Say Apple – An Apple, Mango – A Mango, Monkey – A Monkey, don’t make a monk – Thief!

Posted November 2, 2009 by Rajshekhar
Categories: Buddhism, Burma, Cartoon, China, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Democracy, Diplomat

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

(First published on burmareview.org on 30th October 2009)

By: Vijay ‘Bidrohi’

A curious student, hungry for knowledge, asked his teacher a very difficult question – “how to follow Gandhi’s philosophy in current materialistic world to serve humanity”? After a little pause & thought, the teacher replied, it is very simple, start saying – apple – an apple, mango – a mango, monkey – a monkey but don’t make a monk & spiritual person like –Holy Dalai Lama – a thief!

Then equally difficult student asked, if I have to say – a Dragon – a Rabbit, a Monkey – a Parrot, a Mango – an Apple, a Chimpanzee – a Fox, a lovely tender Rose – a Stone, what I would do? The teacher replied – “become an Ambassador or join diplomatic service” or “membership of ruling political party of walled kingdom”. Then, the curious student unsatisfied with the answers of his master asked again – “diplomatic services of which country”? The teacher quickly replied – Ambassadorship of any country will work, art of contemporary diplomacy is very scientific. It can make very simple thing appear complicated and complicated thing appear very simple. Student little confused with the answers, asked again – how come political party of walled kingdom figures into this? The teacher replied – ‘don’t you see my loved one, that, sometime, detention & house arrest of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi loved by the people of pagoda kingdom becomes an international problem for walled kingdom and sometimes an internal one! Student satisfied with answers, thanked his master, left him & walked towards countryside to spread the message singing – “Say apple – an apple, mango – a mango, monkey – a monkey, don’t make a monk thief…don’t make a monk thief…don’t make a monk thief…o…o…o…Great Holy Dalai Lama accept my salute!”

 

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Burma Review back on Web: burmareview.com is now burmareview.org

Posted September 23, 2008 by Rajshekhar
Categories: Asian History & Politics, Blogroll, Burma, Democracy, History, Human Rights, Modern Asian History, News, Politics, Thoughts

Burma Review is back on web at blogger.com / Google facilities as – burmareview.org / burmareview.blogspot.com web site. The journey of Burma Review was started on 5th of December 2006 at wordpress.com as burmareview.wordpress.com and later

shifted to the domain name: burmareview.com (which has been now taken by the other interested group to destroy the purpose of the concerned domain name, so now please don’t visit burmareview.com, the story of losing domain name on word press would be explained on other occasions, the forces behind it could be well understood) The old posts of Burma Review will remain available at bumareview.wordpress.com

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Lessons of Burma Uprising 2007

Posted December 22, 2007 by Rajshekhar
Categories: ASEAN, Burma, Burma Review, China, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, European Union, Freedom, History, Junta, Modern Asian History, Myanmar, Reporters, Southeast Asia, Thoughts

BY: Richard, Editor, Burma Dialogue (www.freesuukyi.org/blog )      

While we sit back and watch the junta predictably jump back and forth concerning the NLD and Aung San Suu Kyi’s level of involvement (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7150488.stm)  in the masquerade they call a “road to democracy” we can at least say those who stood up will be remembered in the back pages of Time’s internet pages(http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/personoftheyear/article/0,28804,1690753_1690758_1693514,00.html).    

Once again ASEAN, the UN, the US and the EU all seem to be under pressure to bring the regime under grand consequence, or the future will simply have no hope for us humanitarians. If my sarcasm is not obvious let me point it out for you. Negligence is the statue in which we embark to resolve.    Though we have done one thing I suppose. The United States passed a Bill(http://uk.reuters.com/article/oilRpt/idUKN1962807620071220) ending financial support for the flow of Burmese rubies and timber.  China will be happy to oblige. The real Burma timber market is going to China anyways.  The always reliable Telegraph (yes, more sarcasm) stated that in 2007 blogs (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=FXQWANC3XA4L3QFIQMFCFFOAVCBQYIV0?xml=/news/2007/10/01/wburma201.xml) helped the Burmese revolution.

