Saturday, October 06, 2007

Burma Not Over

Though the protests have been violently suppressed, the oppression in Burma continues. Goons from Rangoon have been hunting people down in their homes and hauling them away. Four of the protest leaders are still at large. Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest longer than Galileo. Despite the dire situation within Burma, Saturday saw large protests in cities from Melbourne to Paris. Sixty people of diverse backgrounds signed the following:


We, the undersigned Nobel Laureates, are outraged by the
human rights situation in Myanmar. Expressing our solidarity
with the Burmese people, we denounce the oppressive rule of
the junta government. Moreover, we condemn the ongoing
violent repression of the Buddhist monks and other protesters,
whose peaceful demonstrations against the government have
resulted in hundreds of arrests, severe injuries and deaths.

We urge the international community, particularly China,
Russia and India who have influence in Myanmar, to use it on
the Burmese government to secure basic democratic freedoms
and to ensure the protection of human rights. In addition, we
echo the appeals for the release of our colleague, Nobel
Laureate for Peace, Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi, who has led the
Burmese people’s non-violent struggle for democracy, and
who has, as a result, been held under house arrest for much of
the past 18 years.

Alexei Abrikosov
Nobel Prize, Physics (2003)

Peter Agre
Nobel Prize, Chemistry (2003)

George A. Akerlof
Nobel Prize, Economics (2001)

Baruj Benacerraf
Nobel Prize, Medicine (1980)

Sydney Brenner
Nobel Prize, Medicine (2002)

Arvid Carlsson
Nobel Prize, Medicine (2000)

Thomas R. Cech
Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1989)

Aaron Ciechanover
Nobel Prize, Chemistry (2004)

J. M. Coetzee
Nobel Prize, Literature (2003)

Claude Cohen-Tannoudji
Nobel Prize, Physics (1997)

Elias James Corey
Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1990)

Paul J. Crutzen
Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1995)

Robert F. Curl Jr.
Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1996)

Christian de Duve
Nobel Prize, Medicine (1974)

Frederik W. de Klerk
Nobel Prize, Peace (1993)

Johann Deisenhofer
Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1988)

Peter C. Doherty
Nobel Prize, Medicine (1996)

Robert F. Engle III
Nobel Prize, Economics (2003)

Richard R. Ernst
Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1991)

John B. Fenn
Nobel Prize, Chemistry (2002)

Val L. Fitch
Nobel Prize, Physics (1980)

Jerome I. Friedman
Nobel Prize, Physics (1990)

Donald A. Glaser
Nobel Prize, Physics (1960)

Sheldon Glashow
Nobel Prize, Physics (1979)

Clive W.J. Granger
Nobel Prize, Economics (2003)

David J. Gross
Nobel Prize, Physics (2004)

Roger Guillemin
Nobel Prize, Medicine (1977)

John L. Hall
Nobel Prize, Physics (2005)

Dudley R. Herschbach
Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1986)

Avram Hershko
Nobel Prize, Chemistry (2004)

Roald Hoffman
Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1981)

Brian D. Josephson
Nobel Prize, Physics (1973)

Daniel Kahneman
Nobel Prize, Economics (2002)

Eric R. Kandel
Nobel Prize, Medicine (2000)

Walter Kohn
Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1998)

Roger D. Kornberg
Nobel Prize, Chemistry (2006)

Harold W. Kroto
Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1996)

Finn E. Kydland
Nobel Prize, Economics (2004)

Leon M. Lederman
Nobel Prize, Physics (1988)

Yuan T. Lee
Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1986)

Jean-Marie Lehn
Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1987)

Wangari Maathai
Nobel Prize, Peace (2004)

Rudolph A. Marcus
Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1992)

Craig C. Mello
Nobel Prize, Medicine (2006)

Robert A. Mundell
Nobel Prize, Economics (1999)

Erwin Neher
Nobel Prize, Medicine (1991)

Marshall W. Nirenberg
Nobel Prize, Medicine (1968)

Douglass C. North
Nobel Prize, Economics (1993)

