Ashis Ray

Myanmar’s killing fields and the weakness of the west

(Getty images)

The killing fields of south-east Asia are tragically alive and kicking. Pol Pot, the butcher of Cambodia, may be long cremated. But the military in Myanmar are maintaining his heinous heritage. On Saturday, they indiscriminately gunned down over 100 people, including children. It was the bloodiest sequence in two months of continuous brutality, which has led to the deaths of at least 400 civilians. The demonstrators’ only crime has been to object to the unlawful overthrow of an elected government by the murderous men in uniform. The khaki has tragically trampled over this land of rich natural resources for much of its existence since independence from Britain in 1948.

‘The continuing military crackdown is unacceptable and demands a firm, unified and resolute international response’, the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said. Joe Biden called it ‘absolutely outrageous’. Britain and the European Union joined the chorus of condemnation. But to no avail.

If the massacre on Saturday was not sufficiently barbaric, there are reports that security men opened fire at a funeral for one of the victims a day later. Yet the UN and western world has failed to punish this savage conduct. Myanmar’s northern neighbour and benefactor China is a steadfast ally of the Tatmadaw, as the former’s armed forces are called. Now Russia has cruised in to consolidate ties with Myanmar. 

If the massacre on Saturday was not sufficiently barbaric, there are reports that security men opened fire at a funeral for one of the victims

While trigger-happy troops were mowing down innocents, Armed Forces Day was being celebrated with a parade in Myanmar’s otherwise ghost-like capital Naypyitaw. Seven Asian nations sent military attaches at their embassies to attend. Moscow notably despatched deputy defence minister, Alexander Fomin, to lend his presence. This is expected to translate into Russia fortifying the junta with an increased supply of weaponry.

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