to a UN attempt to help restore freedom to the Burmese people?

China Urges Myanmar Leader To Respect UN Pleas

Premier Wen Jiabao of China told Myanmar’s Prime Minister Thein Sein that the people of his nation must make final determinations as to their future, but the “international community should provide constructive assistance.” He urged the Burma leader to work with the UN special envoy, Ibrahim Gambari on finding a peaceful solution. The Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN)rejected calls by the United States Senate for suspension of Myanmar from that organization and imposition of economic sanctions. Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hu Sen said “Economic sanctions are not good, they will lead to disaster for the civilian population.”

The trouble with China or SEAN is their belief the people of Myanmar somehow are in a position to decide what is in their best interests. In the best of all worlds, if the Burmese people had any say in what goes on in Myanmar, the outside world should stay out of their business, but, in reality, a brutal dictatorship of generals is determining what will occur. Talk is cheap, but action on the part of China can impose real pressure on the military junta. However, that most probably will not happen.

Burma Junta Agrees To Talks

The Burmese military junta and opposition parties have agreed to hold “meaningful and substantive” talks to resolve the current political crisis in Myanmar. UN Secretary General Ban ki-mon said his special envoy to Myanmatr, Irbrahim Gambari was able to convince Burma’s military leaders of the importance attached to engaging in dialogue with all political parties in their nation. The UN Security Council has urged Burma’s leaders to work constructively with Suu Kyi, the main opposition leader, in order to move their nation forward toward democracy.

The Burmese military junta is undoubtedly as stubborn and hostile to outside pressure as was Saddam Hussein. George Bush never allowed the UN to pursue its investigation of the supposed WMD preferring military action which became the disastrous Iraq war. Sometimes, it takes time to achieve results, but Bush lacked time or, perhaps, he never intended to pay any attention to the UN.

Burma Freedom Fighter Offers To Dialogue With Military Junta

Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese opposition leader who has spent 12 o the last 18 years under house arrest offered to meet with the ruling military junta for a dialogue in oder to break the impasse between the oppressive military leaders and the mass of Burmese people who seek some form of democracy. Kyi said: “In the interest of the nation, I stand ready to cooperate with the Government in order to make this process of dialogue a success.” The statement was read to the world in Singapore by UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari who recently completed several days in Burma trying to talk with members of the junta. Burma State Television said General Aung Kyi would meet with Suu Kyi(no relation). A top level diplomat in Yangoon, commented to the press, “there is no doubt in my mind that this regime has no intention of cooperating with Bambari or starting a process of genuine dialogue.”

The process of attempting to bring about change in Myanmar is hampered by failure of China and India to assume a proactive role in fostering dialogue. As the top trading partners of Burma, these two nations have economic power to move the junta toward some acomodation with opposition leaders.

US Expanding Sanctions Against Burma Military Junta

US lawmakers are considering a dramatic increase in sanctions against the Burmese military junta whose oppressive rule has crushed people in their country and made poverty the norm in what once was a nation with the capability of having a fairly successful economy. They are proposing legislation which would ban export of gems and timber from Burma, two resources which have brought millions in revenue to Myanmar. It would ban travel by top generals and outlaw the import into the United states of gems and timber from Burma. According to Senator Joseph Biden, “”we ned to bring pressure to bear on the Burmese generals directly responsible for the violence against the peaceful protestors last month, but unilateral sanctions alone will not get the job done.”

The proposed legislation stems from good intentions, trying to do something about curtailing the power of Myanmar’s military junta. The reality is that gems will be sent to Thailand where they will be polished and exported as Thai gems. The reality is that timber can be sold in India for use or for re-export. There are two key players in placing pressure on the military junta — India and China. If those nations used their leverage over Burma’s rulers, change will occur. It is doubtful banning Burmese generals from traveling will have any impact — few of them travel anywhere.

Burma Military Junta– No Monks Killed!

Burma’s military junta continued its life of denial by claiming no monks had been killed during the massive protests which swept their nation over the past month. Religious Affairs Minister, Gen. Thura Myint Maung, claimed “most of the monks from the National Front of Monks are ex-convicts and bogus monks who led the protest in violation of cleric rules.” Of course, ordinarily, in most countries, a minister of religious affairs tends to be someone who has a connection to religion, not a general in the army. On a more helpful note, it is reported that opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for 12 of the last 18 years, was taken to meet with a member of the military. The Senior General, Than Shwe, has demanded that prior to meeting with him, she must renounce outside interference in the affairs of Burma, but Suu Kyi has refused the request. Sources claim she might have a chance to meet with Gen. Aung Kyi(no relation) who reportedly is among the more reasonable of the military junta.

The thugs who run Burma claim no monks have been killed during the protest. In yesterday’s Der Spiegel, a picture was printed of a monk lying face down in water. The paper also presented first hand accounts of monks being beaten and killed by members of the military. The generals are a group of ignorant incompetents who rule by force and have driven their potentially wealthy nation to the brink of ruin while siphoning off money from drug trades and business operations for themselves. They just built a new capital city miles away from Yangoon which will be their private reserve.

Time Running Out In Burma

As the days and weeks pass without any significant change in Burma prospects disappear for aiding the oppressed people of that nation. Michael Vatikotis, of the Asian Centre For Humanitarian Dialogue, says the recent announcement by the military junta of a constitutional committee which fails to include representatives of opposition parties indicates an attitude of proceeding as usual. Burma’s military leaders talk with UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari, shake their heads as though there is interest in what he urges, and after Gambari leaves, they go right back to the old ways of ignoring the world. ASEAN, the Association of Southeastern Nations, has been unable to come up with a joint approach that might combine a carrot-stick proposal to the junta. China and India which can exert pressure refuse to take any action that threatens their economic interests in Myanmar. According to Vtaikotis, if nothing concrete is proposed, “the generals in Burma will correctly conclude that they have been given a free pass again” to go on with oppressing the people of Burma.

Perhaps, there is one option that might be taken. Organization of a world wide boycott of the Olympic Games in 2008 would force China to take action and force the military junta to institute changes. Is there any one out there willing to lead such a boycott?