Violence Report in Arakan

Handcuffed Than Shwe, the Genocide Criminal

Handcuffed Than Shwe, the Genocide Criminal

 than-shwe-2009-3-9-1-50 copy

Than Shwe,

                   Why did you arrest the Burmese Muslim leaders?

This is the CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY amounting to a GENOCIDE.

Do you understand the meaning of  Genocide?

Just licking the BOOT of Obama could not erase your sins or AGAINST HUMANITY and GENOCIDE

 If you fail to release the Muslim leaders, we would start a campaign to handcuff you.

If the world Muslims declare Jihad on SPDC, you could not find a safe haven but grilled in hell soon.

The world Muslim Ummah

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ASEAN LEADERS ARE BARKING AT THE WRONG TREE WITH THE WRONG CAUSE AND WRONG OBJECTIVE

ASEAN LEADERS ARE BARKING AT THE WRONG TREE 

WITH THE WRONG CAUSE AND WRONG OBJECTIVE

 

ASEAN leaders are complaining about the convenient way to solve the Rohingya problem.

But for the Rohingyas or Burmese Muslims or Christian Chins/Karens/Kachins and Buddhist Mons/Shans/Burmese etc AND the NLDS  and political opponents and armed rebel groups_

Whether the SPDC would accept them back is not their main concern. What is the consequences after repatriation is their only problem.

Jailed? Tortured? Is the main concern for all but ‘Village arrest’ (for Rohingyas only) is the problem.

No democracy, no Human Rights, no political life, no respect for the Rights of religious minorities and Ethnic minorities is their main concern.

But the lack of development, economic problems back home are the most important fact for all of them.

There is no clear cut line to DEFINE OR CATEGORIZE THEM INTO POLITICAL OR ECONOMIC MIGRANTS. 

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M’sia offers to help minority Malays in other countries BUT IGNORED THE MUSLIMS OF OTHER RACES EVEN INSIDE THEIR COUNTRY

M’sia offers to help minority Malays in other countries

BUT IGNORED THE MUSLIMS OF OTHER RACES

EVEN INSIDE THEIR COUNTRY

COMMENT: Malaysian government used to ignore the Myanmar/Burmese Muslim migrants in their country.

Red tape and toll gates managed by ‘Little Napoleons’ everywhere

This is against the Islamic teaching and the UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS CONCEPT.

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Solidarity Day with migrants

Solidarity Day with migrants

Posted on December 19th, 2008 by Nathaniel Tan

The Star:

ABOUT 1,300 illegal foreigners have died during detention in the past six years, Malaysia Nanban quoted Malaysian Human Rights (Suhakam) commissioner Datuk N. Siva Subramaniam as saying.

He said many of them died in immigration detention centres, prisons and police lockups because they were denied medical treatment at the right time.

He proposed that a doctor and a medical assistant be appointed in each detention camp and prison which should have the necessary facilities to transfer sick prisoners to hospitals during an emergency.

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STOP HATRED, STOP TRYING TO DIVIDE; FOR A LONG LASTING PEACE, PROGRESS, AND PROSPERITY

 

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Please do not force the refugees in Malaysia to beg for money or to rob

Please do not force the refugees in Malaysia 


to beg for money or to rob

 

The Right to a Basic Standard of Life in ISLAM

Regarding the economic rights, the Holy Quran says:

And in their wealth there is acknowledged right for the needy and destitute. (51:19)

Anyone who needs help, irrespective of the race, religion or citizenship has a right in the property and wealth of the Muslims.

If you are in a position to help and a needy person asks you for help or if you come to know that he is in need, then it is your duty to help him.

Where is the Minister of Justice, Minister in the PM’s office Tan Seri Nazri Aziz, who even seemed to be championing for the Rohingyas, even mocking the Home Ministers that, HM did not know but he and PM’s security dpt had already arranged and approved all.

YAB DSAAB also acknowledged that Myanmar SPDC is hopeless and had even killed their own monks and Japanese photographer. But later even persuaded the other ASEAN leaders not to take action on the generals which was secretly recorded by Singaporeans.

After Tun Dr M introduced ‘San Oo Aung’ at the Perdana foundation function to his dear wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasma Mohd Ali, she commented to me in-front of the VIPs about the alleged kidnapping of a Malaysian by a Rohingya family. She even added her own experience of Rohingya beggars in-front of a shopping mall.

Continue reading

Backbiting and Slander or Fitnah

Backbiting

& Slander

or Fitnah

An Islamic perspective

A commentary on

one of the most destructive of

major sins

Prophet Muhammad  said :

  •  “Do you know what backbiting is?”
  • They said, “God and His Messenger know best.”
He then said,
“It is to say something about your brother that he would dislike.

