Saturday, September 29, 2007

Truth about Burma hard to come by.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to find out what exactly is happening in Myanmar, or Burma as it was known before it was taken over, where the authoritarian military dictatorship has faced mounting protests led by Buddhist monks.

Certainly there has been a heavy military crackdown and soldiers have been sent to beat and kill the monks and other protesters. The regime has cut telephone lines ending internet connection, one of the means by which news was reaching the free world.

But the reports that are trickling out, while horrific, are encouraging. There are numerous stories of soldiers refusing to comply with orders. And there are reports of troops defending, not attacking, the protests, contrary to orders. There have even been rumors that a coup within the military has taken place and that coup leaders are seeking to end the dictatorship. One can only pray this so.

Allegedly General Maung Aye, second in command, has overthrown Than Shwe. He has supposedly sent troops to protect the home of dissident San Suu Kyi and has set up meetings with her.

There is nothing so honorable as a man who refuses to obey a government that is doing evil.

It has been reported that when soldiers have attempted to attack monestaries that residents living in the surrounding area would start banging pots and pans as a warning. Reports say that the Buddhist monks are being protected by Muslims and Christians as well. In other areas the unarmed residents, using slingshots and sticks, stood up to soldiers and forced them to retreat. Ah, the virtue of gun control have certain made sure the Burmese people are unarmed and guess who benefits from that!

If outside forces want to help the people of Burma free themselves from this repressive regime the best they could do is smuggle arms to the people. A disarmed populace is at a clear disadvantage when facing armed dictators. It certainly is possible that the people can still win, we’ve see that before. But the tipping point will be if more and soldier defect to the cause of the people and bring their arms with them.

I would also think it appropriate for nations of the world to announce that they are issuing arrest warrants for the leaders of the regime for crimes against humanity. The announcments should make it clear that the individuals named in these indictments will be arrested if they set foot in any of the countries that issue the warrants or which announce they will honor them. It is one thing to use the polite language of diplomacy and call the situation “grave” and “troubling”. It is entirely a different matter to declare the Burmese leaders to be criminals and issue warrants for their arrest.

And those nations that don’t issue the warrants will find pressure mounting to do so. Eventually even China will capitulate.

Meanwhile we wait and hope for the best for the Burmese people.

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