An blog by a member of the Catholic peace movement, Pax Christi, to explore the nexus between contemplation and resistance. "The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Regime-Quakes




But "None of this compares with the rage boiling over in Burma, where cyclone survivors have badly beaten at least one local official, furious at his failure to distribute aid. There have been dozens of reports of the Burmese junta taking credit for supplies sent by foreign countries. It turns out that they have been taking more than credit — in some cases they have been taking the aid. According to a report in Asia Times, the regime has been hijacking food shipments and distributing them among its 400,000 soldiers. The reason speaks to the threat the disaster poses to the very existence of the regime. The generals, it seems, are 'haunted by an almost pathological fear of a split inside their own ranks…if soldiers are not given priority in aid distribution and are unable to feed themselves, the possibility of mutiny rises.'" Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, confirms that before the cyclone, the military was already coping with a wave of desertions.

The Bush regime is also dealing or failing to deal with a wave of desertions from their occupation of Iraq, and for much the same reasons, "As Farmaner puts it, after elections the junta leaders 'are going to be wearing suits instead of boots.' The cyclone, meanwhile, has presented them with one last, vast business opportunity: by blocking aid from reaching the highly fertile Irrawaddy delta, hundreds of thousands of mostly ethnic Karen rice farmers are being sentenced to death. According to Farmaner, 'that land can be handed over to the generals’ business cronies' (shades of the beachfront land grabs in Sri Lanka and Thailand after the Asian tsunami). This isn’t incompetence, or even madness. It’s laissez-faire ethnic cleansing." - Naomi Klein, "Regime-Quakes in Burma and China"

The Burmese generals are applying the same strategy to the Irrawaddy delta that Bush applied to New Orleans. The goal is to eliminate undesirable populations, much as the Israelis are attempting in Palestine and surrounding areas and teaching to the U.S. to apply in Iraq, where already 1.2 million Iraqis have been cleansed from our oil lands and 4 million displaced. In the same way that Bush is buying a country estate in Paraguay to shelter himself and fellow war criminals in case he is forced to leave office next year, the Burmese generals are "Taking a page out of the playbook of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, [they] have drafted a Constitution that allows for elections but guarantees that no future government will ever have the power to prosecute them for their crimes or take back their ill-gotten wealth. As Farmaner puts it, after elections the junta leaders 'are going to be wearing suits instead of boots.' The cyclone, meanwhile, has presented them with one last, vast business opportunity: by blocking aid from reaching the highly fertile Irrawaddy delta, hundreds of thousands of mostly ethnic Karen rice farmers are being sentenced to death. According to Farmaner, 'that land can be handed over to the generals' business cronies' (shades of the beachfront land grabs in Sri Lanka and Thailand after the Asian tsunami). This isn't incompetence, or even madness. It's laissez-faire ethnic cleansing." - Naomi Klein, "Regime-Quakes in Burma and China"

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