Someone asked him, 

“But what if what I say is true?”

The Messenger of God  said,

  •  “If what you say about him is true,
  • you are backbiting him,
    • but if it is not true
    • then you have slandered him.” 

 (Muslim)

  • And why did you not, when you heard it, say?
  • “It is not right of us to speak of this:Glory to God, this is a most serious slander”

(Quran 24:16)

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Deafening silence from Malaysia regarding Myanmar Cyclone?

Deafening silence from Malaysia regarding Myanmar Cyclone?

 

First of all I wish to apologize if I am wrong.

 

If Malaysian Government had already sent the condolence note to Myanmar, I am sorry for writing this.

 

If Malaysian Government, GLCs (government Linked companies), NST, TV3, NTV7, RTM and NGOs (esp. government affiliated) had already started a campaign to help Myanmar, please accept my  apology for wrongly writing this posting.

 

If you all haven’t done anything, it is shame on you.

 

We don’t want a cent from you Kaisu Malaysia!

 

 

We know that we are not Orang Puteh (Whiteman) , no Arab blood and have no Malay-Indonesian blood. We are ALWAYS discriminated in your country.

 

Never mind if you do not wish to recognize the undocumented workers/migrants and asylum seekers.

 

During the great disaster in Myanmar, I hope if Malaysian government could do the followings to help us without spending a cent.

 

Please announce amnesty on all the Myanmar/Burmese undocumented workers/migrants and asylum seekers including those already in the detention camp. (At least if they could work and earn, they could help their families, relatives and friends.)

 

You could put a time limit for example six months to one year.

It is shameful that you are heartless to continue arresting and some of your agents are harassing them daily.

 

Dr San Oo Aung

 

17 Myanmar Illegal Immigrants Held In Kelantan

BERNAMA, RANTAU PANJANG, May 6 (Bernama) — The Anti- Smuggling Unit (UPP) Tuesday arrested 17 Myanmar nationals without valid travel documents in Kampung Kempas, Machang, as they were being smuggled into the country by a syndicate.

Kelantan UPP commander Mazlan Che Hamid said the Myanmar nationals, aged between 16 and 30 years, had been turned over to the Immigration authorities.

He said the van driver, a Malaysian, stopped the vehicle by the roadside and fled after realising that it was being tailed by UPP personnel at 4.30 am.

The UPP personnel had followed the van from Kampung Kedap here, some 40 km from Machang, he said.

— BERNAMA

DSAI would become PM before this Christmas

DSAI would become PM before this Christmas

Malaysiakini (AFP), “I’ll be PM in three years”, says Anwar

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim today confidently predicted he would be prime minister within three years, sketching out the first rough timetable for his dramatic political comeback.

“I don’t think we have established a definite clear time-frame when I will take over (as prime minister) but it certainly wouldn’t reach three years … much earlier than that,” the former deputy premier told AFP.

“(But) I am not in a rush,” he added.

anwar ibrahim april 14 kg baru event 150408Anwar, heir-apparent to long-time former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad before being sacked and jailed a decade ago, has emerged as a serious threat to the ruling coalition after the opposition’s strong showing in parliamentary polls.

He became free to run for office again last week, when a five-year ban stemming from his corruption conviction expired, and claims he has the support of enough defectors to topple the government.

The Barisan Nasional coalition has ruled Malaysia for more than half-a-century since the former colony gained independence from Britain but has been rocked by its unprecedented electoral setback in March.

The Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance claimed more than a third of parliamentary seats and five states in the polls, putting Mahathir’s successor, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, under heavy pressure.

Anwar, 60, pledged more effective governance and to wipe out corruption and promote racial equality, addressing some of the public’s major concerns.

“Our reform programme will certainly be more secure. We will push for a market economy, judicial independence and equality for all Malaysians,” he said.

Ready to cross-over

Anwar also repeated his claim that lawmakers from Sabah and Sarawak states had indicated interest in defecting from the ruling coalition to the opposition. He spoke to AFP at Kuala Lumpur airport on his way to Sabah.

“Lawmakers in the two states in Borneo island have approached me about switching sides, but so far none has declared their intentions publicly,” he said.

Analysts have backed Anwar’s statement he has enough support to rule, saying turmoil in the ruling coalition could hasten an exodus of lawmakers and propel him to power.

Prime Minister Abdullah is facing growing demands to quit, but has defiantly claimed a mandate to rule and refused to discuss a succession plan.