They stated three, only one of which is actually a blog.    What the uprising of 2007 has taught me is that, it is not the action or inaction of any government or institution that plays any real role in the fight for freedom for the people of Burma. It is the individual, inside or outside of Burma that makes the case for his and her own freedom according to that which they are prepared to lay down. I have done a little here and there. I would like to do more. But no one has done as much as those in Burma, who were seen publicly, had their pictures taken and their names put on a list for questioning and imprisonment as thoroughly as the Nazi’s did it.    

But Time hides such human courage in the back pages, and names Putin, one of the junta’s largest supporters “Man of the Year”. It is clear we are on our own in this fight. I’m not saying anything new. Others know and are simply waiting for the right….Time.    

(The End)  

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Burma Review Completes One Year!

Posted December 7, 2007 by Rajshekhar
Categories: Ambassador, Blogroll, Burma, Burma Review, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, India, Mahatma Gandhi, Myanmar, Southeast Asia

(This post was scheduled to appear on 5th of December but due to the internet support facilities failure it is appearing today)  

Burma Review has completed its one year journey on the web. On the completion of its twelve months journey of Burma Review, I would like to thank all those valuable esteemed readers of Burma Review, who have made significant contribution in its one year journey through their many comments, writings and suggestions to keep alive the flame of Burma burning for freedom and correct historical interpretation of the great nation of Asia suffering under military dictatorship.

In future, it will be more vigilant to face and unmask the claims of certain historians that it is a “democracy jihad”. In its journey towards people’s freedom, Burma Review has been able to attract more than thirty-six thousand six-hundred hits and many comments on its fifty-six posts. The visit of more than thirty-six thousands six-hundred viewers on Burma Review also indicates towards the contemporary historical reality of Burma that people sitting across the globe and inside Burma are not going to forget plight and suffering of people’s queen of Asia – Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Moreover, in its journey of one year, Burma Review has witnessed the greatest courage of Burmese people’s desires towards democracy in their August-September 2007 revolution against illegitimate ruling military regime known as – State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), which failed to recognize the May 1990 election results. It might have appeared to the ruling military regime that, Burma Review is working against them as it talks about the freedom of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners of Burma. But in fact, I have never thought that, military hasn’t got role in any nation and basically every democratic leaders of Burma & senior NLD people with whom I met, they also accepts military’s role in the nation but problem lies that, military doesn’t understands the role of personalities like Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in nation building negating the desires of the people in the lust of remaining in power.      

Most importantly, the biggest historical failure and blunders of SPDC is to understand the political-social vision of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (DASSK) on ethnic issues, which resulted in recent junta supported series of statements from ethnic groups. However, both (SPDC and DASSK) believes ultimately in “union spirit” like Bogyoke Aung San, U Nu, Dr. Ba Maw etc. However, it is few ethnic leaders, who defined the February 1947 Panglong agreement in a wrong way going beyond the ultimate historical visions of the makers of Burma like – Bogyoke Aung San, Dr. Ba Maw, U Ottama, U Nu creating not only the problem for Daw Aung Suu Kyi and NLD but also helped military rulers to perpetuate their rule in the name of “Union Spirits”. I will write in details on ethnic issues in future posts in Burma Review. For a moment in brief, Burma Review and any Indian Scholar believes in the “United and Strong Burma” because great makers of Burma like – Bogyoke Aung San also wished, worked and thought for that.  And, as far as I have understood Daw Aung San Suu Kyi through her writings, speeches and interviews, she also want to make Burma strong on the same visions of Bogyoke Aung San giving respectable space to different ethnic views to protect their culture, customs, language in the great Indian and Asian ethos of “Unity in Diversity”.

I don’t know, what has happened in the United Nations Security Council meetings on the issue of arms embargo on Burma? But I would like to remind the member nations of the world’s largest body that, ten years back on the occasion of the 53rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Geneva, held on 8th of April 1997, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi had made an appeal, which is still to be fulfilled and realized.  In which, She spoke with pain that, “The main obligation of the international community is to do every thing it can to implement the terms of the General Assembly resolution.  As I said earlier it is a good resolution but it shouldn’t just remain on paper, it needs to be implemented.  And since it was passed unanimously I think the international community does have an obligation to try to implement its terms. To take it seriously, not just to regard it as a piece of paper.” However the event in Burma suggests that, it is still remained on paper. Furthermore, it is a mockery of world institutions like UN and ASEAN that despite their many official calls for the freedom of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, she is still in house arrest and not allowed to meet the world press.         

