Spanish Pundit (II)

octubre 14, 2007

Burma: tortured to death or till they are in serious condition – Birmania: torturados hasta la muerte o hasta que están graves

Members of the 88 Generation Students and other detainees who have been arrested by authorities are now being tortured in Insein interrogation center and other detention facilities.Some have been tortured to death and others have been hospitalized in serious condition, according to sources.
A source close to authorities in Insein prison told The Irrawaddy on Thursday that many prisoners are tortured and some are now hospitalized in serious condition, including Min Ko Naing, a prominent student leader. The source requested anonymity for his safety.
On August 21, Burmese authorities arrested at least 13 activists of the 88 Generation Students group, including Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Htay Win Aung, Min Zeya, Mya Aye and Kyaw Min Yu, Zeya, Kyaw Kyaw Htwe, Arnt Bwe Kyaw, Panneik Tun, Zaw Zaw Min, Thet Zaw and Nyan Lin Tun, according to the state-run newspaper, The New Light of Myanmar.
The state-run newspaper accused them of “breaking the law guarding against acts undermining the efforts to successfully carry out peaceful transfer of State power and facilitate the proceedings of the National Convention.”

The Irrawaddy News Magazine Online Edition

More actors are arrested:

The popular Burmese film actor Kyaw Thu and his wife Myint Myint Khin Pe were arrested on Tuesday night after the authorities discovered their Rangoon hiding place.

Win Naing, Zarganar and Kyaw Thu offered alms to the monks during last month demonstrations [Photo: The Irrawaddy]

The couple had been in hiding after eluding security forces who cracked down on celebrities who supported monks in their protest demonstrations last month. Earlier reports—not, however, carried by The Irrawaddy—had suggested that Kyaw Thu had managed to escape to Thailand.

[…]”We are Buddhist. All Buddhists have to support this movement,” Kyaw Thu said during the peaceful demonstrations.

Kyaw Thu is a respected human rights activist as well as a very popular actor. He is vice-president of the Free Funeral Services Society, a social welfare organization founded in Rangoon in 2001with the aim of helping people who cannot afford funerals for their family members. It now has chapters throughout the country.

How the monks were treated:

“Due to the lack of food and the extreme highs and lows of temperature, some monks and laypeople felt like they were suffocating. Others simply died.

“The conditions were terrible. We each had no more than a small patch of cell to sit on,” lamented Burmese monk U Sandar Vaya, looking pale and weak and somewhat older than his 33 years.

U Sandar Vaya was arrested along with hundreds of other Buddhist monks at midnight on September 26. The Burmese military authorities had started arresting demonstrators that day, detained them in five locations around Rangoon—the Government Technology Institute (GTI) in Insein, the police quarters in Kyaikkasan, and police detention centers in Hmawbi, Thanlyin and Aung Thapyay, according to those people who were later released. One police official estimates that there would have been at least 1,000 monks and laypeople per detention center.

U Sandar Waya said he was incarcerated with 500 other monks and 200 civilians in one room of the GTI. The authorities gave them each only one bowl of drinking water in the first two days, later increasing the ration to three bowls. The guards didn’t allow the detainees to wash and there was no toilet, only plastic bags for sanitation.

More about the conditions for the imprisoned detainees:

imprisoned 88 Generation members have described being kept in cramped conditions in small rooms, with some standing shoulder to shoulder, unable to lie down. Prisoners have also reported a lack of toilets, clean water and adequate food supplies.

And the cremation of corpses from the repression continues: at least 200 have been burned in secret.
If the BBC was accused several days ago of being destructive to Burma by the Junta, now they are accusing the Western countries of fomenting the protests.
And the UN?? Well, as ever working hard to achieve nothing… well, is it really working at all?? UN Security Council “deplores” the repression in Burma. Wow, how hard… just as hard as the photo of Gambari with the Military Junta. RWB (RSF) agrees that this resolution is not tough at all.
The detentions continue. More detentions even. In fact, some MSM are naming the Junta’s policy as “witch-hunting“. And an special Tribunal has been created for protestors in Thayet prison. Protesting dogs are also hunted for (hmm, yes, DOGS), if they are carrying pictures of Than Shwe and other regime leaders around their necks, because “Associating anybody with a dog is a very serious insult in Burma”. In this case, the insult is for the dog.
Even the operations don’t go well in prisons (who would expect the contrary):

A member of the 88 Generation Students’ Group, Hla Myo Naung, suffered nerve damage during an unsuccessful operation while in detention, according to his colleague Soe Tun.

