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A rat in a corner…

…is always the most dangerous.

Pondering the recent events in Burma, I have suddenly realised why sometimes it’s better to arrange for some kind of get out route for nasty dictators – rather than letting them fight till the end and get their just rewards.

By all accounts the people in power in Burma are despicable, and deep in their hearts they must know how unpopular they are: though by moving the capital 400 km inland, away from the historic capital, they may have been exteriorising their internal shift to self-delusion.

"The ruling generals say a seven-step roadmap to democracy is moving forward, though they are still at step one. No one knows when the new parliament building could be occupied." Source.

But just put yourself in their shoes: they know that if their enemies take power, they will most likely whack them in jail for corruption, human-rights abuse, etc. – at best – and at worst they will get strung up. Which is what they would do in that situation.

At moments like this, when there are thousands of people brave enough to stand up to the government – when people manage to put aside their individual fear of being hurt, and put their faith in the crowd – the oppressive regime knows that it’s a fight to the finish. Crush them, or they’ll crush you. So, unfortunately, as eye-witnesses recount today – it’s likely to get worse before it gets better. I fear a repeat of the thousands killed in 1988 - it's so despairingly disgusting when you think of it...

What could one do?
• Scare the regime leaders into scarpering. This will only happen at the last possible moment, and it will take a lot to get there.
• Find allies in the regime, and promise them leniency if they go turncoat. This is the most common I think – sometimes it’s as simple as soldiers or police refusing to carry out the dirty work of the regime, and the effects knock on up the ranks. In Burma, it is the army that holds power, so this is less likely – so it is by approaching some major generals that one might get them to switch sides.
• Give the leaders a way out. Tell them – leave now and we’ll not punish you. This has happened often enough, it stinks but often is the best way to avoid a massacre.

In any case: I stand in awe of those people who dare to stand up to the brutal regime and risk torture and death. Let's put our trust in the goodness of humanity, and hope to see peace and dignity restored to the Burmese.


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Vanessa on :

I don't get to read your blog as much s I'd like, but had a look today, thinking you would comment on events in Burma, and also because I saw this this which I though would interest you:

RK Boo on :

At the rate events are escalating, I think it will probably end just like in 1988, unless China steps up its warning and threatens sanctions.

julian on :

Vanessa: thanks for that, I have been collecting a few things with regards to the events now and the use of media there.

Boo: yes it's depressingly possible. And I don't hold out high hopes for China, or any of the other regional partners - such as those in ASEAN - doing much of use. Most of will never want to set a precedent of commenting on others' 'internal affairs', seeing as they know only too well it could be them one day facing massive protests.

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