Burma Review has a special important role to play as it is also a “Voice from India” for the freedom of Burmese people and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, analyzing Modern Burmese history on the correct perspective of the vision’s of Burma’s great leaders like- Bogyoke Aung San, U Nu, Dr. Ba Maw and many great sons and daughters of Burma on the basis of available historical facts. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is very special for India, not only because she has spent some years in India during her studies, but because she has been also a great disciple of our great father of the nation – Mahatma Gandhi and truly following the path of non-violence against heaviest odds. There have been many posts on Burma websites concerning themes that, “Don’t forget Burma” and many like these words, so in the next post Burma Review will analyze on this very important issue utilizing the research tools of historiography taking examples of Asian history. I have also not finished the second and concluding part of the comparisons of “Quit India Movement with 8888 Quit Dictatorship Movement” post, which will appear in January 2008.     

Once again thanking you all for visiting Burma Review,   

Rajshekhar

Editor, Burma Review 

INDIA

5th of December 2007  

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Human Rights Watch: UN should Impose Arms Embargo on Burma

Posted December 5, 2007 by Rajshekhar
Categories: Blogroll, Burma, Burma Review, Democracy, Freedom, Human Rights, Media, Myanmar, News, Politics, UN

Press Release: Human Rights Watch, December 5, 2007 

Human Rights Watch, in its press release issued today, has appealed to the United Nations Security Council to impose an arms embargo on Burma in response to the Burmese military government’s continued recruitment of children for its national army. Human Rights Watch further stressed that, Burma’s ruling military regimes claim to redress the problem of child recruitments are wholly insufficient.    

The press release has been issued addressed to the tomorrow’s meeting of the UN Security Council’s working group on children and armed conflict, which is scheduled to discuss the recent report submitted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, that has found well documented “grave violations” against children in Burma, including patterns of underage military recruitment.     

According to the Press Release issued today by HRW, the UN secretary-general has issued five reports since 2002 citing Burma’s national army, the Tatmadaw, for violating international law prohibiting the use of child soldiers. The reports have also cited several non-state armed groups in Burma for recruiting children, including armed opposition groups. 

Burma’s army has recruited thousands of children to fill its ranks,” said Jo Becker, children’s rights advocate for Human Rights Watch. “The Security Council needs to show Burma’s generals that they cannot get away with such horrendous practices.” The Security Council’s working group on children and armed conflict must now consider what action the Security Council should take in response to the secretary-general’s new report on violations in Burma. In past resolutions on children and armed conflict, the Security Council has stated that it will consider targeted measures including embargoes on arms and other military assistance – in cases where governments and armed groups fail to end their use of child soldiers.    

It is important to note that, in a report released in October, Human Rights Watch documented how children as young as 10 are recruited by force into Burma’s army. At recruitment centers, officers falsify documents to register new recruits as age 18, even if they are clearly underage. Former soldiers reported that in many training camps, children made up more than 30 percent of new recruits.  After putting children through military training, the Burmese army uses them in combat against ethnic armed opposition groups, and sometimes to participate in human rights abuses against civilians. Children who try to escape are typically beaten, re-recruited, or imprisoned.     

The army’s forced recruitment is designed to fill personnel shortages as a result of both increased desertion rates and army expansion. This expansion includes new units established to utilize arms purchased from China, India, Russia, and Ukraine. Under Burma’s national law, the recruitment of anyone below age 18 is prohibited. The recruitment and use of child soldiers below the age of 15 is considered a war crime under international law.     

In 2004, the military government, known as the State Peace and Development Council, established a high-level committee to prevent the recruitment of underage soldiers. Human Rights Watch’s investigation found that the committee had taken little action to end child recruitment, and instead repeatedly denied outside reports of child soldier use by government forces. There is no independent oversight of this committee, nor is there monitoring of recruitment centers or access to military bases throughout Burma’s hinterland, where many child soldiers are deployed.     

In addition, Human Rights Watch advocate for Children’s right – Mr. Jo Becker has pointed that the, “The Security Council should not be fooled by Burma’s repeated promises to address the army’s use of child soldiers,” and stressed that, “Nothing short of an arms embargo is likely to make Burma’s military government end all recruitment and use of children.”    

