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.

Good for you, Jimmy Carter!

October 4, 2007 at 5:43 am | Posted in Borneo, Darfur, DR Congo, Egypt, Guantanamo, H.A. Carr, human rights, Iraq, Jimmy Carter, Kosovo, MNC nexus, MNCs, Myanmar, N.Korea, Palestine, Papua, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, World Bank rapes forest, Zimbabwe | 2 Comments

Something about this article on Jimmy Carter taking on a hostile bunch of cops in the Sudan [title link] reminded me powerfully of my dad (H.A. Carr). When he got the bit between his teeth he was going to get wherever he had determined to go, and no one, nothing, was going to stop him.

Where questions of human rights, and more basically human lives, are concerned it’s about time we stopped letting the democracies, juntas, and dictatorships give us the royal runaround.

We all need a bit of the Jimmy Carter spirit to start getting things done.

Myanmar, Darfur, Egypt, Palestine, Uzbekistan, DR Congo, Iraq, Zimbabwe, Guantanamo, Kosovo, North Korea, Saudi Arabia (and much of the M.E.) , and then the almost complete blind spots like Indonesia’s Papua and Borneo…

Places like DR Congo, Myanmar, and the Indonesian islands, are kept under wraps quite actively by the MNCs that quietly operate there. We have posted about the timber mafias before and this recent TIME article shows how the MNCs, backed solidly by their hypocritical countries of origin, have gone so far as to subvert critically important international aid organizations like the Wold Bank to help them to quietly do their dirty work.

The World Bank is actually governed by government representatives, so without the involvement of the various governments…

It isn’t just a matter of quietly making money with a bit of biosphere rape thrown in. The MNCs-govt. nexus always results in human rights abuses. The countries involved will also end up being permanently crippled by the corruption and unequal distribution of wealth and power that the MNCs have encouraged.

Such then is the hidden nexus in today’s world, where supposedly democratic and freedom-oriented, nations are actually actively subverting the world’s poor (and raping their hapless environments) through their corporations and just for a bit of quick ‘filthy lucre’!

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