26 July, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 01/10/2009
MYANMAR
Failure of international community before drama of Burmese people
Pascal Khoo Thwe, a Burmese dissident, adds up the balance of a tragic 2008: Nargis and the military dictatorship have pushed the population to the breaking point. The junta has deliberately allowed people to die in order to confiscate their land. He stresses that the struggle for democracy must begin with the people.

Yangon (AsiaNews) - For most Burmese, 2008 will be remembered for "an apocalypse by the name of Cyclone Nargis" that devastated the country, "and the year the international community headed by the United Nations thoroughly failed" in the face of the emergency and the drama of the refugees, incapable of touching the power of a military dictatorship that "represses any voice contrary to the regime" in blood. The charge comes from Pascal Khoo Thwe, a Burmese activist of Padaung ethnicity, exiled in London, in an editorial published on the website of the dissident newspaper Democratic Voice of Burma.

He recalls how last May, the world was "waiting for the arrival of the biggest Olympic Games ever to be held" in China, and too preoccupied "not to do anything which could upset the striding dragon that is China" to think of the tragedy afflicting Myanmar. The situation was intensified by the neglect of the ruling junta, which did not take into consideration the alarm raised by a meteorological center in India, considering Nargis on the level of a simple tropical storm.

"The more people the storm killed," Pascal Khoo Thwe writes, "the better for the generals as no one could blame them for it and they could seize the prime lands of the people who perished." Many of the victims were of Karen ethnicity, a minority that the government has repeatedly tried to eradicate by force from the region.

He does not spare criticism of foreign governments, which "'urged', 'denounced', 'condemned' and 'demanded'," but did nothing concrete to change the situation and help the Burmese people. At the same time, he blasts the UN policy of "wait and see," while "hundreds of people were dying day by day."

The repression imposed by the military rulers also impacts those - few, in reality - who have promoted personal initiatives to help the populations and areas ravaged by the passage of the cyclone: Pascal Khoo Thwe cites the example of the most famous Burmese actor, Zarganar, who was "stopped, assaulted, and intimidated by agents of the junta," and finally "arrested and imprisoned for his efforts." He also tells about a farmer - the only survivor in his family - who, a few weeks after the catastrophe, reprimanded a volunteer with a foreign NGO, telling him: "Thanks for nothing and for coming too late. Keep on helping tyranny." "The farmer disappeared without a trace and nobody knows what happened to him." He also recalls those who "have courageously fought against the dictatorship for years, like Win Tin," a leading representative of the opposition party National League for Democracy, who seem to have "wasted their energy" without the international community providing them "any concrete help" or ceasing "to support the generals" in power.

For the future, Pascal Khoo Thwe does not seem to be on board with the wave of optimism that has accompanied the election of U.S. president Barack Obama. It is not a matter of distrust, justified among other things by many of his predecessors who never kept their promises, but a question of political realism. "Obama has too many things on his plate to sort out as the most powerful leader on earth, such as the mess in Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel/Palestine and the global economic crisis, to name but a few. I would advise my countrymen that we should not pin our hopes on events abroad." He urges that "we must all stop mentally depending on foreign powers . . . and go beyond the politics of emotion." "We must stop our reliance on a magic bullet formula in politics, by really listening to the concerns of those at the grassroots level." Otherwise, there will be a repeat of the slaughter, massacres, and natural disasters on an even more devastating scale, which can be avoided only if the people are capable of facing the future "with less anxiety and emotion." "The history of Burma," he concludes, "has shown that good ideas or actions or foreign support alone are not enough to govern or rebuild a nation and maintain its soul."


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
11/06/2008 MYANMAR
People of Burma call for democracy and religious freedom
08/07/2008 MYANMAR - UNITED STATES
Myanmar, Laura Bush visits Nargis refugees and calls for sanctions against military junta
08/09/2008 MYANMAR - ASIA
Asia recalls the repression of 8-8-'88 in Myanmar
by Melani Manel Perera
09/24/2008 MYANMAR
"Superficial" concessions from Burmese junta to appease UN
10/22/2008 MYANMAR
Burmese dissident Zarganar honored for pro-democracy struggle

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.