Hla Myo Naung was arrested on Wednesday morning when he emerged from hiding to be treated in a Rangoon clinic. According to his doctor, he was suffering from a ruptured cornea and required surgery to save his sight.

Soe Tun, also a member of the 88 Generation Students’ Group, told The Irrawaddy, “A policeman informed his wife that Hla Myo Naung had some kind of injury to his nervous system, although we don’t know exactly what happened.”

And now they are forcing villagers to march in favour of the regime.

Hundreds of villagers living on the outskirts of Myanmar’s biggest city, Yangon, marched in support of the country’s military junta Saturday after being threatened with steep fines if they did not, a political activist leader hiding in Yangon told CNN by phone.
Nilar Thein — a key leader in the Myanmar-based group ‘88 Generation — said residents of Shwe Pyi Thar village carried pro-regime placards after junta officials on Friday demanded at least one person from each household march in the government’s rally. Junta officials also approached local factories and demanded they provide 50 workers.

Reconciliation is far away, but it’s the only path to peace in the country. And to a peaceful transition. The opposition wants to speak with the Junta but the Junta has rejected any kind of negotiation.
By the way, italian Jeweller Bulgari joins international boycott to Burmese jewels. Something that honors the firm.
China has already joined UN censorship of the Burmese Junta. It’s more publicity than anything. They are beginning to worry about a massive boycott to 2008 Olypmic Games.
And India continues with its business in Burma:

IN THE MIDST of the social turmoil in Myanmar, which saw a repressive military killing and making arbitrary arrests, India pulled off a coup of sorts to finalise the agreement for the $ 103 million Kaladan Multi-Modal Transport Project, which had hit a major bottleneck.

Even as Myanmar bled, India went ahead unabashedly to finalise the agreement, which envisages developing the Sittwe port in Arakan state in the neighbouring country. By its own admission India has been driven by its own interest to acquire a transit route to southeast Asian countries through Myanmar.

India and North Korea continue to sell weapons to Burma. And China, Russia and Ukraine too.
But don’t give up too easily on the Burmese “Saffron revolution“. Simple reasonings are not useful and in most cases, are not just nor truthful nor accurate:

Such arguments recall the pessimism about the Soviet bloc. Even after the wave of east European revolutions had begun in 1989, I remember watching an academic explain on British television how Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania would survive because he had forged a nation and ruled it with a rod of iron. The next day he was dead.

As I have said, we don’t know what the future will bring, it can be worse, but it can also be better. Let’s hope we are in the right path -though that “right path” is not usually the easy nor comfortable nor simple path to take”.

No, no me he olvidado de Birmania. De hecho, quería primero linkar este post sobre la historia de Birmania de Cruzcampo, para que comprendamos un poco mejor lo que pasa ahora.La represión sigue siendo temible. Pero ahora ya no hay medios ni siquiera fotos sobre la misma.
Como ya escribí aquí mismo, varios opositores han muerto durante los interrogatorios y otros han tenido que ser hospitalizados por estar muy graves. Las torturas, como también he escrito aquí, son atroces. Y la acusación una vergüenza: han sido acusados de “quebrantar la ley que prohíbe los actos que vayan en contra de los esfuerzos para garantizar una pacífica transferencia del poder del Estado y facilitar los procedimientos de una convención estatl”.
El opositor Hla Myo Naung, del que ya hablé aquí que había ido a ser tratado de una ruptura de córnea, ha sido operado en la cárcel y tiene daños en los nervios, porque la operación “salió mal”.
Ni siquiera los actores se salvan. Si hace unos días conocíamos la detención de -entre otros actores- Zanganar, un actor cómico muy famoso en Birmania (se le apoda el Charlie Chaplin birmano) ante la desesperación de su mujer que denuncia que está mal de salud y que ni siquiera sabe a dónde se lo han llevado, ahora hemos conocido que Kyaw Thu y su mujer han sido apresados. Se habían escondido desde que se reunieron para repartir agua y comida a los monjes, acto en el que también estuvo Zanganar, a pesar de que sabían que esto significaba su arresto. Kyaw Thu es un reconocido actor pero también un famoso activista de derechos humanos y desempeña el puesto de vice-presidente de una fundación que paga los funerales a personas que no tienen recursos.
Los monjes que han sido detenidos y han sido después puestos en libertad, han comenzado a hablar. “Las condiciones eran terribles. No teníamos más que un pequeño trozo de celda para sentarnos”, se lamento el monje birmano U Sandar Vaya, con la cara pálida y aparentando ser más viejo de los 33 años que tiene. Pero otros han tenido peor suerte. Como consecuencia de la falta de comida y las subidas y bajadas de temperatura, algunos monjes y personas legas pensaron que se sofocarían. Otros simplemente murieron.
Más detalles sobre las condiciones en las que los tienen detenidos:

