Burma VJ

burmavjI didn’t learn anything I didn’t already know by watching Burma VJ (which can be viewed on YouTube). But witnessing, even second-hand, the police brutality of a repressive military dictatorship regime is eye opening – and heart wrenching too, of course. The Burmese people are aching to be free.

I was rather distressing to learn that a Canadian mining conglomarate Ivanhoe Mines, is, according to Canadian Friends of Burma,

in a 50/50 joint venture with Burma’s ruling junta [and] operates the biggest foreign mining venture in Burma.

It appears our former Prime Minister, Jean Chretien, was appointed only just last month as “senior international adviser to the company”.  I hope his advice is beneficial to the Burmese people.

Thay and Thurman on Burma

Thich Nhat Hahn speaks on the Burma uprising (and also the war in Iraq) in this Time Video

Listen to the interview by Michael Enright (14MB in mp3 format) on the October 7th edition of the CBC radio show The Sunday Edition, with his guests Professor Robert Thurman and Sister Elaine MacInnes.

I believe there is a minor error in that interview, where Professor Thurman asserts that Burmese monks are monks for life. I believe this is not true. My understanding is that monastic vows in Theravada countries are often taken for short periods of time.

Total Denial

The Business section of the Globe on Oct. 6th also reports on the unwillingness of multinationals to cease operations in Burma.

There is a documentary film called “Total Denial” about the successful legal battle in US courts that some Burmese residents in the jungle undertook against the oil multi-nationals Total and Unocal. It won the 2006 Vaclav Havel Special Award For Human Rights

On October 6th, the Globe and Mail’s Geoffrey York discusses the tacit support for the Burmese military regime by neighbouring Thailand, China and India.