This year, Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Chief-of-Staff Hermogenes Esperon retired from army service but he wasn’t giving up on his government pension, he was ready for another post in the government and was very much ready to fill any job as a ‘civilian public servant.’ While it was expected that most of the retired AFP chief end up in another government post, the Philippine Daily Inquirer editorial team summed up the fishy motive behind the latest move. It was also here that the editorial team suggested that there is more to the quick punishment and reward of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV‘s former colleagues, who were sentenced and in record time were ordered released based on the President’s pardon.
A few months back, one story on Bangkok Post caught my eye. As one wire agency reporter described it, the plot was just like a classic spy novel. The plot costs around US$28million and though it will be led by a leading Hmong activist in the US, it will mainly be supported by ex-CIA agents, which number barely about a size of a platoon. The US took the plan seriously (well, it was serious that money and other logistics were allegedly ready) and charged those behind the possibly deadly revolutionary plan.
This case shows that the US is full of irony. Here’s a noble plan, albeit deadly, to overthrow a tyrant government and yet they threw the books at the plotters. When they planned to attack Afghanistan and Iraq they were relying on their belief that it was their moral authority to lead the war on terror regardless whether it will be sanctioned by the United Nations or not (remember the lines of Judge Dredd, I AM the LAW!!!).
Now, Burma (Myanmar) is making some noise for change. More than a decade ago, Myanmar also faced the same turmoil, wherein people trooped to the street to demand change but they the government responded with a hail of bullet. However, the best help that Myanmar got were a series of economic sanctions from various countries, which didn’t work. Every country just stood to see the people of Myanmar suffer.
Today, it seems that it will be the same old story and it might probably be that the Myanmar Military Junta might go down to the books as the longest serving military dictators of all time (counting to around 40 years now).
My friend from Myanmar was able to return to Perth but he wasn’t able to join any of the protest action (just send me a personal message if you want to know why). However, I noticed that he is a changed man. He is a man burning with passion and anger against the government. He confirmed that there is possibly more than 200 that were killed in the military dispersal of the Buddhist monk-led protest rally in Yangon.
“I am very angry with my government,” he told me. “They killed the monks right at the most sacred place of our religion, Shwedagon Pagoda,” he explained. He said that hundreds are missing without a trace after the government crackdown. Everybody’s being arrested, according to him, whether they participated or not. It was worse for those living in proximity to the temple. Some of them were arrested even if they haven’t participated in any protest action. He also said that the jails in Yangon are filled to the brim.
The US Ambassador Shari Villarosa recently held a high level meeting with the government. My friend told me that she was allegedly shown the monks that were arrested and Villarosa was made to believe that the monks were treated fairly. However, my friend believes otherwise. “They are killing everybody,” he said. Allegedly, all the monks that were arrested were marked for “substitution.” “The monks were killed as they were replaced by soldiers posing as monks. They shaved their heads to make her (Villarosa) believe that they are still alive. How could she possibly know that they are legitimately the monks when she can’t speak or can’t understand Burmese language,” he explained.
As of this writing, all the hyped talks at the international (UN) and regional level (ASEAN) are on going however, all are just talks and no definitive action (except for further economic sanctions) are being planned. As always, it’s all just talk despite the large number of people killed.
So what’s with Myanmar, Rwanda, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Colombia among others that each are treated in a different way by the international community especially the all powerful US??? You make your guess, I rest my fingers for now…
I have yet to hear from my friend from Myanmar. He was supposed to return last night. I saw a video clip of what happened in Yangon over Mizzima News. When I saw it, it reminded me of Mendiola Massacre–I just couldn’t take the brutality of the situation.
A friend of mine was in the front line of the protesting peasant farmers. Her colleague was hit by a bullet in the face. She survived and so did her colleague. I saw the event on TV and it became one of historical events on TV that I’ll never forget aside from the assassination of Ninoy.
It was reported that the Military Junta had cut off the internet connection in the country to avoid any leakage of any documentation of the military action against the protesters and hold a clip on the nation’s blogger informants. The military had previously cracked down on protesters in 1988 when thousands were killed. They are still defiant again despite increasing international pressure including from its strongest ally, China. If they continue their defiance at this stage, will they have the guts to annihilate more than 10,000 people at one go? Will the international community, again, just watch and contribute to the rhetoric of diplomatic scolding and spanking (economic sanction) of this country? It’s everybody’s guess and I hope that the video clip at Missima News will be the last image of that kind that I will see from Yangon.
As I’m writing this, a colleague of mine is still in Yangon (Rangoon). He called yesterday to assure us that he’s fine. Well, we all know of the news about this poor country. What followed was unprecedented. To think that all the monks wanted was just an apology. Things got worse today.
My colleague is having second thoughts of leaving Yangon. He has an obligation to finish his study here in Perth but he would be leaving his family behind with his country deteriorating day after day. He’s arriving tomorrow… maybe.
To find out more about the Burma crisis click here.