Non-state armed groups in Burma also use child soldiers, though practices vary widely. Some groups actively recruit and use children in armed conflict, while others, including the Karenni Army and Karen National Liberation Army, have taken steps to end the recruitment of children into their forces. In its report, Human Rights Watch noted that cooperation by the Karenni Army and its efforts since 2002 to end the use of child soldiers had eradicated the practice, and recommended the armed group be removed from the UN secretary-general’s list of parties using child soldiers.     

Mr. Jo Becker further said that, “Burma’s diplomatic supporters in the Security Council, China and Russia, are also its main arms suppliers. These countries sell weapons to Burma with scant regard for the impact on the civilian population.”      

(The End)   

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Time has come for UN to act firmly on Burma

Posted December 4, 2007 by Rajshekhar
Categories: Ambassador, ASEAN, Asian History & Politics, Blogroll, Burma, Burma Review, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Democracy, Diplomat, Europe, European Union, Freedom, History, Human Rights, Junta, Liberty, Mahatma Gandhi, Media, Modern Asian History, Monks, Myanmar, News, Non-violence, Nordic, Politics, Reporters, Southeast Asia, Thoughts, UK, UN, USA

Burma’s ruling military junta officially known as State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), bolstered by the recent successful trip of the two ASEAN member nations – Cambodia and Vietnam of their Seven-step road map of democracy organized a Press Conference (No. 2/2007) yesterday, which has been published in today’s official media – The New Light of Myanmar;  once again reiterated that, they believed August-September 2007 people’s revolution “were the results of timely conspiracies of  western powers and anti-government groups inside and outside the country as well as at the border.”  Most interesting part of today’s published press conference is related with the news of fine contradictions of Junta appointed Daw Aung Suu Kyi’s liaison minister for Labour’s – U Aung Kyi’s statement with the statement of Information Minister – Brigadier General Mr. Kyaw Hsan’s statement in the same news report published on page number ten. While answering to the question of Nikei Newspaper correspondent, that, “Is there prospect of the negotiation between NLD led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the government or is there any progress for the negotiation?”, the Information Minister replied that, “Before thinking about the prospect of the negotiation, we should see the progress in the meetings of Minister U Aung Kyi and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi first. Regarding the negotiation, the Government issued the announcement No 1/2007. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has not yet responded to the announcement. The announcement No 1/2007 is the basic for all,” proving that the media reported three meetings of liaison minister’s talks with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has not resulted in any positive outcome and progress.        

It is important to note that, earlier Burma’s ruling military junta had announced on 4th of October 2007 through their announcement No. 1/2007 (published on 5th of October of the New Light of Myanmar) that, “If Daw Aung San Suu Kyi declares to give up exerting efforts for Confrontation, Utter Devastation, and Imposing All Kinds of Sanctions including Economic Sanction against Myanmar then the Senior General – Mr. Than Shwe will personally meet her.” 

However, it is noteworthy that till now only one statement of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been published in the world press through the efforts of the United Nations Special Envoy of Burma – Mr. Ibrahim Agboola Gambari issued at Singapore on 8th of November 2007, in which she clearly welcomed, “the appointment on 8th of October of Minister Aung Kyi as minister for relations,” and said that, “Our first meeting on 25th October was constructive and look forward to further regular discussions. I expect that this phase of preliminary consultations will conclude soon so that a meaningful and time bound dialogue with the SPDC leadership can start as early as possible.”  She further reiterated in her 8th of November statement that, “In the interest of the nation, I stand ready to cooperate with the government in order to make this process of dialogue a success and welcome the necessary good offices role of the United Nations to help facilitate our efforts in this regard.”

However, today’s published statement by the Information Minister indicates and proves that, Junta’s intention of negotiation is nothing but fooling the world community, UN and ASEAN member nations, whereas Daw Aung San Suu Kyi seriously wants to cooperate with the military junta towards genuine democratic transformation.       