Anwar had previously been expected to re-enter parliament quickly through a by-election in one of the seats held by his PKR party, but says he is in no hurry to act and will instead focus on building up the opposition.

Some 20,000 supporters attended Anwar’s rally last week. The opposition leader was released in 2004 after spending six years in jail.

-AFP 

UPDATE: Dear readers, I had changed the real heading in the various reports esp the AFP’s THREE YEARS to _DSAI would become PM before this Christmas.

This morning I read the news in Star Online_

Thursday April 24, 2008, by By MUGUNTAN VANAR

Anwar: We have the numbers,

however, we’re in no rush to replace Barisan

KOTA KINABALU: The Opposition coalition of Pakatan Rakyat is in a position to form the federal government and it will be done no later than Malaysia Day which falls on Sept 16, claimed Parti Keadilan Rakyat adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Repeating that they have the numbers and were in no rush to replace Barisan Nasional, the former deputy prime minister said yesterday that it would all be in the timing of the announcement.

“God willing, we will be there.

  • If not next month,
  • the following month,
  • then if not June
  • or July, (it will be) on Merdeka (Aug 31)
  • or Malaysia Day.
  • I think we should not go beyond that,”

he told reporters on arrival in Sabah.

As to when exactly the announcement will be made, Anwar said discussions with the Pakatan parties were needed because Umno and Barisan were known to be rough on those intending to move.

“They are using threats and intimidation. I am for example being monitored more closely now,” said Anwar, adding that he would not be discussing with the Barisan MPs interested to move while he was in Sabah and Sarawak.

He said he has his way of discussing with Barisan MPs who have given their commitment to team up with Pakatan.

“My discussions could be done in Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong although it might sound like a joke,” added Anwar, who thanked the Barisan MPs for their commitment to cross over. He said Pakatan was ready to take in political parties from Barisan if they subscribed to the Opposition coalition agenda for the country.

On Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman’s claim that all state leaders were loyal to Barisan, Anwar said: “He (Musa) must know that he does not have all the members he claims to hold now. If he wants to know, I can meet him privately and tell him.”

He said Sabah and Sarawak MPs were keeping the Barisan afloat but were saddened that they were not given due recognition by Umno, which was dictating terms from Kuala Lumpur.

Anwar said he was not making offers of any monetary kind or of personal positions for anyone crossing over as claimed by Barisan but was here to assure PKR’s commitment to Sabahans in addressing issues ranging from higher royalty to problems of illegal immigrants.

Anwar later spoke to a gathering at a ceramah held at the Hongkod Koissan cultural hall here and is scheduled to fly to Sarawak today.

 

Selfishness leads to search and hit the softspots

 Selfishness leads to search and hit the softspots

“Think of national interests”, Suaram told by

unjust leader from the Justice Party

On the protest voiced by Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) on the Selangor-levy plan, he said local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like Suaram must place priority on national interests and not champion universal human rights and attack the state government for looking after its residents in their own homeland.

Yes, do not champion universal human rights but just look at your party’s name.

Do you stupidly still think that  your party is established for justice to DSAI alone? BUT not for the UNIVERSAL JUSTICE?

Dear DSAI and Datin Seri Dr Wan Aziza, please give an intensive course on Democracy, Human Rights, Justice, Rule of Law, UN Human Right Decleration on this shortsighted person.

If not this MB is morbidly suffering from Myopic astigmatism, a condition in which his eye is affected with myopia (Shortsightedness) in one meridian only: that is on foreigners.

He will later start an anti-Foreigner campaigns_

Now he said foreigners took the work of locals and buy the houses.

Soon he will propose to shut down the Kelang Port to stop exporting goods and petroleum so that Malaysian citizens could enjoy the surplus, unsold, exports. Sure, commodity prices would go down because of unsold, un-exported goods.

Soon he would stop all foreign tourists from entering Selangor to reduce traffic congestion and to give more hotel rooms available to local tourists. Hotel room rates would go down up to the level affordable to all the Malaysian citizens.

Soon he would stop all foreign direct investment to give more opportunity to the locals.

Selfish politicians like him would never think globally.

Selfish politicians usually use national interests as a smokeshield to disguise their cruel deeds.

Selfish and weak politicians always try to exploit or hit the soft spots. Khalid dare not exploit on Malaysian old pendatangs so he is looking the blood of fresh pendatangs.

(Sorry Malaysian Chinese and Malaysian Indians for using this insulting words. I myself was labled like that in my own country and here we all are treated unfairly and unjustly as 10th. Grade foreigners amongst fresh pendatangs)

Selfish politicians always use the (Ultra) Nationalistic sentiments to incite or exploit against Foreigners.