Paul Nurse
Nobel Prize, Medicine (2001)

William D. Phillips
Nobel Prize, Physics (1997)

Harold Pinter
Nobel Prize, Literature (2005)

John C. Polanyi
Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1986)

Norman F. Ramsey
Nobel Prize, Physics (1989)

Richard J. Roberts
Nobel Prize, Medicine (1993)

Jens C. Skou
Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1997)

Steven Chu
Nobel Prize, Physics (1997)

John E. Sulston
Nobel Prize, Medicine (2002)

Joseph H. Taylor Jr.
Nobel Prize, Physics (1993)

Klaus von Klitzing
Nobel Prize, Physics (1985)

Elie Wiesel
Nobel Prize, Peace (1986)

Torsten N. Wiesel
Nobel Prize, Medicine (1981)

Frank Wilczek
Nobel Prize, Physics (2004)

Williams, Betty
Nobel Prize, Peace (1976)


Blogger nige said...

"We urge the international community, particularly China, Russia and India who have influence in Myanmar, to use it on the Burmese government to secure basic democratic freedoms and to ensure the protection of human rights."

Influence doesn't usually extend very far when telling a dictatorial regime how to deal with internal protests. China's response ("the situation is an internal issue for Burma"), tells you the problem. These countries don't really want to act. If they have any useful economic or other relations with Burma, they want to strengthen them not weaken them, and a sure way to weaken them is to tell the Burmese dictators what to do. The Burmese dictators will see domestic security as a No. 1 problem anyway and will be unlikely to take notice of advice from outsiders, even trading partners, until they have finished dealing with the situation (when it may be too late).

I hope this statement against oppression and injustice does do some good and at least gives some hope to those in Burma under arrest (if they get to hear about it), but I won't hold my breath while waiting for positive results.

It's weird that no political expert really has worked out a standard cure for military dictatorships, killings and suppression of civil liberty of this kind.

Should the international community automatically enforce economic sanctions against such regimes?

The problem is always that the UN votes or whatever get caught up in the situation that the major trading partners of such regimes are on the side of taking no action. They say it isn't anybody else's business to say how a given country should be run.

So you can't get economic sanctions. It's no good for Washington or London to denounce such countries which have no need to pay attention to Washington or London. Even if the West did have some influence, as was the case when economic sanctions were carried out against Iraq, the people who suffered as a result of the sanctions against the dictatorial regime weren't the dictators, but just innocent kids and old people who couldn't get vital medicines or foods.

8:48 AM  
Blogger tristan said...

AMEN Louise
Amnesty International is working hard on this Burma/Myanmar mess. I participate with, and support them, as much as I can. I commend your use of valuable space in your blog to increase awareness of this tragedy.

9:06 AM  
Blogger QUASAR9 said...

Hi Louise,
You'd think the era of military dictatorships would be over by now

But some 'closed' countries still look at the military might of the US, and think therefore that a strong Military is the solution to any problems, and as in any military regime of old whether the Junta in the old Argentina or the Ba'ath Party in old Iraq, some people are doing very well out of the status quo.

Still it would be nice to think that democracy could be bought to Burma without 'military' intervention. I hope some people don't feel that that is another country where the US should have a military base, that could be a little too threatening for China and the stick that finally broke the Camel's back.

Mind you I wouldn't put it past some people, that since North Korea is no longer the threat to freedom or world freedom peace (as some claimed over the last few years), maybe Burma could be used to force the confrontation with China, which some clearly still view as good for 'business'

If anything this is a 'golden opportunity' for peaceful internal protest (witb ouvert international political & diplomatic support) to overthrow a military dictatorship/regime and introduce democracy in Burma, without bloodshed.

This is not simple idealism or unrealizable altruism, it is the goal. It should be the goal - how to bring forth change without war, not even civil war.

1:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Louise,

thank you for speaking up on this issue, which I am guilt of having neglected so far. The list of signatures is impressive. I hope nige is wrong, but it is hard to be optimistic on such issues nowadays.


11:44 AM  

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