Monday, January 15, 2007

 

Jails and Genocide-Behind the Spin (part 2)

Burma is a land of many ethnic groups; Karen, Karreni, Shan, Arakan and Chin just to name a few. For years until the regime took power Burma was one of the most multicultural and tolerant countries on the planet. The Burman majority (mainly Buddhist) lived in relative peace alongside, Karen (mainly Christian), Rohingya (mainly Muslim), Indians (both Hindu and Sikh), Anglo-Burmese and Anglo-Indians amongst a multitude of others. However, since 1958 the military juntas in control have systematically destroyed any such harmony. From ejecting rich Anglo-Indians and seizing their assets to stripping the Rohingya people of any rights to marry or own property, the regime has made sure that ethnic minorities are treated as bad, or even worse than the Burman majority they persecute so brutally.

A particular venom has been saved for the Karen people; who the regime hate with such a passion that they have contributed a huge proportion of their resources to destroying the entire Karen civilisation. Hundreds of Karen villages have been bombed or shelled without warning[1] killing men, women and children or soldiers have simply arrived and told the entire population of the village to move into army-controlled areas or be shot on site[2]. Just last month the Tatmadaw (Burmese army) attacked the Northern Karen region, murdering 76 men, women and children, burning villages, burning rice fields and driving 25 000 Karen civilians in to hiding in the jungle where they suffer from malnutrition, starvation and disease[3]. Children are executed to prevent the Karen population growing whilst those suspected of being members of the Karen National Liberation Army (a small armed group which seeks to protect Karen villages from attacks) have been beheaded in public or simply tied to trees and beaten to death[4].

The sickening brutality of the Burmese army is unquestionable as these quotes from the Free Burma Rangers show:

“Saw Maw Keh carried his mother up the ridge out of the gully and into theclearing. The Burma Army soldiers waited until the Saw Maw Keh and hismother were in the cleared area, about 10-15 yards away from their positionbehind the logs, and then opened fire. The shock of having a line of troopsopen fire at point blank range must have been tremendous. Saw Maw Kehdropped his mother (we are not sure if she was shot off his back or fell).She cried out to him and as he turned to help her they both were shot dead.His daughter, 9-year-old Naw Eh Ywa Paw was shot though the back as she ranwith the rest of the people…The Burma Army waited ina prepared position to kill villagers. They waited until they were only 10yards away and opened fire on a man carrying his mother and as well as thefamilies and children behind him. What kind of people, what kind of systemcan do this? A depraved one.”[5]

This is just one incident, in the attack on one village, that has been replicated time and time again not just across the Karen region but throughout the villages or nearly every ethnic minority in Burma.

Yet the murder of children, the pre-meditated destruction of entire villages, the savage beatings and the beheadings have been willingly funded and endorsed by Total Oil for fourteen years. Here are just two examples of Total’s contribution to the genocide:

Money from Total ($130 million) paid for 30% of the MIG fighter planes[6] that the Burmese Army purchased from Russia and for use in attacks on Karen villages. This transaction took place in 2002 despite the fact that the Burmese army had been carrying out their genocide of the Karen for years.
Soldiers drove Karen villagers from their homes to make way for Total’s pipeline. This was done with the full knowledge of Total, Chief Executive Theirry Desmarest stated “Military presence in the region was reinforced to ensure protection of the area”

The facts are clear. Despite Total’s spin and talk of ‘positive engagement’ propagated by their PR department, Total are funding genocide. They money paid by the public at Total petrol stations is in turn paid to the Burmese regime for Burma’s oil (£200 000 000 per year)[7].This money is used for military planes and arms to continue their genocide of Burma’s ethnic minorities (Total spend 50% of their annual budget on the military despite having no external enemies[8] –it all goes towards their oppression and genocide.

Total may create a fancy PR site with pictures of smiling Burmese children to cover their tracks but they know where the money is going. When asked about the genocide they are silent, when asked to condemn the genocide they are silent, and they’ll be silent tonight while tens of thousands of Karen civilians hide out in a landmine filled jungle to protect their children from the soldiers who will rape and murder them –with guns and planes paid for by Total.

[1] Karen Human Rights Group
[2] Karen Human Rights Group
[3] Free Burma Rangers
[4] Free Burma Rangers
[5] Free Burma Rangers
[6] Burma Campaign UK
Report ‘Total Oil- Fuelling the Oppression in Burma’
[7] Burma Campaign UK Report ‘Total Oil- Fuelling the Oppression in Burma’
[8] Burma Campaign UK Report ‘Total Oil- Fuelling the Oppression in Burma’

Photo 1 from Karen Human Rights Group, Photos 2 and 3 from Free Burma Rangers.

Comments:
Wonderful land. I got pleasure reading this article.
 
Prodigy oil and gas is watching developments of reserves in and across the borders of these United States

 
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