In the same news report published today, when Reuter’s news Agency correspondent – U Aung Hla Tun asked liaison Minister for Labour – Mr. U Aung Kyi, that, “Is there time frame for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to respond to the announcement No 1/2007 as she has not yet responded to the announcement? Can we expect that she will respond to the announcement? I want to know the progress of the meetings between U Aung Kyi and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi”, the liaison minister replied that, “I met with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for three times. We have made progress at the meetings. The first meeting was aimed at gaining understanding between us. The second meeting was to discuss frameworks for the future. The third meeting was to discuss the facts that should be included in the framework. We will release information related to the meetings when necessary. Regarding the time frame, we will continue to hold meetings with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. We need to consider “what” to discuss and “why”. We are choosing “What” and “Why”. So, we will take “Where”, “How” and “When” into consideration in the future”, indicating the whole structure of negotiations is an attempt  of buying time to go-ahead with their planned seven-step roadmap of democracy and well designed move to suppress the democratic forces led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.     

If after two months of the appointment of liaison minister, Daw Suu Kyi is not allowed freely to meet world press and still suffering under house arrest and SPDC is still wavering on “What”, “Why”, Where, “How”, and “When”, then the time has ripped now to act sternly on Burma with firm hands by the United Nations and ASEAN?       

(Note: For reader’s clear understanding of the issue, please find below the announcement No. 1/2007 as well as the statement of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi released on 8th of November by the UN Special Envoy of Burma at Singapore on 8th of November 2007) 

   

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DOCUMENT No. 1: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s Statement released at Singapore by the UN special envoy – Mr. Ibrahim Gambari on 8th of November 2007.  

As you know, I have just completed a mission to Myanmar from 3 to 8 November, where I met today with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. In my capacity as Special Advisor to the Secretary-General for Myanmar. I was authorized by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to make the following statement on her behalf:  

  1. I wish to thank all those who have stood by my side all this time, both inside and outside my country. I am also grateful to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, for his unwavering support for the cause of national reconciliation, democracy and human rights in my country.

  2. I welcome the appointment on 8th of October of Minister Aung Kyi as minister for relations. Our first meeting on 25th October was constructive and look forward to further regular discussions. I expect that this phase of preliminary consultations will conclude soon so that a meaningful and time bound dialogue with the SPDC leadership can start as early as possible.

  3. In the interest of the nation, I stand ready to cooperate with the government in order to make this process of dialogue a success and welcome the necessary good offices role of the United Nations to help facilitate our efforts in this regard.

  4. In full awareness of the essential role of political parties in democratic societies, in deep appreciation of the sacrifices of the members of my party and in my position as General Secretary, I will be guided by the policies and wishes of the National League for Democracy. However, in this time of vital need for democratic solidarity and national unity, it is my duty to give constant and serious considerations to the interests and opinions of as broad a range of political organization and forces as possible, in particular those of our ethnic nationality races.

  5. To that end, I am committed to pursue the path of dialogue constructively and invite the government and all relevant parties to join me in this spirit.

  6. I believe that stability, prosperity and democracy for my country, living at peace with itself and with full respect for human rights, offers the best prospect for my country to fully contribute to the development and stability of the region in close partnership with its neighbors and fellow ASEAN members and to play a positive role as a respected member of the international community.

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DOCUMENT No. 2: SPDC’s Announcement No. 1/2007 issued on 4th of October 2007 published on 5th of October 2007 in the New Light of Myanmar:   

The Government of the Union of MyanmarAnnouncement No. 1/20078th Waning Day of Tawthalin, 1369 ME

(4th October 2007)  

1. In the Union of Myanmar, the Government and the people are striving hand in hand to build up a new democratic nation. 

2. However, starting from 28th August 2007, there occurred demonstrations of some monks. The demands made by the demonstrators in the beginning were only to bring down commodity prices but later the demands made by them were nothing to do with monks and it was found to be the wishes of a political party and other organizations aspiring to create unrest. Unrests occurred due to the attempts of those who want to grab power through short-cut and that of some foreign nations to destabilize the nation. 

3. The unrests are now totally under control by authorities for ensuring stability and the rule of law, with the cooperation of Sanghas and people who do not want any unrest. 

4. Due to lopsided broadcasts by some international media, some member nations of the United Nations Organization were worried about Myanmar’s situation and the UN Secretary-General sent his Special Envoy Mr Ibrahim Agboola Gambari to Myanmar to make urgent investigation and submit a report. 

5. Myanmar is grateful to some member nations of the UN for their understanding upon Myanmar’s situation and their principled stances. 

