Friday, November 23, 2007

Yes, in Myanmar, Big Brother Is Watching

Journal: Big Brother in Burma | Newsweek International | Newsweek.com By Lennox Samuels | Newsweek Web Exclusive | Nov 21, 2007 | Updated: 2:49 p.m. ET Nov 21, 2007 "In a land of government lunacy, residents need official permission to use the phone and to travel across town. An on-scene journal from beleaguered Burma.

The ramshackle taxis that clog downtown Rangoon look ready for the scrap heap. No American auto dealer would offer more than a few hundred dollars for any of these aging and shabby cars, but here, in this impoverished nation, the drivers have paid up to $20,000 for the privilege of ownership. The reason: ordinary Burmese say they are not allowed to import or buy new cars. That's the prerogative of diplomats, foreign-company employees, the fortunate rich and, of course, the military regime."


I have commented before on the "fun" happening in Myanmar But this is just insane. Broken down rust bucket cars cost $20,000. "Internal visas" costing $10 just to cross the street. Cell phone SIM's for $1,500, if you're patient enough to wait the few years it takes to get it. Or you can shell out $2,500 on the black market. This is even worse than North Korea.

I wish that all those people descrying the US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan could spend a few weeks in Myanmar or North Korea. While I may feel that the methods and stratagems used in the current UN military aren't the best they could be, it is imperative that the world keep this kind of totalitarianism as contained as possible.

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