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Posted by on Jun 29, 2007 in At TMV | 13 comments

Burmese Brutality

The International Committee of the Red Cross, which on principle and almost without exception remains politically neutral (the genocide in Rwanda was the notable exception), has “denounced what it says are major human rights abuses by Burma’s military government,” according the BBC. Specifically, the Red Cross “highlights repeated abuse of men, women and children in communities along Burma’s border with Thailand, including murder, violence, and the destruction of food supplies”.

(Whereas the Red Cross usually remains neutral, organizations like Doctors Without Borders, founded by Bernard Kouchner, the great French politician and diplomat, are more aggressive in their explicit opposition to the regimes that engage in human rights abuses. For more on this, read Paul Berman’s Power and the Idealists; or, the Passion of Joschka Fischer and Its Aftermath, a brilliant examination of the Generation of ’68 and the transition of many of the key figures of that generation, like Koucher and Fischer, from militant radicalism to liberal anti-totalitarianism (and interventionism, as in Kosovo and, for some, Iraq).)

For more on Burma as an “Orwellian state,” see here. For more on Burma’s ruling military junta, see here. And see also the excellent discussion of Burmese politics, culture, and economics in Amy Chua’s World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability, a fascinating and provocative book that, in my view, strikes just the right balance between the ideological extremes of laissez-faire neoliberalism and the class-oriented anti-globalization movement.

For now, however, the Red Cross deserves our praise for speaking out against the ongoing tyranny in Burma.