Burma: A plight we can ignore no longer

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by SILVER_FOX, Jul 26, 2007.

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  1. The people of Burma endure human rights abuses on an unimaginable scale. Rape, torture and forced labour are facts of their lives. So why does the world refuse to act? A cross-party group of MPs has returned shocked by what they discovered there

    Interesting article and I agree that Burma has largely been forgotten or worse ignored by the West for too long. We don't seem to be too shy about shouting out and doing something about lesser problems in other countries which are of more "interest" to us.

    Is it time now that we look at Burma's situation or continue to ignore it. After all - we can't save everyone, can we?

    Separately - very interesting to see that it needed no less that 12 MPs plus, I'm assuming, a whole plane load of assistants and bag carriers to go there and reach a conclusion that could just as easily have been reached with two, or by surfing the net.

    MPs and their expenses!! Must be a case of use them or lose them.


  2. Burma is a sad case that has largely slipped out of the international eye.

    I have a relative who worked there for a couple of years in the finance section of a multi-national company. The 'consultancy fees' paid by foreign companies to various officials, while an unfortunate fact of life when doing business in Asia, are in Burma (Myanmar as the locals now call it) totally out of hand.

    He mentioned this within his company on several occasions, but after he also mentioned it to some Burmese officials he was called in by his boss who said that he had been advised that it would be wise to reassign him somewhere else. Rather than risk ending up face down in a ditch one night he readily agreed and returned to Australia.

    Who says being an accountant is a dull job!
  3. Simple answer to why not which can be summed up in two words -

    "NO OIL"
  4. But they do have Natural Gas, they have about 3 production platforms up and running.
    Incidently, to get a mobile phone you need to pay $4000 for the line and about $1000 for the phone. Step-thru mopeds are practically banned, taking away the basic tennets for revolution-- comms and transport for the masses.
    I did also notice a couple of SU-33 Fighters at the airport the last time I was there, not sure if they were Burmese or Chinese.
  5. There are both gas and oil fields in Burma [​IMG]
    and there is a campaign against Total Oil to stop exploration and production as it is aiding the Dictatorship. Perhaps its potential isn't significant enough to interest Uncle Sam. The other point about Burma is that it is not the cradle of orthodox religions. Had the late J H C been born or crucified there, things could well be different. Ditto yer man Mohamed or Abraham.

    It's most odd that some Countries can have the foulest and most oppressive regimes but nobody takes notice. How much fuss was there about China's annexation and subjugation of Tibet? Well, I suppose people do take notice of Burma but very quietly;
    http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/pm/weblog.php?id=P249 . As regards Burma, are we afraid of upsetting the Indians and frightening the Chinese?
  6. No the reason why we do not intervene is that they are not threathening their neighbours. If they were, I suspect we would. Pol pot was allowed to do it to his own people for years, it was only when he foolishly turned his attentions to Vietnam that he got a kicking.

    How would you propose we intervene, targetted sanctions such as Zimbabwe are experiencing seems to affect the poorest most, military intervention? There are enough on here that think we should not have intervene in Iraq and Afghanistan because of the resultant body bags.

    No leave em kill each other and hope that popular uprising will sort it. I also support immigration from these countries as if all the powerless left these dictatorships, the dictators would soon run out of people to abuse and would get toppled by their croney oppos.
  7. So Phil,

    it was only when he foolishly turned his attentions to Vietnam that he got a kicking.

    Exactly who got a kicking?
  8. Do they actually want "saving" by the western world, do they want foreigners (western foreigners at that) to "intervene"? Of course they fcuking don't.
  9. I advocate we only use diplomacy and if that doesn't work (which it won't) we keep our noses out. Lets face it we are deep enough in the sh!t for our methods of tackling a similar situation in Iraq and elsewhere.
  10. The opposition leader has asked for support from time to time, not the military kind mind you. I think the basic problem has been that after independance the told the Commonwealth to FO, and for many years they really dropped off any ones radar. By the time they appeared back on the radar this very nasty military regime was in power and uses just enough brutality to stay their.
  11. In November 1978, Vietnam invaded Cambodia to stop Khmer Rouge incursions across the border and the genocide of Vietnamese in Cambodia. Pol Pot was deposed in 1979. Violent occupation and warfare between the Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge holdouts continued throughout the 1980s.
  12. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    1. The Burmese wanted us out and during the Second World War numerous British Empire troops were betrayed to the Japs by Burmans. The current leader of what little opposition to the present regime currently exists is the daughter of a leader who backed the Japanese 100%. So we do not owe the generality of the Burmese people anything. The laws of the copybook headings have caught up with them and hard luck.