6. Mr Gambari arrived Myanmar on 29th September. He witnessed the situation has returned to normalcy and he had an opportunity to pay a courtesy call on State Peace and Development Council Chairman Senior General Than Shwe. Mr Gambari also had opportunities to meet with those worthy to be met for enquiring the situation. 

7. At the courtesy call, State Peace and Development Council Chairman Senior General Than Shwe mentioned Mr Gambari that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been exerting efforts for Confrontation, Utter Devastation, and Imposing All Kinds of Sanctions including Economic Sanction against Myanmar. If she declares to give them up, the Senior General will personally meet her. 

8. At present, the people of various States and Divisions all over the country are convening mass rallies to support the National Convention and welcome the forthcoming Constitution as well as to denounce recent unrests. 

9. Hence, the Government, with the support and in response to confidence and aspiration of the people, will continue to build up the nation into a discipline flourishing genuine democratic one in accordance with the seven-step Road Map.  

By order,

(Signed)Thant Shin

ColonelSecretary

The Government of the Union of Myanmar    

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The World Must Not Give Up!

Posted December 4, 2007 by Rajshekhar
Categories: AIDS, Ambassador, ASEAN, Asian History & Politics, Blogroll, Britain, Buddhism, Burma, Burma Review, China, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Democracy, Diplomat, Drug, Economy, Europe, European Union, Freedom, History, Human Rights, India, Japan, Junta, Liberty, Mahatma Gandhi, Media, Modern Asian History, Monks, Myanmar, News, Non-violence, Nordic, Politics, Religion, Reporters, South Asian Politics, Southeast Asia, Thoughts, UK, UN, USA

By: Min Khin Kyaw 

(The author is 88 Generation leader, poet and artist)  

I have been inspired by the international pressure on the junta so far. More recently, both England and France and the US keeps reminding the dialogue must go ahead and for that the pressure on the junta is not waning. Unfortunately, the junta is still refusing to negotiate with the United Nations – let alone with democratic movement as more arrests have been there. And sending troops to KNU and tensions with others insurgent groups also indicates the resurfacing disagreement of the junta over the political developments – is another rejection of the totalitarian rule.

We have seen in Singapore that, how the junta has tried to treat – Mr. Gambari like other special UN envoys to Burma. Unlike previous envoys, he seems to possess a special quality but he still has to outwit the junta even though the international pressures are supporting his mission.   We certainly have to see the dialogue between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and U Than Shwe. This is the tasks and main objective. However, he has no motive for dialogue and not even responding to let her see her team again. So it’s sure she will not be released – despite EU and ASEAN has asked in Singapore summit. It’s crystal clear that the junta will not give up its ground even an inch.    

Instead of worry, we only have one condition – to push ahead no matter what. I want to see people more united and trying to do just for that. As long as the general population of Burma can boycott the authorities in various ways or showing defiance, I hope the authorities themselves will become inspired and sometimes in the future they would side with the people. The monks must keep leading the way of defying.   

On the other hand, Mr. Gambari must not give up despite knowing how the scenario between him and the junta will develop. I think both NLD and the generals must give their roadmap plans to Mr. Gambari: what to discuss and how to discuss with a timeframe so he will be able to develop a workable structure; and also he can discuss the plan with the concern parties including ASEAN countries. Even if the junta wouldn’t give its plan to Mr. Gambari, as it’s about to push the seven step roadmap ahead as China seems to be happy with it, Mr. Gambari should get the plans of NLD and develop it into the framework for discussion.   It seems the neighbours of the junta are giving no real pressure, although they warmly welcomed Mr. Gambari. I think he has more works to do with them. If necessary, he should ask them to speak with the junta as far as the region concerns; if they don’t, then there is no real pressure – especially from China  

Apart from above, we need that the international community should ask junta to pardon all activists arrested recently.   

ASEAN with Burma Issue  

It is good that, ASEAN still thinks that there is a chance for good change. However, the idea of giving humanitarian aids to the junta, the Cambodian view as a member of ASEAN, is just another repetition. But the lesson of the past is forgotten, that, if a support is not for itself, the junta simply doesn’t accept?

