In response to the results of unbridled capitalism, banksters, austerity, exploitation of workers and the unfair distribution of wealth, there is clearly a growing global movement that is shifting towards the left, seeking a fairer, compassionate and responsible world.
The rise of the likes of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn is testament of the zeitgeist which the elites and the traditional media are desperately trying to stop, but failing. They may attempt to misrepresent and disparage these men, but the people are waking and can see beyond these crude smear tactics. The people can see that the world has been unfairly rigged in favour of the few, and they want real change and they want it now.
There will be those who scoff at such notions, holding onto redundant social structures. But, the inevitability and necessity for change will soon become apparent, even to those whose heads remain deeply imbedded in the ground. A much better, healthier world can be created for ALL.
Burma’s opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, is facing mounting criticism about her silence, regarding the Muslim Rohingya, who remain one of the most persecuted communities in the world. In light of the communal strife that started in 2012 and now with world attention focused upon the stranded boat people, some of whom are Rohingya, fleeing from persecution in Burma, she is feeling great pressure, as a symbol of human rights, to speak out about the Rohingya. Unfortunately, this also clashes with her other persona as a politician.
She finds herself in a deeply unenviable position, where she is trapped between how the Burmese see her and how the rest of the world sees her. For non-Burmese, she is (was) a bastion of human rights, so her silence is disappointing. For the Burmese, she is a politician, who they hope will be able to lead them out of decades of military rule towards real democracy. If she shows any sympathies for the plight of the Rohingya, she will instantly lose her base of supporters, because a vast number of Burmese are unwilling to show any compromise regarding the issue of Rohingya citizenship.
If DASSK becomes no longer a viable opposition leader, as a result of speaking out about the Rohingya, there will form a vacuum that no one can at this time fill, resulting in a further strengthening of the regime’s grip. What can she do? Either lose the respect of the international community or lose the respect of the Burmese? It would seem that her priorities remain at home, even if it means tarnishing her global image.
It is deeply regrettable that she finds herself in this position. It appears as if she has been out-maneuvered by the regime and blocked in.
Ideally, in keeping with her global image, it would have been preferable for her to have taken the human rights path, because there are too few such leaders of her status leading in this field, and the world desperately needs such lights. But, alas, idealism has very little currency in a country like Burma, where brutality and repression have dominated for decades.
Recently, a Burmese man informed me that the reason Aung San Suu Kyi has not spoken out about the plight of the Rohingya is because she shares the same opinion as the majority of Burmese. He was as certain of this, as are the human rights activists, who like to believe the opposite is true. In actual fact, none of us are privy to what her real opinion is on the matter. Either way, a lot of people are going to be disappointed, no more so than Aung San Suu Kyi herself.
Never take your freedom for granted. There are so many around the world dying for such privileges. If you should turn your eye for even a second, you may discover that it has been snatched away in a blink.
Be engaged in your world, be vigilant and always fight for the values you believe in strongly. Beneficial change never comes from apathy. Rather, apathy is the poison from which so much bad begins to seed.
Define your freedom and overcome all tyranny which would deny it. Equally, abandon ideologies that enforce tyranny upon others.
The right kind of freedom manifests out of mutual understanding and respect, acts of compassion, the willingness to share and the termination of greed. It is when people’s fundamental human rights are not impinged upon, so that they may live full, secure, happy lives with their families. It is when the voice of those with grievances can speak out without fear. It is in the ability to be able to participate in choosing the direction of a community or country through fair, honest elections. To be able to soar in creative endeavours and utilise fully our talents. To be a part of something that enhances the world positively. It is in knowing that our life means something.
We face uncertain, turbulent times, and everyone must be alert and participate in creating a future that is more just, fair, ecologically sensible and free.
– El-Branden Brazil
Struggle comes from not having the requisites to live well. Human rights are a barrier to hopefully protect people from the need to struggle.
As we all know, there are many expressions of struggle, some of which include extreme violence. If we can remove the struggle of ALL communities, perhaps we can remove the need for violence. This is why a universal application and acceptance of human rights is vital.
Human rights are not a convenience or a luxury for a few, they should be applied universally to all. Unfortunately, there are very big hurdles to be overcome for this ideal to be achieved.
In every country, every community and every ethnic group around the world, there are good and bad people. We have to accept this reality, but try our best to be one of the good people in whatever community we belong. We should be bridge-builders encouraging communication, banishing misunderstandings and encouraging a shared, mutual understanding of what human rights mean for everyone.
Photography by El-Branden Brazil
Currently about 300 people, 68 families live in small bamboo huts on stilts at the rubbish dumpsite of Mae Sot/ Thailand. These refugees who successfully fled the brutal military regime in Burma, with hopes of leading a life free of human rights abuses, are living under dire conditions. They lack working and residency papers, they are illegal immigrants living and working in the middle of stinky dump.
Their spirit of survival is amazing, but their conditions are terribly dismal. They literally live on the garbage and their houses are constructed and built from the recycled material from the garbage dump itself. The basic essentials they need to survive and to live as human beings basically come from the garbage dump and these include food, clothing, toys for their children, pots and utensils for cooking and even the water they drink come from the lake near the dumpsite which is terribly contaminated.
Please help to make a difference and relocate these refugees to a clean and safe area. On a rented property we will build basic infrastructural facilities such as housing, toilets and a water well.
Learn more here about how you can help: www.thebestfriend.org
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