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Prayer For Burma

Kanbawza Win

An old saying goes "It is far better to attempt and fail than not to attempt at all," and this is exactly what the democratic countries of the world are doing of putting up Burma 's case in the UN Security Council. Those, countries that doesn't believe in democracy, or just paying lip service are indirectly encouraging dictators so that authoritarian, and totalitarian will triumph. They usually did this by giving lame excuses. For the moment we can do nothing but let us pray for it to our various religion what ever we profess.

U.S. Ambassador John Bolton has submitted a formal request to the Greek ambassador Adamantios Vassislakis of the Security Council, to place Burma on its permanent agenda as a threat to international peace and security. Twice before in the past year, Bolton has brought the Council's attention to Burma 's human rights violation and internal repression. But each time, have been rebuffed by opposition from Russia , China , and Japan .

This time, the peace loving democratic peoples of the world has attempted again thinking that it will have sufficient support to force a formal vote on the matter. But it is still possible that they could lose. Looking at the Burmese government's involvement in international drug trafficking, the refugee flows out of Burma and in the region that it's activities have caused, it's violations of human rights, and the consequences that have had international implications, and a range of other activities because of its military policies, it is high time to put it on the agenda.

President Bush last month signed a law renewing economic sanctions against the Burmese government for three more years. Washington halted investments to Burma in 1997, and banned financial transactions and imports in 2003. International human rights groups have repeatedly called on the Security Council to act in response to Burma 's deteriorating rights conditions. The United Nations operates a resettlement program for thousands of ethnic Karen in eastern Burma who have fled the country's military dictatorship.

We are praying that we will have the necessary nine votes, among the 15 council members, to add Burma to the agenda. China in particular has opposed the move -- and could veto any potential resolution -- but U.S. diplomats, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, have worked relentlessly in recent months to line up the votes. Opponents of Security Council action have argued that the venue is appropriate only for threats to international peace and security and not human rights violations.

After the Burmese Junta extended Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's detention for another year, NLD Chairman U Aung Shwe and Secretary U Lwin wrote U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan a letter dated 1st June saying "we believe that there is no alternative except some actions of the Security Council." Spreading of AIDS epidemic and severe repression of ethnic groups who spill over into neighboring countries have threatened the stability of the region.

Many of Burma 's neighbors -- which in the past have strongly opposed adding a Southeast Asian nation to the Security Council docket -- have increasingly soured on the Junta. Indonesia Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda said last week that the other nine members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have made it known that they will no longer defend Burma if brought before the Security Council. The much trumpeted ``Constructive Engagement Policy`` of the ASEAN countries has been buried long ago.

Our gracious thanks goes to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the South African Nobel Peace laureate, who met with Secretary Rice in May to press for a binding U.N. Security Council resolution calling on the Burmese military Junta to release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners and halt a counterinsurgency campaign that is targeting civilians. Tutu has campaigned around the world for Security Council action, likening the struggle in Burma to the fight against apartheid.

Fiery Dragon

Let us examine the Paukphaw (brothers from the same mother) relations of Burma with China . Will China used the veto power in the case of Burma? Once there was a chorus of disapproval by the international community, the people on the dragon throne are wise enough to go along with the civilized community e.g. when North Korea tested the ballistic missiles against the wishes of the international community, the veto powers of China including Russia goes along with the Security Council Resolutions, last July. Yet North Korea is much more closer to China and Russia if compared to Burma as both of them have helped North Korea during the Korean War? How much Burma has clout over China when her narco products are finding their way to China resulting over one million addicts in that country alone. The Chinese leaders knew it very well that narco epidemics must be stop at its sources and to prevent the Burmese ethnic tribe (Wa) from growing opium, is by persuasion, winning the hearts and this can be done only through a representative government and not by dictatorial degree alone.

It was also the Burmese Army that initiated the anti Chinese riots in the 60s when thousands of Burmese of the Chinese decent lose their life and limb, if they don't manage to escape. A brief border skirmishes follow and China openly help the Burma Communist Party. Since then the party to party between the Burmese and Chinese are on ice. Of late the Chinese had made overtures to the pro democracy activists in the peripherals of Burma and more than a dozen secret trips, has been made by the latter. In short China will decide if it suits its gains and will not defend the pariah regime all the time no matter what the geopolitics may be.

Evil Empire

The legacy of the Cold War may be over but Valdimor Putin has rolled back the democratic reforms, centralized authority, muzzled independent media and stifled dissent. Just like the Burmese regime with a faltering economy, scaring the neighbors and accusing espionage to the NGOs trying to build a democratic society is bent to reconstruct the evil empire. But this new Tzars that inherit Josef Stalin's mentality also knew how to handle the pariah case at the UN Security Council, even though it had help the Junta with a 10 megawatt Nuclear reactor and trained thousands of Burmese soldiers, it is pragmatic as seen in the case of Iran, when both Russia and China agreed to the action of the Security Council to handle this latest nuclear threat. If both these dictatorial regimes have abandoned their long time friend or if not their protg will they defend the pungent Burmese Junta at the UN?

Indeed Russia still maintain its Asian Intelligence Headquarters on Prome Road, at Rangoon dropping eves on the Israeli Embassy opposite the road and often open vodka bottle with the Burmese Generals weary that Burma is still in the obit of China.

Sons of the Sun

No Burmese soldier will deny that the Burmese army was born under the shadow of the Japanese Sun when the thirty comrades were trained by the Imperial Japanese army in the second World War. The Shogun and the Bushido spirit are still imbued in the Japanese people and obviously, these sons of the sun did not want to witness the demise of their offspring, knowing full well that once it is in the agenda of the Security Council, the Junta is finished. Hence they give a lame excuse that the Burmese problem does not tantamount to be put in the Council. 

Will the veto powers join hands and opposed the Western initiative and left the fifty two million plus Burmese people continues their suffering or not, will soon be known. In the meantime, we would request to all the democracy loving people of the world to pray, for prayer is the greatest weapon and the Omnipotent is the Lord of History and the Lord of Science.

Tampa Florida

(The views expressed here are solely the opinion of the author. Kao-Wao Editor)


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