Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Additional comment by Nora Rowley MD on Yeni's article on Burmese sanctions in Irrawaddy Magazine --

"...They must agree that the suffering of the Burmese people has been almost exclusively caused by decades of economic mismanagement and lack of vision..."

I am bothered by this inaccurate assessment which is often repeated in international articles. Perhaps it is for diplomacy. Economic mismanagement can be spun in many ways. But, lack of vision? Articles conveying information should not mislead, by accident or otherwise. The military rulers of Myanmar hold all the wealth and thus power in Burma and in the region. This has not been an accident.
Pre-independence Burma was the richest British Colony and held one of the highest literacy rates in the world. Since 1962, the ruling military has set limitations on the general public's economic freedom. In the 1960's the dictatorship broadcast their slogan of implementing their Road Map to Socialism. This ANIMAL FARM-like Pseudo-Socialism by claiming State ownership of land, businesses, education and, let's face it, the people (sic -- goverment?) took everything from the people and gave nothing back. This state of authoritarian oppression has induced regime dependence, subjugation and the devastating poverty seen today. Any group as seen as not belonging or a threat to regime power has been subjected to crushing brutal persecution that has transformed much of Burma's border areas into States of Fear, of regime violence and terrorism.
Thailand, China,India, Bangladesh and Malaysia are funding much resource extraction programs inside Burma. These international development projects (take) the homes and fertile land from the people of Burma while using the people for forced labor and to extract bribes to support the military. Land and waterways in the path of this development are devasted (divested) of their income and food generation capacities for local populations. The regime, in return, generates billions of US $ in income.
As the regime grows richer in wealth, arms, regional power, complicity with its neighbors and global big businesses and impunity, the people of Burma are dying of preventable and regime induced violence, starvation and disease.

This is not diplomatic, but it is the truth.

Nora E. Rowley MD
Member Physicians for Human Rights
Stop Burma's Crimes Against Humanity
Member US Campaign for Burma Board of Directors