Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Critical Days for Burma

I remember when I was interviewed by CNN, the presenter tried to sound all doom and gloom and used Burma as an example of a hopeless case where regime change was not possible.
"I point out Aung San Suu Kyi who has been under house arrest for 10 years and still no democratic reform there" was the interviewer's exact words.

I have been following the events in Burma ever since the brave British national, James Mawdsley, was arrested there for distributing pro human rights leaflets. It fascinated me how the quest for justice motivated a British national to risk his life and freedom for that of others so many miles away. I admire Aung San Suu Kyi so much as well. She left her comfortable Cambridge life to serve her people, never showing any regret, never losing her determination. Many times, I hoped Parastoo Forouhar, whose parents were stabbed to death by Islamic Republic agents in their home, would be our own Aung San Suu Kyi.

Now that thousands of people have taken to the streets in Burma again, it has made me think and reflect over the past years that I have followed news of Burma. I ask myself, how is it in all these years since Aung San Suu Kyi was put under house arrest, I never heard anyone in the West dare to justify the junta rule in Burma? No junta apologists ever appeared to have a free platform to promote the military dictatorship in Burma. No Burmese official was ever invited to Western universities and received honorary PHD? Yet when it comes to the Islamic Republic of Iran, a religious dictatorship and a religious apartheid, their apologists are given forum after forum to promote and justify the theocracy in Iran.

In fact ever since the beginning of the Islamic revolution in Iran, outrageous remarks have been expressed in support of the most reactionary despots in the world by influential people in the West. People that you would assume should have a reasonable degree of intellect for the positions they occupy.

Andrew Young called Ayatollah Khomeini a Saint! The US ambassador to Iran, at the time of the revolution, David Sullivan, likened the bloodthirsty Khomeini to 'Iran's Gandhi". Clinton and Armitage, ignored the unelected Guardian Council selection process of candidates, and claimed Iran was a democracy! The principal White House aide for Iran during the Iranian Revolution and a retired US Navy captain, Gary Sick, who has held impressive posts like the deputy director for International Affairs at the Ford Foundation, has gone out of his way in the past 28 years to buy friends for the Islamic Republic and promote murderers like Rafsanjani as moderates. If I gave examples of European statesmen, journalists and Left wing admirers of the theocracy in Iran, the list of such absurd adulation for the Islamic Republic and its henchmen will go on and on.

Where did we go wrong? Why is our message not getting across? Why is it that Islamic Republic apologists and supporters like Massoud Behnood and Hossein Derakhshan are able to get grants after grants from various foundations and institutions, and yet we struggle to fight a petro-dollar regime, which is a threat to the world, on our shoe string personal budgets?

Perhaps that is the answer to all these questions. The Islamic rulers in Iran are much more cunning and shrewd than their Burmese counterparts. They know how to spend their money to influence the international public opinion and buy their "useful idiots". We on the other hand, have to fight an army of IRI apologists and "useful idiots" before we can even get near to the Islamic Republic.

On these critical days for Burma, our hearts and minds are with the people of Burma who have risen against the tyranny of their oppressors. We express our solidarity with them and wish they can live a peaceful life where they will no longer have to look over their shoulder when they speak, a precious privilege that is so often taken for granted by the people in democratic countries.


Anonymous said...

Remember the Left never supported James Mawdsley either. The fact that this courageous individual was a Tory, just didn't fit their profile of someone they should have supported. They just didn't know how to handle that. Lenin never told them what they should do about a Tory freedom fighter.

Winston said...

نمیدونم شاید مردم ایران اندازه هزار تا راهبه بودایی هم نیستند؟

Anonymous said...

It is very true that the Islamic Republic has been very smart in using its money in influencing not only the international opinion but also to make it as difficult as possible for any real opposition to come to surface.

As you say, it seems like most of the time is spent on fighting apologists than the regime itself, perhaps a change is needed there? although I guess we can't do it all from over here.

Anonymous said...

You will be unsurprised to hear that the SWP blogger, "Lenin" has decided that the protestors in Burma have been "co-opted" by neoliberals, and that if they succeed, "Mynamar" will starve and medical care will disappear.

That is what happens in non-totalitarian regimes which pursue liberal economic policies.

vide the scenes of plenty you see in North Korea, v the starving masses in South Korea.

SERENDIP said...

Please support blogger in Burma:

I just found this a little bit ago and I think it needs as much support from the internet community as possible. Ko Htike is in Myanmar blogging about the protests going on in his country.

He was shot during the protests, many have been killed and now the military has shut down the internet and won't allow many journalists in the country.

There are also talks of shutting down the internet.

Anonymous said...

"It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it." Suu Kyi

Anonymous said...

IMHO you have to put the differences between Iran and Burma in proper perspective: Burma does not have a fraction of the resources that Iran has which the west highly covets.

We all know how pivotal Iran's role in ME and energy resource equation is. One can theorize that the Europeans must somehow put a lipstick on the ugly pig which is their significant economic ties with Iran.

A faction here in the U.S. feels that the Americans have been left out of the Iranian bonanza and believe the only way to get into that game is to follow the European model which is based on appeasement and downright acceptance of whatever atrocity du joir IR commits.

I enjoy reading your blog.

Azarmehr said...

These are good points you make and that explains why that faction in America try to justify IR, but what about the journalists, the Left, the universities etc...

Behnam said...

How can you ? empower the people in IRAN like the way people in Burma?
People inside of IRAN are not thinking like Burma's people..!!!!!Because of the fear that IR has put in the country.!! hanging his own kids in public eyes and so ans so... and not having trust to one another!
How much more our kids can take this? Are we hoping that if U.S attck IRAN and I hope this should happen very soon..before then we can heve people in IRAN to get on the streets of Tehran and bring down the IR Government...?my prayer goes to Burmas People..

Behnam said...

BUT,,i have to add this I have a feeling ,
Protesting for democracy in BURMA will help Iranian.. and will teach them a and make them to stand up for their own Rights...?
This is just a HOPE and a THOUGHT not a fact.. :)
Be omide UN ROOZ.. :)

Anonymous said...

The Burmese junta is not rabidly anti-american so they only get a lukewarm opposition to their existance by the left wing media and political forces in Europe and the US.

Where as a characters like Chavez or Ahmaqinejad who are strident in their anti-american rhetoric (while supressing their own people) automatically get the automatic support of swathes of useful idiots from Tony Been to George Galloway.

Anonymous said...

Excellent points raised in this post. Also take into account that Burma, despite being a nasty military dictatorship, is not a threat to the rest of the world. Ahmadi-nejad however,definitely is.