Miembros en prisión de la Generación del 88 han descrito estar en condiciones horribles en pequeñas habitaciones, donde tienen que estar hombro con hombro, sin poder tumbarse. Los prisioneros también han descrito una falta de wáteres, agua limpia y comidas adecuadas.

También continúa la cremación de los cadáveres: al menos 200 han sido quemados en secreto, por lo que serán muchos más.
Si la BBC fue acusada hace unos días de ser “destructiva para Birmania”, ahora la Junta acusa a los países occidentales de fomentar las protestas.
Y la ONU? Eehh, bueno, trabajando duro por ser muyyyyyy blanda: Consejo de Seguridad de ONU deplora represión en Myanmar. Tan, tan dura es como lo que se puede observar en la foto de la izquierda: Ghambari, enviado de la ONU, posa con la Junta militar, como ya escribí aquí. Reporteros sin Fronteras es de la misma opinión que yo sobre lo blannnnnnnnnnndo el comunicado con la Junta.
Las detenciones también continúan. Y aún más detenciones. De hecho se habla de una “caza de brujas“. Y se ha creado un tribunal especial para los que se manifestaron en la prisión de Thayet.
La policía persigue a los perros que lleven una foto de Than Swe y otros mandatarios de la Junta colgadas del cuello, porque asociar a alguien con un perro es un serio insulto en Birmania. En este caso, el insulto es para el perro por asociarle con estos asesinos. Por cierto, ¿para cuándo van a denunciar los defensores de los animales el maltrato de estos perros? Porque considerando lo que les hacen a los humanos, hay que pensar que tienen un futuro negro…
Y ahora están
obligando a los residentes en Yangún a manifestarse en favor del régimen.
Ahora China se une a los que censuran a la Junta, pero eso -creo personalmente- que es más porque temen un boicot masivo a los Juegos Olímpicos del año que viene que porque realmente hayan cambiado de idea… Y, por supuesto, es más una cuestión de publicidad que un cambio en la idea o en la consideración de la Junta birmana.
India, sin embargo, cerró un negocio de 103 millones de dólares mientras se producía la represión. El proyecto, llamado de “transporte multi-modal de Kaladan”, permitirá a la India adquirir una ruta de tránsito a través de Birmania por los países del Sudeste asiático. El Gobierno indio confesó que perseguía su propio interés en el proyecto.
India y Corea del Norte, junto con China, Rusia y Ucrania, continúan vendiendo armas al régimen birmano. Para ellos es un cliente más.
La reconciliación se ve lejos, pero será el único camino para alcanzar la paz en el país. Y una transición pacífica. Así, aunque la oposición SÍ quiere entrar en negociaciones con el Gobierno, la Junta militar ya ha dicho que NONES.
Por cierto, Bulgari va a boicotear las piedras preciosas que vengan de Birmania. Un gesto que les honra.
Pero no dejemos que el pesimismo nos invada. Como decía el Financial Times, los razonamientos simples no sirven porque no responden a la verdad ni son ajustados a la realidad:

Estos argumentos me recuerdan el pesimismo con que se trataba al bloque soviético. Incluso después de la ola de revoluciones del Este de Europa que comenzó en 1989, me acuerdo de ver a un académico explicar en la TV británica cómo Ceaucescu de Rumanía sobreviviría porque había hecho al pais y lo gobernaba con mano de hierro. El día siguiente estaba muerto.

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