I was blessed with a job where I had the opportunity to travel internationally even if it is just around Southeast Asia. However, while I am a jetsetter by the standard of some of my friends, I have yet to see the places that I’ve been.
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…