Burma’s Bloody Gems

March 11, 2008 at 7:08 am | Posted in Burma, China, deforestation, democracy, forest, hardwood, India's double standards, Indian foreign policy, individual freedom, individual rights, injustice, junta, MNC, MNC nexus, MNCs, Myanmar, tree | Leave a comment
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Quoting from the Christian Science Monitor : “The government’s Myanmar Gem Enterprise – Burma’s third largest export company after the state-run oil and timber companies – has said gem sales have increased by 45 percent every year for the past three. The gem auctions, held once or twice a year since 1964, are becoming more frequent. All told, the official trade in Burma’s gems, according HRW, was valued at $297 million in fiscal year 2006-2007, but is estimated to actually be much higher when factoring in unofficial sales.”
The triumphant announcement of the growing success of the Rangon gem auctions comes after our morally bankrupt “world leaders” called for a boycott on Myanmarese gems. Most of the mines are government owned, with large shares going to individual memebers of the military Junta. The mines supply a world hungry for jade, rubies, diamonds, cat’s- eyes, emeralds, topaz, pearls, sapphires, coral, and yellow garnet. A further horror is that in typical fashion, all the mines have been confiscated from local communities and these same communities are now ’employed’ there as forced labor – mostly women and children.
Interestingly, gem exploitation ranks only third in Burma’s export earnings. Oil and TIMBER take the lead (no boycott has been called against Burmese timber or oil!). In all three spheres, China studiously ignores all calls for international boycotts and is closely followed (though much more obliquely) by India. While some of the world’s gem trading MNC giants have officially supported the ban, many are also busy exploiting ‘the letter of the law’ and hiding the origins of their gemstones by rerouting the raw Burmese gems to other countries such as India and Sri Lanka in order to muddy the original source. In India, gem traders gleefully line their pockets with the bloody spoils of value addition as they polish and facet the gems to be exported as India’s own (it’s a Rs. 800 billion industry with India processing between 75 and 80% of the world’s gem stones).What a shame that the world’s largest democracy and a supposed champion of human rights would quietly allow their traders to deal with a monster state that makes its money by bleeding a fellow democracy to death.
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Women and Men – Complementing Equality

May 8, 2007 at 12:07 pm | Posted in casteism, discrimination, equality, false doctrine, gender equality, gospel, injustice, kingdom of God, mere christianity, New Creation, racism, sexism | 8 Comments

As a Christian, that is, as one who seeks to follow Jesus, I am deeply saddened that injustice and inequality are being actively perpetrated by “the church” against women.

Now, there are segments of Christianity that have moved away from such discrimination, but large parts of the church, most notably the ‘conservative evangelical’ segment of the church can claim to actually be defending the bible by promoting discrimination against women!

I do not wish to go into why such controversies still exist except to say that it seems to have something to do with a wrong understanding of the bible, the misuse of power, an attempt to protect the authority of male dominated institutions, and a real fear that ‘giving in’ on this issue will be to let liberalism ‘win’. In fact the so called “slippery slope” seems to be where all meaningful discussion is guilotined by these so called conservatives. In actual fact, a truly conservative reading of the New Testament and even of Genesis will show that any type of male domination is sin. It is a sure sign of the falleness of humankind. The gospel of Jesus shines particularly hard and bright on all such darkness however carefully we have treasured it in the nether corners of our hearts.

It’s time to put this foolishness away. It is time to recognise the gifts that God has given to all humans and to allow each human to achieve her/his fullest potential – in true partnership and the building up of one another.

There are terrible systemic injustices; poverty, racial discrimination, casteism, war, genocide and so many evils that are perpetuated most obviously by our alienation from God. So, let’s not blame God for what injustice and evil we do to each other, let us not allow culture to dictate what true justice is. Rather let us join together to celebrate the reality of our New Creation in God!

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