Friday, 28 September 2007

Myanmar - Behind the toolshed of the global sandpit

It has been a while since I posted anything but it is Saturday and 3 times a year China reshuffles the week to make a 5 day holiday in to 3 days, so alas today I am at work, and since I know that nobody actually reads my blog I (and is blocked in China) I feel at ease in writing opinions that may actually be unpopular.

So I am watching CNN last night about the plight of the monks in Myanmar, and how they are taking this opportunity to plug their i-report feature on their website (which of course over time will render journalists obsolete in all stories except ones about dogs that can surf). They are receiving and broadcasting footage and images of the 100,000 monks on parade.

Myanmar, I have learned has a military control government, and the reporting has centred around how they are suppressing the protests by force. The world is outraged. It must be because I even got an invitation in facebook to join a group that supports the monks in Myanmar. The situation is so serious that even the nuns are getting involved (which the military really should begin to worry about if Buddist nuns are anything like the Catholic nuns that I grew up with.)

All I heard from the global press was condemnation of the government and the plight of these monks.

Analysts have asked about the effect of this on China,( the US have slapped sanctions on Myanmar and even Condoleezza Rice has expressed "empathy" which is probably as much as you are going to get from her.

They even went so far as to put "visa bans on 36 members of the Myanmar junta and their families" (I would be interested to see how the US will react to 10,000 visa applications from monks seeking refugee status in the US.)

So in these turmulous times, I often ask the question, WHAT STARTED ALL THIS? Was it because a leading Monk official was brutally beaten the arrested after expressing displeasure at the mistreatment of small children? NO

Was it because of actions by the government to ethnically cleanse the population of buddhist in Myanmar? NO

I was perplexed. What would cause 100,000 monks to hit the streets for 3 day in protest to a Military Government?

The answer (based on this informative FAQ by AP was rising fuel prices!

I don't think you understand the importance of that last statement so let me emphasise the statement again in UPPER CASE.


Is your blood boiling? Are you up in arms? ........... no?...... neither am I.

I appreciate that this may seem insensitive and my statements may have a certain "Let them eat cake" feel about them but is there no better atrocity to protest over than INFLATION?

I could go on but I won't. I am sure that I am once again misguided and I am sure that there are many many more issues that led to this tipping point but of all things that could potentially throw a nation into turmoil and potentially overthrow a government and cause all sorts of global condemnation, please tell me is more than price fluctuations of a commodity that in the last 50 years gone from $2 per barrel to $60 per barrel.

Incidentally, what is the price of Myanmar produced opium based products these days?