Burma, in pictures.

October 15, 2007


Burma: Aftermath  <–LINK

TIME has a new photo essay, the topic is Burma. As usual the photographs are stunning and the topic is timely. To give you the speed version of the events, here is what Wiki had to say:

Mass public demonstrations reappeared on August 18, 2007, when the government raised the price of gas and diesel oil by 500% in order to cover a budget deficit that resulted from a salary hike for civil servants.

The August 2007 demonstrations were led by well-known dissidents, such as Min Ko Naing and others. The military quickly cracked down and still has not allowed the International Red Cross to visit Min Ko Naing and others who are reportedly in Insein Prison after being severely tortured.

Following the August protests, the monks of Burma, coordinated by an underground organization, stepped into the foreground and added new life to the movement.

On 19 September 2007, several hundred (possibly 2000 or more) monks staged a protest march in the city of Sittwe.[33] Larger protests in Rangoon and elsewhere ensued over the following days. Security became increasingly heavy handed, resulting in a number of deaths and injuries.[34] By 28 September, internet access had been cut[35] and journalists reputedly warned not to report on protests.[36] Internet access was restored by at least midnight of 5 October, Burmese time.[citation needed] Sources in Burma[attribution needed] said on 6 October that the internet seems to be working from 22:00 to 05:00 local time.

Various global corporations have been criticized for profiting from the dictatorship by financing Burma’s military junta.[37]

World governments remain divided on how to deal with the military junta, countries calling for further sanctions include United Kingdom, USA and France, but neighbouring countries including China claim that sanctions will not help solve the issue.[38]

On October 13 2007, the military junta of Myanmar made its people march in a government rally. Junta officials also approached local factories and demanded they provide 50 workers, and if they didn’t they would be fined.[39]

Have you been a bad Catholic today?

September 24, 2007

Have you been a bad Catholic today? I think even the best of us make mistakes or do things we know are wrong because they are easy. I don’t believe in perfect people, because if you were perfect you wouldn’t be a person. I came across an article that supports my views. The article shows that even a pope can be a bad Catholic occasionally. I wouldn’t normally present to you a story concerning religion in any way other than defending religious freedom, but a Time Magazine article really struck me.

Some of you may know that I am an apathetic Catholic at best. I disagree with huge portions of the religion, I think the organization of the church is shady and oft corrupt, and I only go to church on holidays and to keep the family happy. But I also believe no one really has the knowledge to disprove or disparage any religion. I also think organized religion is a good path to teaching children about morality and distinguishing right from wrong. And I believe the Catholic Church does a lot of good for the world through the massive amount of Catholic charity. I believe in science, in reason, in justice, and in the potential goodness of mankind. I am not willing to say I don’t believe in God, but I am not willing to say I do either at this point in my life. Everyone has to get right with themselves on the issues of spirituality, faith, morality, and religion. To each their own.

The controversial article provides an argument that the late Pope John Paul the Second was euthanized. The suggestion is that the pontiff refused a feeding tube that would have prolonged his life. The problem is if this is true that would violate Catholic principles. Why I find this interesting is that the pope is infallible in the Catholic faith. Now that does not mean a pope is not capable of committing or responsible for sin. What it means is that he can declare things as a matter of doctrine to be correct or incorrect. So the pope’s opinion can be used to set precedent for the doctrine that governs the billion or so Catholics in the world. If it is true, does that mean euthanasia is acceptable?

I think individuals have to make the call for themselves, but for me I believe people who are going to die, particularly in slow or painful ways, should be entitled to terminate their own lives. I wonder where everyone else falls on this issue, particularly the candidates. I am sure I could look up their official views, but I want to know what they would do if it was someone in their own family.