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[liberationtech] Satellite phones for Rohingya in Burma

Gregory Foster gfoster at entersection.org
Sun Mar 17 13:07:33 PDT 2013


I've been learning about the recent history of Burma through a 
collection of Aung San Suu Kyi's writings and speeches.  A quotation 
from her essay "In Quest of Democracy" written before her house arrest 
in 1989:

> Revolutions generally reflect the irresistible impulse for necessary 
> changes which have been held back by official policies or retarded by 
> social apathy.  The institutions and practices of democracy provide 
> ways and means by which such changes could be effected without 
> recourse to violence.  But change is anathema to authoritarianism, 
> which will tolerate no deviation from rigid policies.  Democracy 
> acknowledges the right to differ as well as the duty to settle 
> differences peacefully.  Authoritarian governments see criticism of 
> their actions and doctrines as a challenge to combat.  Opposition is 
> equated with 'confrontation', which is interpreted as violent 
> conflict.  Regimented minds cannot grasp the concept of confrontation 
> as an open exchange of major differences with a view to settlement 
> through genuine dialogue.  The insecurity of power based on coercion 
> translates into a need to crush all dissent. Within the framework of 
> liberal democracy, protest and dissent can exist in healthy 
> counterpart with orthodoxy and conservatism, contained by a general 
> recognition of the need to balance respect for individual rights with 
> respect for law and order.
>
> The words 'law and order' have so frequently been misused as an excuse 
> for oppression that the very phrase has become suspect in countries 
> which have known authoritarian rule.  Some years ago, a prominent 
> Burmese author wrote an article on the notion of law and order as 
> expressed by the official term /nyein-wut-pi-pyar/.  One by one he 
> analysed the words, which literally mean 
> 'silent-crouched-crushed-flattened', and concluded that the whole made 
> for an undesirable state of affairs, one which militated against the 
> emergence of an articulate, energetic, progressive citizenry.  There 
> is no intrinsic virtue to law and order unless 'law' is equated with 
> justice and 'order' with the discipline of a people satisfied that 
> justice has been done.  Law as an instrument of state oppression is a 
> familiar feature of totalitarianism. Without a properly elected 
> legislature and an independent judiciary to ensure due process, the 
> authorities can enforce as 'law' arbitrary decrees that are in fact 
> flagrant negations of all acceptable norms of justice.  There can be 
> no security for citizens in a state where new 'laws' can be made and 
> old ones changed to suit the convenience of the powers that be.  The 
> iniquity of such practices is traditionally recognized by the precept 
> that existing laws should not be set aside at will.  The Buddhist 
> concept of law is based on /dhamma/, righteousness or virtue, not on 
> the power to impose harsh and inflexible rules on a defenceless 
> people.  The true measure of the justice of a system is the amount of 
> protection it guarantees to the weakest.


gf


On 3/17/13 2:29 PM, Jacob Appelbaum wrote:
> Dear Heather,
>
> ttscanada:
>> Hi all,
>>
>> For those that aren't aware, 800,000 Rohingya people in Burma are being
>> cut off from communication as the military and government try to drive
>> them out of the country. Over 100,000 are being starved to death in
>> concentration camps, the rest are driven into boats which neighbouring
>> countries are refusing to allow to land. There have been two large scale
>> massacres as well, one in June, one in October. Our contacts have been
>> saying for weeks there is another massacre planned for the end of March,
>> but even if there weren't, they are living in houses made of straw and
>> plastic bags with no food or medical aid and the rains are coming. This
>> is a full scale genocide supported by the current Burma/Myanmar
>> government. Media and aid groups are blocked and the people are jailed
>> just for having a TV, they have no phones.
>>
> I'm well aware and having just been in Burma, I'm sad to say that most
> people in the world are unaware; those in Burma that know seem afraid to
> speak out.
>
>> More information, check out over 100 pages of links here
>> http://topsy.com/s/georgiebc+Rohingya?window=a the #Rohingya tag on
>> Twitter or google.
>>
>> We have a way to hopefully get some journalists in to document war
>> crimes. We need satellite phones for the Rohingya people as well, as
>> many as possible, donated would be great. If anyone has any ideas for a
>> good phone source it would be appreciated.
> Please be very careful - the communications systems in Burma are all
> highly monitored and heavily controlled. During my recent trip to Burma,
> I was part of a team that worked on a report about the communications
> systems in county. Please feel free to pass it on to people:
>
>   http://www.opentechfund.org/article/access-and-openness-myanmar-2012
>
> Satellite phones are extremely privacy invasive (interception, location
> tracking, etc) and short of the Cryptophone Satellite phone (
> http://www.cryptophone.de/en/products/satellite/ ) used in a very
> specific way, I wouldn't even touch one of those devices if I thought
> that the Burmese military was possibly targeting me.
>
> All the best,
> Jacob

-- 
Gregory Foster || gfoster at entersection.org
@gregoryfoster <> http://entersection.com/




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