I think, it appears as ASEAN is still hopeful that humanitarian effort of the good offices would be accepted. As ASEAN insists the junta needs support – then, ASEAN has to push the junta to accept such supports and if it ever happens, this effort of ASEAN will not be forgotten. It’s true the people of Burma need humanitarian aids: medical supply and education about various diseases, especially HIV; and the sooner this happens, the better. Therefore, both UN and ASEAN should insist the junta to do just for this.

However, the forced closure of a monastery that provided HIV patients is a contradiction to this idea unfortunately; and also the effort HIV doctor Ma Phyu Phyu Thin was disrupted and now she is detained despite the wishes of international community to keep restraints in further arrests. Yet, ASEAN can do the push and it will be a good task for ASEAN to seek this through firm realistic commitment. But what if the junta denies again? Before any attempt, ASEAN should have alternative ideas.  

If ASEAN is happy about this idea, it must develop the plan agreed by its members as soon as possible. It must include the consideration of refugees along the borders, Burmese workers in ASEAN countries and political developments with various insurgent groups who will have to give up fighting, when they get peace and security of their peoples.   

And ASEAN should consider how politics of all ethnic groups can be improved by humanitarian efforts; it’s true that the ethnics are desperate to get attention from regional countries. As soon as an agreement for peace between the junta and the ethnic groups, especially the Karens, as a fresh fighting between the two sides is looming, the dream of a democratic country of united ethnics of Burma will become closer to be true.   Politically, ASEAN has to be more careful than ever as the seven step roadmap effort of the junta is a serious issue. As the junta is denying to see and free political leaders to participate in the process of reconciliation and composing future constitution, there people cannot accept any development that made by the junta alone with its 54 misrepresentatives of the people. Hence, ASEAN must not show any gesture that can be interpreted as agreement or support to the foul effort of the junta.   Even though Democracy in Burma and peace in the region will certainly benefit every country that has relationship with Burma, as long as the ASEAN is more content with current situation than to be busy with an attempt for a better future, Burmese people will not have equal share of any good things in the region. 

Business with the Junta  

Once again, the debate of doing business with the ruling military junta has re-emerged that, it is ethical or not? And the case of TOTAL is always remain a good example! Recently the management of TOTAL has argued that, “We feel the country would have evolved much more if more responsible companies had remained… Development of human rights goes along with the development of the economy.”   Then how many people are currently employed by TOTAL and how much do they get paid has to be answered by TOTAL? It is also necessary to know that, how much junta receives every year from TOTAL and how much does the junta spends for the people from that income? In the areas where TOTAL operates, do all people get the similar benefits or how have they been affected because of TOTAL’s operations or are they affected to get worse? Now how can TOTAL calculate it gives better life for the people where it operates?  By the argument ‘Development of human rights goes along with the development of the economy’, TOTAL has to come up with a statement how it can improve the entire Burma with its operations with the junta that the junta will comply with the idea of development. And TOTAL has to provide evidences that the junta is doing just that.   And also, as TOTAL has argued for all business tied with the junta by its statement on economy provides human rights development, TOTAL has to prove that all other companies are doing the same to develop the local communities.

But how long will the people of Burma have to wait for the human right development made by this kind of business-bound efforts. Can TOTAL calculate year-by-year improvement that happened in past few years? How many years have passed and what have happened for the sake of the people and are they sufficient enough to be desirable?   And does TOTAL care about entire Burma or just a local where it operates? It’s clear that by its own words, TOTAL cares only about its operation but ignoring the entire Burma and the concern of wider community.  

We all know that many people were forced to move and lost their livelihoods as consequence of business projects. Now also, the dam projects in Burma will make everything bad luck to the local people. TOTAL cannot deny this. Even in China, dams are causing problems every year. There is no regulation in Burma that the project must conduct properly so it will be worse. As doing business in Burma, anything happening in Burma is directly related to TOTAL whilst the entire country is fighting against the junta which TOTAL is supporting. But not only TOTAL, all other businesses that link with the junta are a main concern of income for the junta. As TOTAL and all other companies in Burma cannot improve Burma in a few years, they must leave; the reason is once there is no income, the junta will fall in a year.   

If TOTAL (and any other companies) is really concerned about human rights, it must work with democratic side and oppose the junta. Unless TOTAL changes side, its argument is only a self-serving rhetoric. TOTAL, as a major gas company has to explain, why the junta imposed the price hikes on fossil fuels that caused the recent political movements?

(The End) 

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