Contact: Roland Watson, roland@dictatorwatch.org


October 5, 2007

Please forward.

Note: We have posted new compilations of photography from the Free Burma Rangers, taken since the end of last year. This should remind everyone that the crimes of the SPDC extend well beyond the crackdown on the pro-democracy movement. For so many reasons, but foremost to end the scorched earth campaign against Burma’s ethnic nationalities, Than Shwe and his fellow generals must go.

A struggle for freedom is underway in Burma. Fifty million people are attempting to break a yoke of oppression that has been in place for forty-five years. They are being led by:

- Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who was unable to see her husband before he died; who has been separated from her children for years; and who has been under house arrest for well over a decade.

- Former student leaders, such as Min Ko Naing and Ko Ko Gyi, who have already endured imprisonment for ten or fifteen years or more, and who are in prison once again, suffering medieval nightmares.

- Ethnic leaders, who have seen their people driven from their homes, and raped and murdered.

- And monks, Buddhist monks, who retired from the everyday world to seek spiritual truth and enlightenment, but who have been yanked back because their society is so depraved that they have had no choice but to try to help, and who have suffered beatings, murder and imprisonment as a result.

Faced off against the people and their leaders is a tyrant, Than Shwe, so savage that only the worst names in all of human history compare. Yet because he controls one thing and one thing only – money – the natural wealth of the country, he receives virtually universal support from the rest of the nations of the world.

While a few, a very few, of its members stand against the junta, the United Nations as a whole, the institution that many people would like to see be the most powerful on earth, fully backs the SPDC. By allowing China and Russia to block action in the Security Council, and through the inaction of the Secretariat itself, the U.N. is the enemy of freedom for Burma. It also inhibits assistance from any and all specific nations, by enabling the argument: “If the U.N. can’t or won’t do anything to help, how can we?”

This is an epic struggle of right against wrong: of good against evil. Moreover, it is about much more than Burma. It is about the course the world is taking, and the purpose of society. Is it to protect human rights, and nature, or to make money? We, the people, want the former. But the nations of the world, meaning political leaders and the corporate interests that they serve, want the latter.

How this struggle will turn out is difficult to predict. One possibility is a world of rampant and uniform repression, and a devastated ecology. The other is a world at peace, and among all species. Burma is not only a symbol of this larger and deeper contest; it could be the key.