Thursday, November 20, 2008

Burma continues crackdown while the world looks the other way

Hi friends,

Burma’s military dictatorship has finally shown its hand.

After cracking down and arresting thousands of protestors involved in the 2007 “Saffron revolution”, it is now locking them up – some of them for as long as 65 years .

The junta knows that the West, who is its worst critic, is now focused on its own problems brought on by the Financial tsunami and does not have Burma on its radar screen now.

Most of the East – especially India and China, are their partners as the latter two covets its oil and gas.

Asia ex-China & India such as ASEAN are toothless or are actually complicit with these junta leaders and are guilty of looking the other way.

Singaporeans on the whole, including bloggers like me, are not innocent either.

The news of yet another arrest or a jail term does not even elicit a raised eye brow from us.

Perhaps we are numb and just cannot believe how any government can be so cruel to its own people.

We fail to realise that this is self-preservation at its worst!

The junta knows that if the truth ever came out and the rightful rulers took its place, they will be put behind bars or even be at the end of very short ropes.

Singapore, even as we continue with our own little struggle, let us not forget our ASEAN brethren fighting a life and death struggle a very short flight away.


Dr.Huang Shoou Chyuan

Myanmar activist follows dad, grandfather to jail

AP - Thursday, November 20

YANGON, Myanmar - A court in military-ruled Myanmar sentenced a student activist to 6 1/2 years in jail on Wednesday, a week after his father received a 65-year prison term for his own political activities and a decade after his grandfather died in custody.

Colleagues said Di Nyein Lin was one of three student activists sentenced by a court in a suburb of Yangon for various offenses, including causing public alarm and insulting religion. They spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.

In an intensive crackdown on the country's pro-democracy movement, at least 70 activists have received prison sentences in the past two weeks, many after being held for more than a year before being tried.

The courts' actions _ which would keep many of the activists in jail long past a general election set by the ruling junta for 2010 _ have received worldwide condemnation.

Di Nyein Lin's father, Zaw Zaw Min, was one of 23 members of the 88 Generation Students group who were each given 65-year sentences last week. Many members of the group were at the forefront of a 1988 pro-democracy uprising that was smashed by the military.

Di Nyein Lin's grandfather, Saw Win, was a member of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party, and died in prison about 10 years ago.

Di Nyein Lin is a leader of the outlawed All Burma Federation of Students Union, to which several of the 88 Generation Students' members belonged in 1988.

Most of the 88 Generation members were arrested on Aug. 21, 2007, for protesting a fuel-price hike. Others were arrested after the government violently suppressed rallies in September of that year that followed the fuel protests and were led by Buddhist monks.

They were sentenced under various charges, including a law calling for a prison term of up to 20 years for anyone who demonstrates, makes speeches or writes statements undermining government stability, and for having links to illegal groups and violating restrictions on foreign currency, video and electronic communications.

The other student activists sentenced Wednesday were Kyaw Swa Htay, who received a five-year sentence, and Kyaw Hsan, sentenced to four years in jail.

Amnesty International and other human rights groups say the junta holds more than 2,100 political prisoners, up sharply from nearly 1,200 in June 2007 _ before last year's pro-democracy demonstrations.

The prisoners include Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest, as she has been on and off since 1989.


tony said...

Aung San Suu Kyi is now 63 years old and has spent the last 18 of those under “house arrest”, whatever that means. But, as you say, who cares?

The hypocritical West is no better than the spineless East when it comes to human rights, especially if it concerns the poor with brown or black skins. Just look at the madness in Darfur, Zimbabwe and the DR Congo, and not forgetting the tragic Gaza. Where is Bono? Where is Geldorf? These so-called crusaders who are feted in the White House and at Downing Street, where are they when it really matters?

Why don’t they come out and say what no one is saying, that the people of the Congo are being killed because they have the misfortune to be living in a country loaded with minerals and precious stones that the richer nations need? That when we use our cell-phones or laptops, the coltan that has gone into these gadgets was mined by a child-slave whose mother was probably raped and killed?

Burma? Who gives a shit about Burma? And don’t even bother to mention that it’s called Myanmar now…

Anonymous said...

what can we say and what can we do?

Does anyone ruling in Myanmar give a hoot what anyone thinks?

Cyclone Nargis only hit the ordinary ppl.

The perpetrators of social injustice got away scot free.

Only Heaven can sort these leaders out and deal with them appropriately.