Monday, May 5, 2008

Bashed and Battered in Burma

For the Burmese people, the bashing they received for last September's anti-government protests from Military forces is nothing compared to the battering they received from the forces of nature. This time, the ruling Military Junta is gentler to their plight and more supportive of their predicament. The change in orientation may be humanitarian as well as patriotic, since their own countrymen are suffering from the devastating cyclone that struck with uncharacteristic ferocity. However, suspicions of political expediency from the opposition casts aspersions on the Junta's intent, but regardless of all fears and years of anger, they need the government's help now.

The scale and magnitude of Saturday's cyclone has compelled the government to seek help from the international community. Burmese complain of inadequate support and insufficient visibility and assistance from the government. The death toll has risen to a little over 22,000 and hundreds of thousands are in dire need of water, shelter and food. Relief agencies have been allowed entry into affected areas, including airlifting of supplies. International aid agencies are expected to place pressure on the Junta to allow urgent supplies into the Karen and Arakan states in the South West. Areas closed to foreigners for years because of abject poverty and violent repression of ethnic minorities.

The Burmese government has been on the international radar for some time for the continued house arrest of opposition leader Aung San Su Kyi, and the crackdown on monks through violent dispersals and arrests. The Junta announced a new constitution scheduled for referendum on May 10, and the opposition wonders why no call has been made to postpone it. Fears that a postponement would drum up more support for a rejection have been raised by anti-government elements; but counter arguments for an early vote is also seen as unfavorable to the government because of the anger generated by their inept handling of the cyclone disaster.

In the midst of the already miserable conditions of their economy, topped by the powerful devastation of their meager dwellings and resources, and complete disintegration of their means for survival; the Burmese people are still being fed political refuse. Politicians are concerned with their need to survive politically, without much concern for the basic survival their countrymen need, whom they have declared to serve and protect. A Constitutional Referendum is farthest from the people's minds, and these politicians fail to realize or recognize the very reality of their present anguish and agony. For the long suffering Burmese people, it's apparent their bashing and battering will be bottomless.



The Immortal said...

This is a tragic day for the Burmese people being under the oppressive rule of the Maoist communists. At least China has had wider reaching reforms.

The politicians you refer to, do they include Su Kyi? Is she still alive?

Anonymous said...

Politicians are the same everywhere, blood suckers of the people!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Immortal,

It's been a long time!

It is a great tragedy for the Burmese people. Banged on the head by government, then banged on the edge of the precipice of life by nature's fury.

The politicians are those who are campaigning for the referendum, but Su Kyi is not part of this. Some are those who reside in Thailand who are wanted in Burma.

Now that you mentioned it, no word has been heard from Aung San Su Kyi nor if she was injured by the force of the cyclone. I don't have any clue if she is alive.

I hope she's safe. Otherwise, the Burmese people will have nothing to hang on to. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Anonymous,

There are a significant number who would fit that description. There are also those who do a lot of good, but do a little something on the side.

I think it is a function of power and how it's used. Some have this foolish thinking that they could always get away with it.

As one who believes in karma even if I am not a Buddhist, I always say, "I don't think so". :-) --Durano, done!

Layne | Reward Rebel said...

Do you think politicians start out ethical, and with a genuine desire to improve people's lives? What happens to them?

For the first time, recently, I didn't vote, because I could no longer tell one party from the other. Shades of Orwell's Animal Farm or what?

Questions, but no answers. Sorry. :-(

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Layne,

I believe a good number of idealistic young men start out this way, seeing the inequities in society and exposed to its harsh realities for the underprivileged.

In the process of working to achieve their objectives, the system forces them into constant compromise and negotiation that dilutes what they really want. The continuity of this process results in frustrations to the point where they cross the line - into getting something for something.

What they give out involves questionable deals to get what they intend for their own projects. The questionable deals add up, and they are given "extra benefits" for going along. Soon, this becomes the norm, and they have been tainted by the venom of the snake pit that is called political realities.

This is one way these things happen. There are other routes.

Yes, George Orwell's predictions came a little late but they're here. Big Brother has changed hands several times. Now it's a God called Google! :-) --Durano, done!

JD Cruz said...

"Before, soldiers came like ants to arrest people. Now, I dont see soldiers anymore"

That was taken from a villager interviewed. made me so sad.

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi JD,

Yes, during the demonstrations against the government, soldiers were everywhere. Now they have made themselves scarce.

And the images I saw on TV last night was disgusting. After 4 days of delay, the aid starts to trickle in, and the soldiers are deliberately using it for photo-ops!

These guys should be impaled on the tree branches! :-) --Durano, done!