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim should be controlled by DSAI and Datin Seri Dr Wan Aziza.

Justice Party (I hope Justice for all and not for selected races and citizens only) leader, new Chief Minister Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said foreign workers living and working in Selangor enjoyed all the state’s infrastructure, like good schools, health facilities and roads and the state was just calling for them contribute something in return.

I sensed a déjà vu phenomena while reading Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s words_

Former PM Tun Mahathier had also reported to utter these words as a lame excuse when he imposed increased medical fees for the foreigners.

  • Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim  is ignorant that legal foreign workers’ children are not allowed at all in any government schools!
  • Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim  is ignorant that the government had built 3000 schools only for the illegal immigrants from Indonesia. (According to NST front page news and photograph of a school)

Even PR holders are denied the good faculties in Public or Government Universities nowadays.

  • Local students are subsidized using part of our levies and income-taxes.
  • Even in the expensive private universities, locals are supported using the foreigners’ levies and income-taxes.
  • Adding salt to that do you know that we need to pay  more then locals? And one idiot is asking to charge more on foreigners in the local universities. Is this the Justice?

Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim should open his eyes and fight for that injustices and then I am sure the foreign workers would be willing to pay even hundred times more than he proposed.

He is ignorant that Government health facilities always charge THREE TIMES first clast fees to the foreigners while keeping them in the Third Class.

  • He should fight to charge same rate as locals at hospitals if he wish to charge again in his state.
  • He came from Justice party: after charging those levies (when the locals earning the same salary are usually exempted from paying income-tax because of low earning.)
  • Afterall those foreign workers are working for your country, your countrymen’s companies that your citizens owned at least 30% and for your citizens. Where is “Justice” if the workers your citizens employed are forced to pay extra charges or sometimes denied medical treatment?

Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim  should be banned from claiming that he is from Justice Party if he continue to deny justice for all.

Using state Roads?

  • Foreigners also pay income-tax or levies.

  • Even if they use the taxis or busses, they paid the fees that is inclusive of all the Road Tax, Import Duty, Sales Tax, AP Fees, Tool fees etc.
  • If the Foreigners buy cars are they exempted from above?

So don’t give lame excuses Tun and Tan Seri, this is your country and State. If you want to discriminate on poor foreign workers, just do whatever you like. But don’t give those lame silly excuses. Just Hit the Soft Spots!” It is safer than exploiting the same citizens.

By the way, your “zero tolerance on squatters” is also targetting the poor. 

Please read the following news_

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim in the Star Online news 

BANTING: Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) should take a more national approach to foreign worker issues and not attack the state government, says Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.

Khalid said the state government’s proposal to collect RM9 monthly from all migrant workers in the state was aimed at setting up a fund to help provide re-training for local unemployed youths so they could land better jobs.

He said foreign workers living and working in Selangor enjoyed all the state’s infrastructure, like good schools, health facilities and roads and the state was just calling for them contribute something in return.

Well done: Khalid, you have darken your party and opposition.

“Suaram feels that bringing in foreign workers is one of the solutions to human rights problems but they should understand we have to help our own people, too.

“This is a democracy, so we can open up and discuss the matter,” he told reporters after officiating at the closing ceremony of the training for local authorities’ enforcement officers at the Selangor Enforcement Training Centre (Pulapes) in Jugra here yesterday.

On Monday, Suaram executive director Yap Swee Seng hit out at the state government’s proposal, calling it unjust as foreign workers received low wages and were often exploited by employers or recruitment agencies with non-payment, unjust deduction of salary, long working hours and unfair dismissals.

He added that migrant workers were barely surviving and probably in debt after paying exorbitant fees to come to work in Malaysia.

Khalid meanwhile said the RM4,000 in levy and agency charges migrant workers paid was too large a sum, and the state planned to call on the Federal Government to reduce the amount.

He also proposed that a centralised information system be set up to keep an accurate record of foreign workers in the state.

“I was among the people involved in the corporatisation of the system for foreign workers and I can show ways to keep tabs on even the illegal workers,” he said.

Khalid also said the Federal Government should not cast aside suggestions just because they came from opposition parties and should accept the good

“We want to show the federal government how to keep records on illegal workers (Have you use illegals in your old palmoil company?) by having the state levy. I will set up a centralised information system to keep correct records on those who come and work in the state,” he said.

Abdul Khalid said the RM3,000 to RM4,000 charged by migrant worker agencies was high and that for the Selangor government this was not reasonable.

(Then you have heart to extort extra RM 9.00, that will definitely pass onto the poor workers.)

