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?