Monday, August 04, 2008

Forgotten Or Inconvenient Truths

Not that long ago, the news was focused on tragedy in Burma, where Cyclone Nargis had inundated much of the lush lowlying areas and people were starving, while the generals refused to allow aid in from western nations making the offer of help. American ships stood by for weeks, with supplies, and finally left. Few supplies appear actually to have reached the distressed farming communities that had been devastated.

Soon the 20th anniversary of the uprising of 1988 will be celebrated there, not of course by the junta, but by the remaining dissidents. At least 2050 of them are in prison, and about 900 more have been added to their number recently.

When the cretin in chief visits, will he repeat his performance in China now, where he ignores the denial of human rights and recent public executions of suspected disrupters of the Olympics? Like China, Burma is quietly clamping down on those anticipated to be trouble if they are not suppressed.

Burma's military rulers have detained at least 900 activists and dissidents in the past 10 months, in addition to the over 1,000 prisoners of conscience that it arrested since it brutally cracked down on a popular uprising in August 8, 1988, Amnesty International said.

The AI, in a press release on Sunday, said, "Around 900 people have been imprisoned in the past 10 months."

The AI said Burma's military rulers after violently suppressing a nation-wide protest led by students in August 8, 1988, has continuously arrested and detained dissidents but it has accelerated its rampant arrest since September 2007 protests, adding to the list of some 2,050 political prisoners currently languishing in prisons across Burma.

The Burmese military junta, despite being engaged by the United Nations, through the General Assembly and Human Rights Council resolutions and by sending some 35 official missions by the Special Advisor, Special Rapporteur and their predecessors, continues to arrest dissidents who seemingly threaten their rule, the AI said.

Benjamin Zawacki, AI's Myanmar Researcher said, the number of political prisoners in Burma has significantly increased following the September protests last year, the ruling junta's May 2008 referendum and the fall out of Cyclone Nargis on Burma's coastal divisions in May.

"Nothing speaks louder of the government's poor faith than the fact that there are more long-standing political prisoners in Myanmar [Burma] now than at any other time since those protests," Zawacki said in the statement.

The AI, in its statement, urged the United Nations to create pressure for the release of 20 prominent political prisoners including veteran journalist U Win Tin, student leader Min Ko Naing and the highly revered Rev. U Gambira, who led the monks on the streets in September 2007.

The United Nations, meanwhile, is set to send two of its envoys – Undersecretary General for political affairs, and Human Rights Special Rapporteur - in August.

The AI said the UN should take stronger measures to obtain the release of prisoners of conscience including Win Tin, who were detained since the military's brutal crackdown on the August 8, 1988 protests.

The House last week passed a measure calling on China to withdraw support from the government of Burma, and meetings are scheduled Tuesday for the U.S. representatives to meet with Burmese dissidents in Thailand. This time, it is unlikely that Laura Bush will be the acting head of state, though she will visit a refugee camp on the border with Thailand.

The photo-ops favored by this occupied White House avoid the ugliness they let go on, and that they bring on. The atrocities are going to continue until the U.N. acts in accord with the civilized countries. It is past time for those civilized countries to include a revitalized U.S.

Decency requires a response to barbarism.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home