(Have your old company pay the levies for your workers.  Afterall Tun said that levies were meant to made the employers expensive to hire foreigners but Tun and all of you close your eyes and look other way round when the poor foreign workers have to pay those money.)

If you are man enough demand part of the levies to be paid to state governments from the immigration or MOF.

He said millions of ringgit were paid by foreign workers to recruiting agencies that brought them to the country and the Malaysian government collected a levy but eventually the agents concerned did not know where the workers were and this “flood of foreign workers” created problems for society.

Although migrant workers, especially the illegal ones, were eventually repatriated by the government, the problem did not seem to end as they returned to the country and the ones who benefited were the travel agents and migrant workers recruitment agencies, Abdul Khalid said.
 

See this great Malaysiakini news,

  1. Permas: New MB’s statements ‘chilling’ by Soon Li Tsin 

The community residents’ association of Selangor and Federal Territory (Permas) is disappointed with Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim’s decision to continue with the ‘zero squatters’ policy.   

Opposition leader Wan Azizah unveils bold agenda

The nation’s first female parliamentary opposition leader, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, today unveiled an ambitious agenda to boost economic growth and fight corruption.

Access to equal opportunities

Strengthening race relations

Withdraw Monthly Fee

on Migrant Workers

Wednesday, 26 March 2008 
Suaram is deeply disturbed with the plan of the Selangor state government to collect RM10 monthly fee from all migrant workers in the state of Selangor. The new policy was announced by the Chief Minister of the newly formed Selangor state government, Khalid Ibrahim recently during a press interview with Chinese press.

According to the Chief Minister, the money collected will be used for the purpose of setting up a re-training fund for unemployed youths. It aims to equip them with more skills and in a long run reduce the reliance on migrant workers. 

The migrant workers community is

  • one of the most exploited
  • and most marginalized groups in the society.
  • They work in conditions described as 3-Ds – dirty, demeaning and dangerous,
  • and theirs are jobs which the locals shun off.
  • They receive low wages
  • and are often exploited by employers
  • or recruitment agencies for non-payment,
  • unjust deduction of salary,
  • long working hours,
  • unfair dismissal etc.

By taxing the migrant workers

  • who are barely surviving
  • and probably in debt in order to pay the exorbitant fees to come to work in Malaysia ,
  • an extra heavy burden is added on the migrant workers and their families.

And to use the money collected from the migrant workers to re-train local unemployed youth and eventually replace the migrant workers, is scandalous, to say the least.

Even if the monthly fee is to be paid by the employer and not the migrant workers, we are concerned that eventually this fee will be deducted from the migrant worker’s wages one way or another.

The new policy reflects how unsensitized Malaysian political parties,

  • be they in the opposition

  • or the government,

are to the plight of migrant workers.

The Parti Rakyat Keadilan (PKR) has espoused the principle of justice and won a huge victory with the pledge to the people to fight against the widening income gap between the “have” and the “have-nots”.

Certainly, taxing the poor migrant workers to assist local unemployed youth, do not measure up to the principle and spirit of justice.

Suaram calls on Chief Minister Khalid Ibrahim to immediately withdraw this unjust policy. We also urge the Chief Minister to consult civil society organizations who are working on migrant workers issues before making any policy decisions in the future.

Yap Swee Seng
Executive Director

 

 

March 27 Myanmar Military day message

  March 27 Myanmar Military day message

Modified and edited the original letter, Arrogance? Never again”, by Tanya  in the Malaysiakini .

I have edited and adapted to the Myanmar context from the original article. I hope that Tanya and Malaysiakini could understand and forgive us for this. They should even be proud that they could contribute a very good article for the fellow Myanmar/Burmese citizens.

The absolute power of the successive ruling Tatmadaw Junta Generals corrupted them absolutely and their hubris led to their downfall.

The military dictators ravaged Myanmar/Burma for over 46 years, taking away our right to free speech, instilling fear, corrupting the country to the core, and depriving us of the wealth of this country by allowing it as largesse for his cronies. The ruling top senior general’s arrogance filtered down to the `little Napoleon generals’ who outdid him in his arrogance in implementing his will.

One of the greatest crime of the Sr General Than Shwe was the crime of ‘commission by omission’. He also let his greedy family enrich themselves at the country’s expense. However, I still do think he is a cut above the diabolical council of Tatmadaw’s crooks.

Cronies sat down and wagged their tails, happy that they got the crumbs from the table.

Dear Senior General, with all the wealth that you have now, and after all these years of your so-called “service to your people and country”, did you manage to buy peace of mind and dignity in your old age?

