Tag Archives: Poppies

In Afghan Fields, The Poppies Blow….

It was just another day in Afghanistan, another British soldier died when his vehicle hit a mine. Staff at the British embassy in Afghanistan have taken to wearing white cardboard poppies in their lapel in honor of British dead, it also the famous line about the British soldiers who died in Flanders fields in WWI. A Kabul bookseller inquired of his British customer about the poppy because to his people, poppies represent money for farmers or for the Taliban or for drug dealers. Most of fighting in Afghanistan has been in southern regions but a few days ago a blast in the northern city of Baghian left seventy dead, including sixty children as well as over a hundred wounded. Even as 7,700 British troops are deployed in Afghanistan, there is frustration at refusal by many NATO nations to send troops or to place restrictions on there being allowed to serve in combat areas.

A recent Taliban slogan has become an effective piece of propoganda. It states, “You have the watches, we have the time.” It is becoming apparent there is considerable lack of enthusiasm among NATO nations to have their soldiers serving in Afghanistan. We are left with the Bush legacy of abandoning Afghanistan in order to invade Iraq leaving chaos in both areas of the world. Is the president going to send 20,000 more troops to Afghanistan in another “surge” movement? “In Flanders fields, the poppies blow…”

Poppies Blooming In Burma Thanks To Military Junta

After a six year decline in opium cultivation, the amount of opium being grown in Burma shot up by at least 46%. Burma, Thailand, and Laos constitute the Golden Triangle of opium production in Asia although Afghanistan remains the main center of opium cultivation in the world. Most opium in Myanmar comes from the southern part of the Shan state which borders on Thailand. According to Shariq Bin Raza of the UN office in Burma, “it’s a combination of corruption, law enforcement and border control.”

Recent protests against the military junta mainly focused on political issues, but economic issues are equally of concern for the Burmese people. The military junta has failed to develop Burma’s potential and most probably are engaged in collusion with criminal gangs in order to use opium as a source of wealth. Most experts believe Myanmar has tremendous natural resources which could be channeled into creating a vibrant economy that would benefit the entire nation. The military junta is more concerned with their own interests than those of the Burmese people.