Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Oil and oppression in Burma

Our economic system-- the global economic system -- is founded upon the assumption that cheap, easily accessible oil and natural gas (the creme de la creme of fossil fuels) will always be available. But the fact is that these resources, like all natural resources, are finite. They can be used up. Experts say that the world has passed the peak of available petroleum stored on our planet. At the same time, new U.S. style economies are coming online; India and China are two examples. These and other expanding economies are demanding their share of available supplies.

Third world countries like Burma have always been victims when bigger economies, until recently these were Western economies, go after the natural resources they need. Oil (energy) companies have always cooperated with despotic leaders to gain access to the oil riches of "undeveloped" countries. The situation is Burma is no different.

Despite the pro-democracy rhetoric of leaders in Western nations, virtually nothing has been done by these nations to require Western-style multi-national corporations to observe this priority in their dealings with the governments of resource rich but income poor nations.

In fact, these corporations turn their eyes away from human rights violations in these countries. In some cases, they actually benefit from the practices of oppressive governments. Oil is why the U.S. is in Iraq. As the scramble progresses to secure energy security in a situation where global supplies are dwindling, one wonders how this will effect the human rights of people in Burma and throughout the world.

The following video is the first of many posted on YouTube under the title Burma's Secret War. It was posted to YouTube on November 21, 2006, almost a year before the monks' non-violent protest and the its violent suppression by Burma's military government.