General Ne Win was the kind of shameless and under-handed leader we have had for over twenty years. He and his band of brigand cabinet ministers rode roughshod over the people, especially the non-Burmese, very often with barely concealed contempt for them, and most often with open contempt. His was the legacy that was continued during the days of the Than Shwe.

I call on all Myanmar/Burmese citizens from today to never, never, ever again tolerate the kind of arrogance we have been subjected to all these years at the hands of these fellows who have been mistakenly thinking they are our lords and masters. From today we will reclaim our birthright, which includes the right to liberty, freedom of expression and equality before the law. And we will remind the despicable autocrats that they have been put in their positions to serve and deliver, as our servants. They will listen when we speak our minds.

Tatmadaw Yebaws or military rank and file have been made pawns in the game played by these heartless; morally bankrupt generals, solely for the purpose of enriching and empowering themselves.

I am saying this from the bottom of my heart: if the Tatmadaw wants to be a strong and respected force that counts on the global stage, if they want their progeny to be a generation of winners, then they don’t need such generals. All they need is to believe in themselves, claim their pride and dignity, and compete on a level playing field with the civilians. I sincerely believe they can do this. Just go for it.

Most crucial at this juncture is that the delicate balance of racial and religious harmony is maintained. Without that everything else will be futile.

The Myanmar Tatmadaw will go all out to turn the Bamas against the other races. They must never succeed in this. Let us not be deceived by the Tatmadaw generals’ lies and start to distrust each other. If we work for the common good, we can ensure that all of us, will prosper. Isn’t that what we all want?

I would like to exhort all Tatmadaw rank and files not to let these evil generals poison your minds against the other minority races and minority religious persons.

If we let those generals win at their game we will all become abject losers. Above all, let us all have generous hearts. Let us not believe in the adage ‘beggar thy neighbour’. On the contrary let us believe in ‘prosper thy neighbour’. Together we will prevail.

Note: Rank and file (Idiom) =

  • Followers,
  • the general membership.

This expression comes from the military, where_

  • a rank denotes soldiers standing side by side in a row,
  • and file refers to soldiers standing behind one another.

The first recorded figurative use of this term was in 1860. 

e.g. This new senator really appeals to the rank and file in the labor unions.

 

Pope provokes Muslim anger by baptising controversial journalist

Pope provokes Muslim anger

by baptising controversial journalist

Excerpts and my remarks put into Times Online

 

Magdi Allam, who converted to Catholicism from Islam, is baptised by Pope Benedict XV
Magdi Allam is baptised by Pope Benedict XVI

Richard Owen of The Times, in Rome 

Pope Benedict XVI has risked (more appropriate to use provoked) a renewed rift with the Muslim world by baptising a converted Muslim born journalist who describes Islam as intrinsically violent and characterised by “hate and intolerance” rather than “love and respect for others”.

In a surprise move at the Easter vigil at St Peter’s on Saturday night, the Pope baptised Magdi Allam, 55, an outspoken Egyptian-born critic of Islamic extremism and supporter of Israel.

Mr Allam’s conversion was kept secret until less than an hour before the service. He took the middle name “Christian” for his baptism.

After the baptism, the Pope said that faith “is a force for peace and reconciliation in the world: distances between people are overcome, in the Lord we have become close (in Christianity).”

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However the move revived memories of the Muslim fury which greeted Pope Benedict’s speech at Regensburg University in German in 2006 in which he branded Islam as inherently violent, inhumane and irrational by quoting a Byzantine emperor.

However, in a combative article for Corriere della Sera, the Italian paper of which he is a deputy editor, Mr Allam – who has lived in Italy most of his adult life and has a Catholic wife . . . .

Mr Allam, who was educated at a Salesian Catholic school in Egypt and was one of seven adults baptised during the Easter vigil, which is traditionally used for adult conversion ceremonies.

He said that by baptising him publicly the Pope had “sent an explicit and revolutionary message to a Church that until now has been too cautious in the conversion of Muslims because of the fear of being unable to protect the converted, who are condemned to death for apostasy”.

Muslim groups in Italy said Mr Allam would have done better to have undergone a low key conversion at a local parish. “What amazes me is the high profile the Vatican has given this conversion,” said Yaha Sergio Yahe Pallavicini, deputy head of the Italian Islamic Religious Community.

Today, Pope Benedict celebrated Easter Mass on St Peter’s Square, calling for an end to “(MUTUAL) injustice, (MUTUAL) hatred and (MUTUAL) violence.”