    2. We only got into Burma (in the 1880s) because the way its King ran the place was an outrage. But it turns out that is their culture.

    3. On the other hand we do have a debt to Karens and others whose forebears took enormous risks to help us against the Japs. Also we have a legitimate interest in crushing drug production in Burma (and anywhere else it goes on like Afghanistan). However the parameters of any intervention are nowadays militarily beyond us.

    Major General Julian Thompson's 'Imperial War Museum Book of the War in Burma' is useful background reading.
  13. dunkers, your question "do they actually want "saving" by the western world, do they want foreigners (western foreigners at that) to "intervene"? is an interesting one.

    For years the West has obviously determined it has the responsibility, and therefore the right, to interfere in other nations matters of state on the basis of what it deems right and wrong. Decades back the interference would have been primarily military style action but in recent years it has largely been based on economic sanctions which are having less and less effect on the so called offenders.

    When we rushed into Afghanistan and then Iraq we had a degree of support, both within the UK and the rest of the world, initially but this dwindles further by the day. So what is the solution? Leave them to sort it out themselves? Perhaps, but if we do then surely we could expect the same in return should we ever need the support of others (assuming that anyone would ever come to our aid in the first place).

  14. So who has ever come to the aid of the UK
    In the second world war we Australians, Canadians, South Africans and Rhodesians none of whom were directly affected but who saw the UK as their Mother land. The Americans didn't get involved until extremely late in the conflict, though they supplied us with ships and aircraft, which we eventually finished paying them for in the late 20th century. Well South Africa and Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) would no longer come to our aid So our real allies are dwindling at a rate of knots.
    The question is:
    "Are we the world power that we were in the 1940s"
    I think that the answer is obvious, we cannot afford as a nation to interfer with the way other nations are run. Let us do what we can to assist the oppressed but from within our own boundaries.
  15. Quite so Silver Fox.

    Personally I think many Iraqis, for instance, would rather live under the regime that they did (at least it was an Iraqi regime) than live under the rule of foreign invaders. Life under Saddam was by no means pleasant but it was orderly.

    It has been said that the Iraq created after WW1 was problematic because of the mixture of religious sects. It required a strong ruler to keep the nation together (as has been proved) and this is why the elder George Bush, in 1991, did not pursue the Iraqi army back to Baghdad: he realised the importance of keeping the state of Iraq stable, lest religious tensions wreak havoc after an American conquering. Sound familiar?

    Sadly I have serious doubts that the current US president has the intelligence to understand why the invasion of Iraq was going to turn into the can of worms it is now.

    Edited to add: slim, you may be interested to know that Britain only finished paying off the repayments to the USA for wartime equipment last December.
    "Let us do what we can to assist the oppressed but from within our own boundaries." - totally agree.
  16. Hold it people - charity begins at home! sort our own county out before we start telling others how to run theirs! Bit late I know but we got to start somewhere -here and now seems as good a place as any!

  17. Yep… same as Zimbabwe
  18. Thanks for that info Dunkers. I knew that it took us a long time but didn't think it was over 60 years.
  19. I remember seeing something about that too and was completely gob-smacked. So much for being allies. Obviously didn't run to free kit! It would be interesting to know how much it cost us bailing out the rest of Europe in the last big war.

    Seriously though, I firmly believe that we cannot stand by and let other, weaker nations suffer at the hands of dictators who subject their people to all sorts of nasties. In fact there was a thread yesterday about people standing by and watching the system take people away, group by group, and when it came to their turn there was no one left to say or do anything about it. BUT ... if we are going to make a stand, it must be for the right reasons, there must be uniformity across the board (ie: can't complain about a problem in one country because it has oil whilst ignoring the same problem in another which does not) and it must be backed by affirmative action, military or otherwise, which is pursued through to the end if needs be. To threaten action and then not back it up results in loss of credibility.

    At the moment we have a UN which is ageing and losing all its teeth. No one takes it particularly serious anymore and an at the end of the day all that seems to matter is MONEY!! When it interests them big companies lobby the government and the government does something. Big companies then get big contracts to rebuild infrastructure in affected areas. Part of the reason why sanctions don't work is that there is money to be made. A dictator needs military equipment. If the UK says no, some other country will always say "Yes". You don't have to look far (France, Germany) to see examples of that.

  20. .... four .... three .... two .... one and breathe deep!! Feeling much better now that I've offloaded that lot.


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