28 September 2007

Code Red

Wednesday September 27 was a sad day for the Burmese people. Burmese troops in Rangoon opened fire on monks and their supporters, killing at least three people. As night fell, police raided Buddhist temples, arresting at least 200 monks.

For Russia and China, September 27 should be a day of shame. According to the Guardian, the two countries blocked any suggestion of global sanctions against the Burmese regime at the UN Security Council emergency session.

Actually, the two countries even tried to halt the very meeting itself. The best the Security Council could manage was a statement of concern about the violent response to demonstrations in Rangoon.

According to the Democratic Voice of Burma, the statement read “Members of the council have expressed their concern vis-à-vis the situation, and have urged restraint, especially from the government of Myanmar.”

But South Africa is none the better! In January South Africa made a decision to join China and Russia in voting against a United Nations Security Council resolution -- calling on the military junta in Burma to stop human rights abuses, including ethnic killings, rapes and forced labour. In an e-mail to the Associated Press, Archbishop Desmond Tutu called the vote on January 12th a betrayal of South Africa's "noble past." He told Business Day that the history of the struggle meant South Africa should side with people "who are victims of one of the most repressive regimes".

Yesterday, however, even China felt they had to do something in order to avoid being associated to closely with the bloodshed in Burma. According to the

Guardian, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a press conference that “China hopes all parties can exercise restraint and properly handle the situation.”

Show your support

While the Chinese statement falls short of actually telling the Burmese government that there will be consequences if they resort to violence, it is a warning to the generals that the eyes of the world are upon them now.

Ordinary people all over the world are also showing their support for the monks, nuns, students and other brave people in Burma. Friday September 28, people in many countries are wearing read shirts in support of the Burmese people.

Red is the colour of the robes of the monks protesting in Burma. It is also the colour of blood. Wear red today. If it's too late, then when you get a chance, change to something red and hope and pray that there will not be too much blood shed in Burma!


Anonymous said...

free burma!

Goolam_D said...

Why must every non-western minority be subject to independence debates? The matter of a stable international law is not a hypocritical side to take. The South African governments only intention is to add some stability to the framework so that debate on human rights can take place meaningfully. It appeases the west to turn every minority in every country into a separate nation.

Yes the situation in myanmar is difficult. But why is it always a destructive secessionist debate that gets the most sympathy when its the constructive dialogue that will save many more lives?

Incidentally ... when one hundred thousand people take to the streets in "silent" protest and 3 people are killed, its a matter of perspective which parties instigated the violence because noone takes responsibility for the actions of a mob.

PS I heard of group you're running that involves Muslim financial professionals. I'm not professional but I am the other two.

Bilal said...

Yup, but its going to take a bit more than that to do it:)

if one hundred thousand people want to say something, perhaps their goverment (or in this case military rulers) should listen...

And from my understanding South Africa voted against a resolution calling on the military junta in Burma to stop human rights abuses, including ethnic killings, rapes and forced labour- if the South African goverment wants to add some stability to the framework, voting against this is not the best way of doing so...

p.s The group is actually for anyone involved in and for discussions around the current and future state of islamic finance and economics, and meets once a month.

[send me an email bilal dot randeree at gmail dot com]

Goolam_D said...

The South African government played the only diplomatic card they could. They voted against Americas IraqWar distraction technique America supplied the Myanmar Junta with weapons early during 2000 and are obviously stirring this nonsense up as the Israelis plan on further incursion in Palestine and more crackdowns happen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Apparently if the security council passes a resolution, then the human rights watch arms of the UN are obliged to leave. Where does this leave anyone? The people of Burma are held to their yoke because India and China supports the regime that feeds them resources. No amount of security council votes changes this.

Its not the nice vote, but in the absence of a functioning democratic body and an international court, there can be no other way but to play the cards that are dealt.