The Pope called for “solutions that will safeguard peace and the common good in Tibet, the Middle East and African regions such as Darfur and Somalia.

He deplored “the many wounds (including you, Pope, had inflicted now on Muslims) that continue to disfigure humanity in our own day. These are the scourges of humanity, open and festering in every corner of the planet, (at St Peter’s on Saturday night) , although they are often ignored and sometimes deliberately concealed; wounds (including this that Pope himself had inflicted) that torture the souls and bodies of countless of our brothers and sisters“.

He called for “an active commitment to justice (from your Christian point of view) in areas bloodied by conflict and wherever the dignity of the human person (dignity of Islam not included) continues to be scorned and trampled”.

Last week, the Pope broke his silence on Tibet, calling for for an end to violence and urging “dialogue and tolerance.” But Beijing brushed off the appeal, declaring there was “no tolerance for criminals, who will be punished by the law.” Neither the Easter message nor the Good Friday meditations specifically mentioned China, a reflection of the Vatican’s desire not to upset its dialogue with Beijing over the fate of the country’s Catholics.

 

Gambari diplomatically hiding his failure

 Gambari diplomatically hiding his failure

Note: The heading is my own idea. But the following newspaper’s facts and idea are not contrary to my heading. 

From what he has said and from what the military junta expressed to him during his third visit, United Nations Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari is unlikely to have achieved anything toward national reconciliation and democracy in military run Burma.

The Nation, Published on March 13, 2008

Gambari finished his latest visit to the troubled country on Monday, making a brief stopover in Singapore – but without meeting any officials of the current Asean chair, or the media. The reaction after the visit was different from his usual routine following his previous trips. For Burma affairs, nothing is top secret for the UN representative, unless he has nothing to say or nothing has been achieved.

Gambari met many people during his stay in Burma from last Thursday to Monday, including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whom he met twice this time, on Sunday and Monday. However, the details of their discussion are not yet known. Previously, Gambari rushed to tell the media whenever he got a statement from Aung San Suu Kyi that she was ready to talk with the junta over political reconciliation. The UN envoy then shuttled around the globe to tell the same thing to world leaders whom he expected to help him bring about a dialogue between Burma and those in Bangkok, Beijing and New Delhi.

This time Gambari got a very tough assignment from his boss, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, to achieve a substantive dialogue between the junta and the opposition. Actually the authorities in the Burmese capital, Napyidaw were originally scheduled to welcome Gambari in April, but the secretary-general made a request to have his special envoy visit early.

Gambari was allowed in, with permission for an extended stay, but the visit lasted only five days, as many of his requests for meetings were rejected.

Prior to Gambari’s visit, UN chief Ban sent a letter in February to the paramount Burmese leader, Than Shwe requesting a five-point cooperation deal to help his special envoy achieve his mission. The junta later decided to dump all UN requests and even burnt them in public, allowing only the government mouthpiece, the New Light of Myanmar, to publicise the substance of the meeting between the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) spokesman Kyaw Hsan and Gambari over the weekend. Kyaw Hsan told Gambari that the Burmese government would arrange for UN visitors at any time as proposed, but the establishment of a special office in Rangoon for Gambari was unnecessary since the UN already had many representatives in the country through whom Gambari could work.

The second point, which Gambari championed before his visit, was to have inclusive participation in Burmese politics. But this was also dismissed by the junta. Kyaw Hsan said the new Burmese constitution had already been drafted and would not be amended any further. The draft bars those who are married to foreigners from participating in politics. More precisely, it prevents Aung San Suu Kyi from having any hope of being elected as the next Burmese leader.

“It was Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy who decided not to participate in the constitution drafting. There cannot be any more ‘all-inclusiveness’ in this process,” Kyaw Hsan told Gambari.

On the third point, Ban asked to have a credible, timeframe and all-inclusive discussion between the junta and Aung San Suu Kyi, including support by the UN.

Kyaw Hsan simply replied that the National Convention – the constitution drafting body – is the most credible and all-inclusive political discussion forum.

Now, discussions between the Minister for Information and Aung San Suu Kyi are under way in accordance with UN wishes. Than Shwe even could meet the opposition leader if Suu Kyi agrees to drop her demands for the continuance and extension of international sanctions against the junta. But as long as Aung San Suu Kyi maintains this stance, the dialogue cannot be productive, Kyaw Hsan said.

On the demands for the release of political prisoners, the junta simply said that it has no political prisoners, but that those who are serving jail terms or are under other restrictions, including Aung San Suu Kyi, have violated the laws.

