Thursday, May 15, 2008

adding insult to injury

As you probably have heard, there were two major natural disasters in Southeast Asia this week: the massive earthquake in China and the massive cyclone in Myanmar. While China's oppressive government has won praise for its handling of the earthquake--immediately sending thousands of aid workers, tons of equipment, and the Premier himself to the epicenter (apparantly learning from George W. Bush's mistakes)--Burma's military junta has not. Perhaps one can understand their reluctance to allow U.S. military aircraft to drop things over their country, but the world is hard pressed to understand junta's prevention of NGOs from being able to distribute their own aid as they see fit. But now comes the icing on the proverbial cake.
Myanmar announced Thursday that a constitution won massive support in a referendum -- a claim slammed by a leading rights group as an insult to the country's people.

The document, which critics say will cement nearly four decades of military rule, was approved by 92.4 percent of the 22 million eligible voters last Saturday, said Aung Toe, head of the Referendum Holding Committee on state radio. He put voter turnout at more than 99 percent.
While the junta is content to have hundreds of thousands of people to die needlessly because of their paranoia, they hold a sham election (reporters saw military "officials telling voters outside polling places, 'Don't forget to put the tick, the right mark,'" on their ballots....and "[v]oting officials also would sometimes pull aside the curtains protecting the privacy of the voting booths.") to justify their iron grip on the country. And while we are at it, let's look at the particulars of this "popularly enacted" constitution.
The constitution would bar Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, the detained leader of the country's pro-democracy movement, from public office. The military refused to honor the results of the 1990 general election won by her National League for Democracy party.
These people really have no sense of shame whatsoever. And obviously they aren't Buddists, because Karma really is a b!tch.

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