Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Burma, A Week After

After the beatings and killings are over (that we know of and could see) in Burma, its streets are calm and back to what seems like normal. It's like nothing happened last week, the monks and civilians weren't protesting, the junta didn't attack the demonstrators, the monks weren't sealed in their temples, people weren't shot at or hacked at. None of that happened.

But of course, emotions still run high throughout the country. While the junta has a history of attacking its citizens, they never had the gall to attack the monks. That is where the Burmese's anger lies. The highly spiritual and Buddhist country, the monks, as I keep saying, are highly revered. Once the monks rejected the junta by refusing to accept their food dontations, the junta lost what little bit of good face they had in the country. Even by releasing 229 monks and nuns they detained, the junta will never have the same power over the country as it used to. They touched the untouchables and the Burmese won't forgive them for that.

By sending U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari, the U.N. and the world tried to send a message to the Myanmar junta: We think what you're doing is wrong and we are trying to do something about it. But messages aren't enough.

The U.N. Security Council's attempts to intervene somehow fell through thanks to China's block, so it was all on Gambari to save the UN's face. But did it work? Highly doubtful--if the junta didn't succomb to international pressure years before, what makes this time any different?

And again, the junta cut off the internet. Don't they understand it's too late? The world knows and sees what's going on. Even Slyvestor Stallone saw what was happening. The Democratic Voice of Burma and the Irrawady update constantly, along with bloggers and other news sources. The junta's reputation isn't on the line anymore. But goddamnit, why aren't we doing something about it?

China and the ASEAN need to stand up against Burma. The Indonesian Foreign Minister, Hassan Wirajuda, suggested a shared government, junta with civilian, in order to ease into a democracy smoothly. Wirajuda also insisted on China's involvement. Forget about the oil in Burma--there are lives at stake, isn't that more important? They need to tell the junta to back down. They need to force the junta to stop and actually talk to the leaders and fix the country. Give the people what they want and get rid of the military regime in whatever way possible and let Myanmar become Burma again.

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