Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hope, And Hope Delayed

Yesterday at the U.N., President Bush reminded that fallen body that it once stood for freedom and human rights, and it should again. He focused on countries that have taken steps toward freedom, and those that continue in darkness, including Myanmar ... er, Burma.

Bush used "Burma", and the CIA World Fact Book tells us:
... since 1989 the military authorities in Burma have promoted the name Myanmar as a conventional name for their state; this decision was not approved by any sitting legislature in Burma, and the US Government did not adopt the name, which is a derivative of the Burmese short-form name Myanma Naingngandaw
Good enough for me (although not the UN or the MSM, which use Myanmar). Here's what Bush had to say about Burma:
Americans are outraged by the situation in Burma, where a military junta has imposed a 19-year reign of fear. Basic freedoms of speech, assembly, and worship are severely restricted. Ethnic minorities are persecuted. Forced child labor, human trafficking, and rape are common. The regime is holding more than 1,000 political prisoners -- including Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party was elected overwhelmingly by the Burmese people in 1990.

The ruling junta remains unyielding, yet the people's desire for freedom is unmistakable. This morning, I'm announcing a series of steps to help bring peaceful change to Burma. The United States will tighten economic sanctions on the leaders of the regime and their financial backers. We will impose an expanded visa ban on those responsible for the most egregious violations of human rights, as well as their family members. We'll continue to support the efforts of humanitarian groups working to alleviate suffering in Burma. And I urge the United Nations and all nations to use their diplomatic and economic leverage to help the Burmese people reclaim their freedom.

It is obvious that it'll take more than mere words to force Burma out of the grip of the Socialist junta that rules it, as the Chinese-supported regime paid no heed and moved virtually as Bush spoke to try to crush the latest popular uprising there:

YANGON, Myanmar - Security forces shot and wounded three people, and beat and dragged away dozens of Buddhist monks Wednesday in the most violent crackdown against the protests that began last month, witnesses said. About 300 monks and activists were arrested, dissidents said.

Reports from exiled Myanmar journalists and activists in Thailand said security forces had shot and killed as many as five people in Myanmar's biggest city, Yangon [Rangoon]. The reports could not be independently confirmed by The Associated Press.

Witnesses in Yangon known to the AP said they had seen two women and one young man with gunshot wounds in the chaotic confrontations.

Zin Linn, information minister for the Washington-based National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, which is Myanmar's self-styled government-in-exile, said at least five monks were killed, while an organization of exiled political activists in Thailand, the National League for Democracy-Liberated Area said three monks had been confirmed dead, and about 17 wounded.

It seems like beating Buddhist monks is not a good strategy for gaining popular support in a nation where nearly 90 percent of the people are Buddhist. Of course, it would also seem that refusing to relinquish power after a popular election, as the junta did in 1990 after Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won a landslide victory in a popular election.

So, how about an International League for Democracy to snuff out the brutes that are denying a nation its freedom? Bush reminded the U.N. that in theory we have such an organization headquartered in NYC, but that the theory and the practice have become woefully disjointed.

President Bush concluded his speech:
With the commitment and courage of this chamber, we can build a world where people are free to speak, assemble, and worship as they wish; a world where children in every nation grow up healthy, get a decent education, and look to the future with hope; a world where opportunity crosses every border. America will lead toward this vision where all are created equal, and free to pursue their dreams. This is the founding conviction of my country. It is the promise that established this body. And with our determination, it can be the future of our world.
Inspiring words to some, but let's face it: They're threatening words to a significant number of the world leaders who sat before him, whose sheer numbers drive the U.N., whose influence is too strong for the likes of Ban-ki Moon to stand up to.

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