Saturday, September 29, 2007

Killed on Camera

As some of you may have heard, there is an increasing tide of repression in Burma (also known as Myanmar) due to protests by monks and other citizens due to rising fuel prices. Soldiers have hit the streets and are shooting and killing these unarmed protesters. One particularly brutal event occurred the other day, as a Japanese photographer was shot dead in cold blood, and on camera. I wonder what goes through the minds of the soldiers who are doing these things. Is the feeling of power so great, with that gun in their hands, that they can just shoot unarmed people?

I've always been untrusting of military and law enforcement, even our own, for that very reason. You just see and hear too many of these kinds of incidents. When you train these guys, give them weapons, etc., you're giving them an extreme amount of power, one that's very easy to overstep and abuse. On top of that, they're trained from the get-go to follow the orders of their superiors. When a superior, like a military dictator of a country like Burma, is telling them to beat and even shoot at innocent protesters, they're taught not to question or to follow their conscience, assuming that they have one.

But there is actually something you can do, and it isn't some impotent event like a candlelight vigil. As Michael from Brighton, England comments after the article:

Since the Burmese regime exists purely on the say-so of China, if you don't like what's happening in Burma, boycott Chinese-made goods and write to the manufacturers' parent companies (Nikon, Canon, Sony et al) and tell them what you're doing and why. People are dying and the least we can do to stop it is forgo a new DVD player.

Nothing has an impact to influence the decisions of those in power like withholding your money. Yeah, I know Chinese goods are everywhere and impossible to forego, but bear with me. There are other countries like Taiwan and Thailand who make cheap crap but aren't supporting the ruthless dictatorship of Burma. So buy a cheap DVD player from them, instead of China.

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