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Buddhism in the News


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Burma's Junta and Cyclone Nargis.

We have known for a long time that the repressive government in Burma has been distrustful of outsiders but they should be more concerned with their people--especially after the recent protests. As a historian, I know that in many cases the fall of a brutal regime comes from within the populace more than from a foreign power.

The junta has extreme paranoia of the international community. This suspicion has been expressed through resisting foreign aid after the Cyclone Nargis out of fear that somehow allowing aid would undermine their unquestioned authority. They seem to believe that allowing in help from these countries is a back door attempt to affect revolution. They seem to be concerned that the Burmese civilians will see foreign aid as a sign that the junta isn't capable of helping them and help erode their iron grip on power. The problem is that they are so isolated and out of touch with their own populace that they don't seem to understand or aren't willing to accept the reality that the people have long ago known that the junta is incapable and unwilling to aid them.

The regime assumes that the international community has ulterior motives for sending this humanitarian aid rather than doing it out of pure compassion and concern. I believe this is because they are so ruthless that they can not believe governments actually do things out of the goodness of their hearts. They seem to assume that there is always a catch because that is how they operate, they can not believe that a government actually helps it's people simply because they have compassion for them.

Their paranoia of the international community will be their ultimate downfall I believe because they are continuing to neglect their citizens and their very neglect is what led to the protests of '88 and of '07. So now the populace is hungrier, sicker, more homeless and poorer than before the cyclone and in many cases literally have nothing else to lose. When people become this desperate then revolution can be sparked by the tiniest flame. The irony is that if the junta would just allow the aid into the country I think that many people might actually have an improved opinion of them.

However, blocking the help that they need to save their children might just be the final injustice that causes an uprising so massive that the junta will have not a chance at stopping it. There are also reports that the average soldier is extremely embarrassed at the neglect of the generals during the aftermath of the cyclone and I think it is only a mater of time before the junta's carefully constructed web of control unravels.

~Peace to all beings~

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Burmakin said...

Hello James,

Nice to meet you and thank you for writing injustice prevailing in Burma.

I like to invite you to have a visit to my blog. Your comments are also most welcome.


E.D. Kain said...

A second invitation, James. I run a political journal and have just spun a piece on the notion of humanitarian invasion to save the Burmese people from the join disasters that are the cyclone and the junta. Would you mind offering up some thoughts on this?

The Ghosts of Myanmar

I like your blog. I'm also struggling with my own spiritual journey....

Riverwolf said...

On one hand, you'd think the junta would learn from other similar rulers that these kinds of tactics actually don't work and, as you pointed out, frequently lead to the very revolutions they fear the most.

And I can't understand why a person would even want to rule in this way, to be bound by so much fear that they have to oppress others.

Just came from my recent retreat (and hope to post about it soon)--but it seems I have much clearer vision than before of how so many people lead tiny, fearful, restricted lives. And don't know there is a way out, or they're too frightened to take that step.

They call him James Ure said...


You're welcome. As long as I can speak I will speak out on such things.

Thanks for the invite to your blog. I've read it and enjoy it.

E.D. Kain:

I'll be over when I get a minute.


And I can't understand why a person would even want to rule in this way, to be bound by so much fear that they have to oppress others.

Well said.

I'm so glad that your retreat was rejuvenating. I think you're right that people are afraid to take that first step. We have to take the bull by the horns and face our fears head on. There is no other way if we are truly seeking freedom in my opinion.

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