Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Saving a Country Kidnapped by a Terrorist Junta

International Spotlight

Myanmar (Burma): Saving a Country Kidnapped by a Terrorist Junta

by José María Rodríguez González

It has taken 45 shameful years, but the cruel military dictatorship that ousted the legal government of Myanmar is finally coming under international scrutiny. To be sure, the thuggish generals who oppress their own countrymen continue to claim that Myanmar's problems are purely a domestic matter. But the recent arrest and persecution of peaceful Buddhist Monks was so outrageous that it has aroused protest throughout the world. Now, attention is being drawn to the many other issues that make Myanmar's long ordeal a matter of international concern. Murdering political opponents and forcing citizens to sign affidavits pledging not to oppose the government -- both blatant violations of human rights -- is an international issue. Denying visas to foreign journalists is also an international issue. So is cutting-off the internet and banning all dissent in the media. Fifty-five million people now live in a state resembling a large prison. Why do we wait to demand an end to Myanmar's illegal military dictatorship?

Stalin's purges, which killed millions of Russians, were not just a Russian tragedy. Hitler murdered many German opponents along with his other victims, but no one dismissed Nazism as "just a German problem." The world still feels the aftermath of crimes committed by Chairman Mao during China's "Cultural Revolution". Statistically, the Myanmar atrocities are on a smaller scale; nonetheless, the nature of the Junta's crimes poses a serious threat to the values toward which the civilized world is striving. The junta must be challenged.

We do not measure dangers to humanity by the size of the country involved, or the number of victims, but by the character of the conflict. Is our negligence emboldening a radical political front or a radical religious

sect in Myanmar? Are we pressuring the sectarian rivalries in Myanmar and ensuring that armed conflict will be the only way to topple the dictatorial junta? What human disaster are we furthering in Myanmar with our hypocrisy, inaction and complicity?

There is not a single human right that Myanmar’s junta has not ignored. The army has not hesitated to kill, torture, persecute and harass virtually the entire population of the country. Myanmar today is not merely a prison; it has become a concentration camp. The UN Security Council, invoking the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, has an obligation to demand that the bloody-booted generals finally walk away from the country they have violated.

Unfortunately, two Security Council members -- Russia and China -- have shown little enthusiasm for confronting the dictatorial junta in Myanmar --- perhaps because of their own past violations of human rights. Their passive complicity with the Myanmar generals may well represent an effort to cover up not only previous sins, but also present behavior.

How much better it would be if China and Russia sought to make amends by supporting a return to democracy in Myanmar! Such a move would not only help both countries economically but would set them on a more promising path for the future.

As for the United States of America, after failure in Darfur, Sudan and Iraq it cannot afford another defeat for democracy in Myanmar. It must demand the dissolution of Burma’s illegal military junta. The influence and power of U.S. in Southeast Asia is not likely to recover from another blunder. The U.S. must succeed in Myanmar or content itself with still another defeat for democracy, and another disaster for its moral influence in the world.

A gang of corrupt, inept and power-hungry maniacs manages Myanmar at present. They distain international opinion and fight only for their own welfare. It’s about time that the angry voice of the world says, "No!" The voice must be loud, unanimous, and, if necessary, a firm prelude to international action.


José María Rodríguez González is a U.S. foreign policy researcher.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The Use Of Existing Drugs To Reduce The Effects Of Coronavirus

So now, we’re all getting up to speed with the travel bans, the rigorous handwashing and drying, the social distancing, and the avoidance of public transport wherever possible. Right. At a wider level…so far, the public health system has ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Oil Market And Regulation Crusades

Safe to say, Vladimir Putin did not expect the response he has received amidships from the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Earlier, Russia chose to walk away from the OPEC talks in Vienna that were aimed at reaching an agreement on how to reduce world oil production (and protect oil prices) in the light of the fall in demand being caused by the coronavirus. No doubt, Russia and its allies in the US shale industry probably glimpsed an opportunity to undercut OPEC and seize some of its customers. Bad move. In reply, Saudi Arabia has smashed the oil market by hugely ramping up production, signing up customers and drastically cutting the oil price in a fashion designed to knock Russia and other oil suppliers right out of contention. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On 22 Short Takes About Super Tuesday

With obvious apologies to the Simpsons….Here’s my 22 short takes on the 14 Super Tuesday primaries that combined yesterday to produce a common narrative –Bernie Sanders NOT running away with the nomination, Joe Biden coming back from the dead, and the really, really rich guy proving to be really, really bad at politics. In the months ahead, it will be fascinating to see if the real Joe Biden can live up to the idea of Joe Biden that people voted for yesterday – namely, the wise old guy who can save the country from the political extremism of the right and the left... More>>

Gordon Campbell On Shane Jones: A Liability No-One Needs To Bear

New Zealand First has needed a diversion after weeks of bad coverage over its dodgy handling of donations, but it really, really doesn’t need what Shane Jones has chosen to provide. According to Jones, New Zealand has ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Strong Man Legacies: Burying Mubarak

Reviled strongmen of one era are often the celebrated ones of others. Citizens otherwise tormented find that replacements are poor, in some cases even crueller, than the original artefact. Such strongmen also serve as ideal alibis for rehabilitation ... More>>

Caitlin Johnstone: Humanity Is Making A Very Important Choice When It Comes To Assange

The propagandists have all gone dead silent on the WikiLeaks founder they previously were smearing with relentless viciousness, because they no longer have an argument. The facts are all in, and yes, it turns out the US government is certainly and undeniably working to exploit legal loopholes to imprison a journalist for exposing its war crimes. That is happening, and there is no justifying it... More>>

Gail Duncan: Reframing Welfare Report

Michael Joseph Savage, the architect of the 1938 Social Security Act, wouldn’t recognise today’s Social Security Act as having anything to do with the kind, cooperative, caring society he envisioned 80 years ago. Instead society in 2020 has been reduced ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Addiction To Chinese Student Fees

Last week, Australian PM Scott Morrison extended its ban on foreign visitors from or passing through from mainland China – including Chinese students - for a third week. New Zealand has dutifully followed suit, with our travel ban ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Coronavirus, And The Iowa Debacle

As Bloomberg says, the coronavirus shutdown is creating the world’s biggest work-from-home experiment. On the upside, the mortality rate with the current outbreak is lower than with SARS in 2003, but (for a number of reasons) the economic impact this time ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Dodging A Bullet Over The Transport Cost Over-Runs

As New Zealand gears up to begin its $6.8 billion programme of large scale roading projects all around the country, we should be aware of this morning’s sobering headlines from New South Wales, where the cost overruns on major transport projects ... More>>


  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog