Readers write about aid discrimination in Burma, President Bush's Mideast trip, and Jimmy Carter's Hamas talks.
All minority groups in Burma experience persecution
Regarding the May 14 article, "Is Burma's aid delay discriminatory?": The Burmese junta discriminates against all its people and treats Buddhists with the same contempt as Karens. News organizations, movies, etc., portray the situation in Burma as oppressive of Christians and Muslims. This is far from the truth. Check out ethnic groups' websites and learn about the abuse that is directed against all groups, not just the Karen.
Indeed, this kind of thought, that only the Christians are targeted, creates misconceptions that can fuel discrimination. Read human rights reports that show how all people in Burma are affected by a dictatorship.
Regarding the recent article on aid discrimination in Myanmar: As soon as I heard that aid was slow in getting to the delta region, my reaction was, "The generals are not going to bother rushing aid to the victims. After all, the population is heavy with Karen rice farmers." In addition, holding the referendum at a time when the junta could be sure of removing a million people who are not sympathetic to the government from the vote must be seen by the government as a bonus.
I worked in Burma from 1962-64 on an oil exploration team. My local crew members were almost all Karen, sending money back home "for the cause." The government, in its "Burmese way to Socialism" program, took away a lot of the rice paddies from Karen rice farmers and gave it to landless ethnic Burmese – most of whom didn't have the proper skills to farm rice. That and other ill-advised price-control schemes crippled the rice crop for a long time.
Bush's 'appeasement' remark is ironic