Monday, 24 September 2007

It's all about the money..

Two articles that describe opposite intentions in the world have caught my attention, and my ire. In the International Herald Tribune “Monks joined by celebrities as protests grow in Myanmar” tells of the growing protest movements against the brutal military junta controlling Myanmar (Burma). Buddhist monks and nuns in the face of the violence that met the protest of 1988 where the government killed thousands of protesters lead the movement. The courage of these people is beyond my ken; my admiration for them is limitless. “The march, launched from the Shwedagon pagoda, the country's most sacred shrine, gathered participants as it winded its way through Yangon's streets. Some 20,000 monks took the lead, with onlookers joining in on what had been billed as a day of general protest. On Saturday, more than 500 monks and sympathizers were allowed past barricades to walk to the house where Suu Kyi is detained. The Nobel Peace laureate greeted them from her gate in her first public appearance in more than four years -- a meeting that symbolically linked the current protests to her struggle for democracy.” However during the second march the attempt to approach Kyi’s home was blocked by security forces.

"The protests will continue to grow as more people gain the courage to join, but they have not yet reached the point where I will allow my family to march," said a 50-year-old taxi driver who would not give his name. "There is still too much uncertainty to do that." That is a view that all of us with family can understand, but at some point that fear must be overcome in the name of a better life. In 1988 the military killed thousands of people who had joined in the protests.

Two points of interest here: the junta is presently being held in check by China, the queen of human right violations, in the name of economics. China supports and to a large extent controls the junta. The government does not want any violence to stain the upcoming Olympic events in China. As well the intention of China is to develop the recourses of Burma to their own advantage. "China is very eager to have a peaceful Burma in order to complete roads and railroads, to develop mines and finish assimilating the country under its economic control.” The other point of interest is the attitude of the West. This is the same group of governments who invaded Iraq in the name of democracy - "Hopefully the international community will not keep quiet, and they will do something before terrible things take place in our country," said Soe Aung. But it seems the policy is watch, not act. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the Bush administration was watching the situation "very carefully." I’m sure that’s a great comfort to the people of Burma.

However the U.S. seems very “involved” in seeing to Iran… In an article from 23 September 2007, “Secret US air force team to perfect plan for Iran strike”, Sarah Baxter describes the planning of the invasion of Iran that is taking place in the Pentagon. There was also an article in yesterday’s London Times addressing the same issue. Project Checkmate is the designated name for the U.S. Air Force group that is tasked with “fighting the next war”. “Detailed contingency planning for a possible attack on Iran has been carried out for more than two years by Centcom (US central command), according to defense sources.” Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is going to New York to speak to the United Nations and then students at Columbia University today. I’m sure he will do all in his power to add fuel to the rhetoric fire. I find no comfort in this statement: “The US president faces strong opposition to military action, however, within his own joint chiefs of staff. “None of them think it is a good idea, but they will do it if they are told to,” said a senior defense source.” Find the complete article here.

There lies the question, what constitutes a reason to intervene in another country’s affairs? If the Middle East erupts in flames more than it is even now, how long before that fire reaches our doorsteps?

14 comments:

Winchester whisperer said...

God bless the monks and Aung San Suu Kyi

Ian Lidster said...

I find the entire Iranian scenario disconcerting and frightening. But, I suppose the question remains, as you asked, when do other nations take action against a repellent and dangerous regime? We could have continued to ignore Hitler -- at least the US could have -- longer than they did, but blessedly they intervened, much to the relief of Europe.
As for Suu Kyi, do you think she will ever be liberated? I admire her hugely, but I am almost resigned to the fact that her profile is too large for the Burmese junta to take the risk. On the other hand, her high profile is what has kept her alive all these years. A grand and thoughtful post by you.

Ellee Seymour said...

Thank you for highlighting the bravery of these monks. I often think of Suu Kyi, how she manages to cope with this kind of incarceration.

jmb said...

Very good post Lady Mac. As you say, those really "in charge" of the junta are hardly reliable. Hopefully GW can be kept under control by wiser heads. He's done enough damage already.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

They are incredibly brave, those monks and nuns and I have always admired Suu Kyi. But I remember reading that she does not understand those who HAVE to be out there making a living and dare not take risks. I know this is why dictatorships flourish and I know you could say that there would be no freedom without those who take risks. But I think it is very difficult for someone with even a little inherited wealth to understand the plight of those who have none.

Eurodog said...

Thank you for this post which you wrote yesterday. I gather from listening to the radio this morning, that things are getting worse.
My thoughts and my support go to Aung San Suu Kyi whom I admire for her courage.
I have a picture of her on my blog so that I can send her positive vibes every day.
Bonne journée.
Eurodog

lady macleod said...

winchester whisperer

Indeed!

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

ian

A good point about the scenerio of WWII, but he was invading his neighbors and moving toward Britain...

I don't know about Suu Kyi, I fear you are right.

thank you for the nice words,
and thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

ellee

It is an issue we must keep bringing attention to I think

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

jmb

we'll see eh?

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

welshcakes

I agree with your point. That's why I put the quote from the father in the piece. I have often thought what would I do? I know my answer to that question changed after having a child.. It is never an easy answer is it?

thank you for coming by.

lady macleod said...

eurodog

The value of those "positive vibes" cannot be overemphasized. Well done. We who are so fortunate need to remind each other of those who are not.

thank you for coming by.

@themill said...

Meanwhile everyone sits idly by and does nothing about Zimbabwe.

lady macleod said...

@themill

I fear there is a lot of that..

thank you for coming by.