Perhaps it's our collective feelings of impotence that prompt us to give up so easily and quickly. After all, what can we do as individuals, when our governments (and organizations like the useless U.N.) stand by and do absolutely nothing other than pay lip service to the perpetrators of those tragic events? And frankly, it's far more palatable to bury our heads in the proverbial sand, than to face the evil in the world. We selfishly believe that if we just forget about it, or refuse to acknowledge it, that "it" will somehow cease to exist. However, being in denial does not somehow miraculously ameliorate the suffering people endure under brutal dictatorships. The Burmese people have suffered for decades under a ruthless military junta, and in spite of their recent efforts to affect positive change in their once prosperous now poverty-stricken land, they continue to suffer today. Terribly.
According to a very interesting article on the brutality of the regime on spiegel.de,
"Burma's generals are firmly in control of the country once again. The mere act of listening to a foreign radio station is enough to land a Burmese citizen in prison. Government militias are still dragging regime critics and alleged demonstrators from their homes at night. Pakokku's [where the pro-democracy movement began] three largest monasteries have become military camps, with parked trucks filling the spaces between the monks' quarters. The city's residents look sick and emaciated, and the city itself is little more than a poorhouse today. The once-magnificent steps leading up to the Shweguni Temple have been destroyed. Neighboring residents have removed stones from the structure to build fire pits, where they cook pancakes made of inexpensive rice meal. Few can afford rice."
Typical of socialist and communist dictatorships, the Burmese people are starving while the military leaders of the country prosper, and that's why the monks took to the streets in the first place. The sad irony is that the demonstrations began not as an attempt to bring democracy to a corrupt socialist regime, but because by raising fuel prices the bus fares drastically increased, and people were unable to get to work. People were simply hungry!!
And why did the Junta raise prices to begin with? This is what sickens me the most: according to the same spiegel.de article , other than the generals, there are 10 members "of an expert council of Yangon's chamber of commerce and industry" who are privy to the inner workings of the government.
" When the generals are unsure of what to do next, they consult the council. This panel of wise men includes two former cabinet ministers, as well as businessmen and scientists. Only one member of the group ignores the government's strict ban on talking to journalists."This one member revealed that the reason gas prices were hiked up, overnight, was because
"The construction of the junta's jungle hideout consumed a sum equal to several annual budgets in this country of 57 million people [snip]. Moreover, to keep the government officials -- many of whom were forced to move -- in good spirits, the generals had to raise their salaries. Lower-ranking bureaucrats received a fivefold increase, while senior officials gave themselves a 1,200 percent pay hike."
"In April 2006, the junta asked the council to provide it with recommendations on whether it could recoup its exorbitant personnel costs through gasoline prices. The council turned down the request, but the junta decided to go ahead with the plan anyway."
This "member" also admitted that, as a result of these recent events, he came to the conclusion
"The generals couldn't care less about the condition of the country, and there are no consultations within the leadership, just the commands of dictator Than Shwe."
"The country is completely broke. The only option now is a crash landing."The average Burmese family
"spends more than 70 percent of its meager income -- which is often no more than the equivalent $1 a day -- on food alone. Incomes are dropping and estimates put inflation at more than 90 percent. But there are no exact figures: The government has kept economic statistics under tight wraps since 2001."
Like everything else in that country, we will probably never know the extent of what happened there during the bloody uprising, or the exact numbers of those killed, beaten and arrested, though undoubtedly it is far more than the junta is laying claim to. However, we do know that peaceful monks were beaten until bloodied, and some killed, because they dared to protest an unfair increase in fuel prices- a direct result of gross mismanagement by a bunch of greedy leaders who care more about lining their pockets then making sure their people are fed. So much for the socialist government of Myanmar.
And the junta had the audacity to call the U.S. a bully today! Pot kettle black? Even more pathetic is their claim that the U.S. was responsible for inciting those demonstrations. Yup, blame the U.S. for everything. Why not, everyone else does.