Tuesday, October 2

Don't sit wailing on the road, Mr Packer

Writing for the October 1 New Yorker, George Packer observed:
Ordered to shoot, Burmese soldiers shoot, and even -- this is common when security forces turn on their own people -- descend to acts of shocking brutality. One would need a deep knowledge of Burmese society and its military to understand exactly why these soldiers are willing to become criminals. But until that changes, no U.N. special envoy or expressions of American and European outrage, Southeast Asian disapproval, or mild Chinese concern will matter.
For heaven's sake! The mainstream media had to look up Burma on a map last week before they could start reporting on the situation there.

Truth is, Burma has been at the bottom of the world's To-do list ever since the junta crushed the last protests almost 20 years ago. So it's ridiculous to think of the "revolution" as a failure. There was no revolution in Burma in September, just protests. The revolution has been in the world's attention during this past week.

The attention to Burma needs to continue because Than Shwe is very worried about a coup from inside his regime, and/or a mutiny among his troops. Criticism from governments around the world directed at his leadership give fodder to his enemies in the regime. So of course the outrage matters, and matters greatly.

The attention also puts India and China on the spot as aiding and abetting the junta's tyranny. That very much needed to be done. Again, most people around the world simply didn't know what was going on. That is what the protests accomplished: getting the world informed.

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