The final UN point, a request to have an inclusive National Economic Forum for addressing economic and social affairs, and a cooperative mechanism for humanitarian assistance, was simply rejected as being “useless”, Kyaw San said.

“If Your Excellency helps to lift economic sanctions, allow aid into the country, and approve loans, it might be more effective than the Economic Forum you propose. Giving assistance for poverty reduction while imposing sanctions will never produce the right solution,” he said.

Kyaw Hsan also pointed out to Gambari that democracy developed in accordance with different contexts in different countries. He compared his constitution-making process with neighbouring Thailand.

“Now, the Thai people have approved and started to practice a new constitution for Thailand. But none of the candidates of the People Power Party and the opposition Democrat Party had the right to participate in the [drafting] process. To make it clearer, in Iraq, Shi’ite militants who oppose the US, and Sunni militants who have links with al-Qaeda had no right to participate in the process of drafting a constitution. Similarly, in Afghanistan, the Taleban had no right to draft the constitution. We haven’t heard any objection to these events by those persons and organisations who are objecting to us. But with the drafting of the constitution in our country, many are criticising us and pointing out that certain persons are not among the representatives in the process. It is not reasonable,” he said.

Gambari has no argument, as the UN has nothing to bargain with. He simply said he would convey the message to his boss, whom he would meet in Senegal this week.

Supalak Ganjanakhundee

The Nation

Read United Nations Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari ‘s report here.

Persistence and patience

don’t pay in Burma

The Nation: Regional neighbours need to exert more pressure on the junta to achieve political reconciliation

When dealing with the Burmese junta, concerned parties, especially the UN and its special envoy, Ibrahim Gambari, must be prepared for long and often futile negotiations and continual setbacks. Since 1988, those who have engaged Burma have had their faces slapped by the generals. Indeed, Gambari was snubbed again by the junta just a week ago. This has increasingly become the typical pattern of engagement with Burma. If anything, there is also a realisation that the junta is calling the shots and nothing can progress without its agreement. This is the saddest development since last September, when violence broke out on the streets of Rangoon and other cities. The whole world witnessed more atrocities committed by Burmese troops, who gunned down monks and other peaceful protestors. The international community led by the Western countries suddenly became more vociferous. The UN Security Council managed to talk a lot but there was no solution to the situation. Since then, Gambari has visited Burma three times but without any substantial progress being made. The junta leaders know the game plan very well. They know how to manipulate both Gambari and the good offices of the UN.

Recently, the junta surprised the world with its announcement that there would be a national referendum on the new constitution in May, followed by a general election in 2010. But the electoral law bars any possible participation by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. With such a “roadmap”, the junta’s supporters have extra ammunition to further bolster the regime. Already, China and Asean have expressed support for this roadmap. Thailand is the most enthusiastic. Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej went out of his way last week to accommodate the regime, without knowing the full implications for Thailand.

Without Thai support, the political reconciliation process in Burma will continue to stall – and thus work in favour of the junta. During the Surayud government, relations between the two countries were frozen. There were no new activities in the political or economic fields. However, with the formation of a new Thai government, the friendship has returned to normal. Severed economic links have been restored and Thailand is again willing to play second fiddle to Burma. With such an attitude, Thailand’s role in the Burmese crisis is turning into a travesty. Samak praised the regime after his visit to Rangoon. His comments revealed Thailand’s naivete and its leader’s foul mouth. Foreign Minister Noppadon Patama was no better. He said the situation in Burma is an internal matter and that Thailand does not support sanctions.

Apparently, the UN is the only hope. But the treatment of Gambari during his last visit was unwarranted. While the UN is still the best hope to help end the impasse, it lacks teeth. One of the problems is that UNSC members are not acting together. Both Russia and China support the Burmese junta. Their positive contributions to the six-party peace talks have yet to be seen. The UNSC must now bridge the gap and come together with a unified view that the Burmese situation is a threat to regional peace and security. 

It is interesting to note that all Thai leaders, including former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and the current premier, are willing to make trade-offs with the Burmese generals. Given the current stalemate, there should be new initiatives to bolster the UN position. Within Asean, countries like Indonesia and Vietnam could do more. At one time, Indonesia under Suharto was considered an ideal model by the Burmese regime. But democratisation since 1998 has made Indonesia less attractive to the generals. Vietnam’s engagement with the West, and its successful economic development in the past two decades, has attracted the junta’s attention. Together with the UN, these countries could make a new impression on the junta. During the height of the Cambodian conflict in the 1980s, Indonesia helped break the deadlock, which subsequently led to the Paris peace talks. Maybe with a right combination of actors exerting pressure, things could move ahead in Burma.  

The Nation