Contact: Roland Watson, roland@dictatorwatch.org


April 6, 2006

Please forward.

Note: We have posted the article by Htun Aung Gyaw that was censored by the National Endowment for Democracy and the Mizzima website: The Breaking of the Dead End. We also have a photography exhibit of the humanitarian crisis now underway in Eastern Burma, provided by an anonymous source.

We have a comment about the crisis. The Free Burma Rangers now report that there are more than seven thousand new internally displaced persons in Eastern Burma (five thousand confirmed in Western and Northern Karen State and news of two thousand or more in Karenni State). Over one thousand new refugees have also entered Thailand, and hundreds more are being denied admission by the Thai authorities. This means that the number of villagers who have had to run for their lives from Burma Army attacks is approaching nine thousand.

Since the attacks are on-going, this number is certain to grow.

The current repression of the SPDC, while most extreme in Karen and Karenni States, is systematically being repeated in other areas of Eastern Burma, against the Shan and Mon, and in the West against the Arakan, Chin and Naga.

In the face of such repression, the long-standing strategy of the Burma democracy movement has been to document the situation, and accompany this with a call to the International Community for diplomatic assistance. In other words:

This is how bad it is here, please help us.”

In the view of Dictator Watch, the International Community has responded to this request, clearly and unequivocally, as follows:

We sympathize with your problems, but we will not help. Burma is not a priority. We have other issues with which we are preoccupied. Moreover, the general idea that we would act collectively, through such entities as the United Nations or Asean, to end the commission of atrocities by the worst regimes on the planet, is false. We will not. You are on your own.”

This state of affairs has a profound implication. No matter the risk, the people of Burma will have to rise up if they want to be free.

Also, it is conceivable that the above response from the International Community could be changed. Were the people of Burma to launch a new popular uprising, the IC might feel a greater compulsion to be involved.

Furthermore, to-date the democracy movement has asked for little – and received nothing. In other words, it has been timid. (Perhaps pro-democracy groups are afraid that if they ask for real help they will lose their NED — or OSI — funding!) Our view is: if the movement is not going to get anything, at least it should go on record and state what the country really needs.

Burma demands intervention. Diplomatic efforts should not be the primary focus. Diplomacy is the appropriate response to trade disputes and such things as border and maritime demarcation. We are dealing with Than Shwe. He is a beast. Diplomacy will never be effective with him.

At an absolute minimum, the U.N. should be pressed to organize a peace-keeping force, to end the crimes against humanity in the border areas of the country. This should be accompanied by real, hard diplomacy with Thailand, India and Bangladesh, to provide transit for troops and supplies. A full-scale sea-launched military intervention should also be planned.