Sunday, June 1, 2008

America Abandons Myanmar! (or, Burma's Equal Opportunity Oppressors)

American ships may leave Burma / Myanmar soon. They haven't delivered the supplies that Burma's people need. And the junta that runs the place probably won't let them.

We'll be reading editorials and op eds about how the "international community" ought to do something. And, unless something very odd happens, not much will be done. (I wrote about this yesterday: "Do We Really Want These Guys in Charge?" (May 31, 2008).

About 2/3 of the people are Burman. The others are members of other ethnic groups:

Burman 68%
Shan 9%
Karen 7%
Rakhine 4%
Chinese 3%
Indian 2%
Mon 2%
other 5%
There's more detail about Burma's people at Burma Issues - "Ethnic Groups"

At least the junta is doing one thing right: they seem to be equal-opportunity oppressors. The ruling junta, which seems to be Burman, rapes, tortures, and pillages members of minority ethnic groups. But they rape, torture, and pillage Burmans, too.

Even so, I think the people living in Burma would be better off without them.

I also think that the junta will be ousted faster, if more people start thinking about something besides the United Nations, when they think "international community."

Background and sources:
  • "Gates: Decision to Pull U.S. Ships From Burma Coast Will Come Within Days"
    FOXNews (June 1, 2008)
    • "U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday he will make a decision in a matter of days to withdraw U.S. Navy ships from the coast of Burma, also known as Myanmar, because 'it's becoming pretty clear the regime is not going to let us help.'
    • "As a result, he said, many more people will die, particularly those in areas that can only be reached by helicopters, such as those sitting idle on the U.S. ships.
    • "Asked if the ruling military there is guilty of genocide, Gates said, 'I tend to see genocide more as a purposeful elimination of people, this is more akin, in my view, to criminal neglect.' " l
  • "A witness's plea to end Myanmar abuse"
    International Herald Tribune op ed (May 19, 2005)
    • " 'The violations inflicted on the Burmese people in general are undoubtedly crimes against humanity,' Horton, 54, said in a recent interview. 'But the destruction of the homes, medicines and food of hundreds of thousands of ethnic people may amount to an attempt to commit genocide. If an international court were to arrive at the same conclusion, it would oblige humanitarian intervention. And that could put the Burmese regime in some peril.
    • "Aung Zaw, who edits The Irrawaddy, a magazine published by exiled Burmese from Chiang Mai,believes genocide is a 'heavily loaded' word in Myanmar's case.
    • " 'The junta targets everyone,' he said, 'including other Burmans. Do they forcibly relocate and loot and rape? Yes. There is a war going on with the ethnic insurgencies, and obviously civilians will be hurt. But I doubt if the junta has any specific campaign against one race.' "
  • "DELAYING DEMOCRACY / How long must the Burmese wait?"
    International Herald Tribune (May 28, 2008)
    • "On Tuesday, the Burmese junta extended the detention of the pro-democracy leader and the world's only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, for an additional year. This marks the fifth consecutive year that Suu Kyi's house arrest has been prolonged and a new low for General Than Shwe, who regularly runs roughshod over the rule of law - even draconian national security laws of the regime's own creation...."
    • "...In the aftermath of the cyclone, some 134,000 Burmese are now dead or missing - over 40 percent of which are believed to be children. And the United Nations reports that only 42 percent of the storm's 2.4 million affected victims have received any humanitarian relief. Although foreign aid workers have begun reaching remote areas of the country, it would come as no surprise if the junta backs away from fulfilling the commitment Than Shwe made to the UN secretary general, Ban Ki Moon, to allow "all foreigners" in to provide relief to the Burmese people...."
    • "...While the UN secretary general, the Burmese regime, and allies of the junta have urged that the question of humanitarian aid not be "politicized," the regime itself is taking every advantage of the cyclone to make permanent its grip on power to the exclusion of helping its own people. As is often the case, distraction and delay in discussing the fundamental issues in Myanmar only serve the interests of the regime...."
    • "It is deeply regrettable that Ban Ki Moon played right into the junta's hand by declining to raise the fraudulent election result or Suu Kyi's expiring house arrest in his meeting with Than Shwe, both of which occurred after Cyclone Nargis hit the country. In so doing, he sent a clear signal to the junta that as long as they held their own people hostage, they could press ahead with their campaign to consolidate power and be assured the United Nations would relax any pressure for political reform."

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.