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?