Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Except For Villar, The Other So-Called Presidentiables For The 2010 Philippine Presidential Election Seem Hooked Up With Opportunism..
VILLAR IS THE ONLY CREDIBLE PRESIDENTIABLE IN THE PHILIPPINES TODAY. HE HAS THE CREDIBILITY TO SUCCEED ARROYO'S PRESIDENCY COME 2010. I'LL CITE SOME EXAMPLES:
LOREN LEGARDA IS SO ASSOCIATED WITH ABS-CBN MEDIA CORPORATION. IF SHE WINS, IT WOULD SEEM THAT THE LOPEZ FAMILY WOULD BE IN ACTUAL CONTROL OF MALACAÑANG PALACE.
CHIZ ESCUDERO IS SO PRO-ERAP. NOTHING IS WRONG WITH THAT, EXCEPT THAT HE MAY TAKE ORDERS FROM ERAP IF HE WINS THE RACE.
JAMBY MADRIGAL BELONGS TO THE ONE OF THE RICHEST FAMILIES IN THE PHILIPPINES. IF SHE WINS, MALACAÑANG WOULD BE RUN BY ELITIST ELEMENTS WITH THE MASSES HAVING LITTLE VOICE IN THE GOVERNMENT.
NOLI DE CASTRO IS ANOTHER ABS-CBN MAN. HIS VICTORY MAY MEAN THE VICTORY OF THE LOPEZ CLAN INSIDE THE MALACAÑANG PALACE. BESIDES, HE IS LIKE A PUPPET OF GLORIA ARROYO..... HE MIGHT END UP AS A DUMMY PREZ OF PRO-ARROYO ELEMENTS IF HE WINS THE RACE.
BINAY IS ANOTHER LOCAL LEADER WHO DOESN'T HAVE ENOUGH EXPERIENCE ON NATIONAL GOVERNANCE.....
BAYANI FERNANDO? TOO DICTATORIAL! JUST LIKE WHAT I'VE SAID ON BINAY.
ED PANLILIO? IS HE SERIOUS? HE SHOULD JUST FINISH HIS TERM AS GOVERNOR OF PAMPANGA..... HE DOESN'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT NATIONAL GOVERNANCE. HE WOULD JUST SIT IN AS A NUISANCE PRESIENTIABLE IN 2010, HAHAHA! ED PANLILIO CAN NOT SERVE TWO MASTERS! HE SHUOLD HEED THE CALL OF THE CBCP REGARDING HIS PRESIDENTIAL AMBITION.
VILLAR IS THE BEST MAN FOR THE 2010 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN THE PHILIPPINES.
VILLAR IS LIKE BARACK OBAMA OF THE PHILIPPINES!
VILLAR IS GOING TO BE THE NEXT PHILIPPINE CHIEF EXECUTIVE! AMEN.
This is my humble tribute to Mrs. Cory Aquino. She will surely be missed by the Filipino nation. But her contributions to Philippine democracy would continue to inspire us Filipinos to move forward in protecting our civil and human rights and achieve national progress. Cory Aquino is a true democracy icon of the Philippines and of the whole globe. Thanks to Cory Aquino's unique heroism and courage.
ON THE LATE CORY AQUINO AS A PATRON SAINT OF DEMOCRACY IN THE PHILIPPINES
Former Philippine President Cory Aquino passed away on Aug. 1, 2009 at 3:18 a.m. (Manila time). Cory Aquino has inspired the whole world with her dedication to the non-violent or peaceful means of struggling for democracy and human rights. Cory Aquino is truly a great icon of democracy! The 1986 People Power Revolution in the Philippines, which Mrs. Aquino has helped to bring about, inspired and mobilized other nations and peoples of this globe to achieve democracy through non-violent means. The impact of such a peaceful revolution reached Eastern Europe in the late 1980s. In fact, the peaceful pro-democracy revolutions that took place in Eastern Europe and the then U.S.S.R. were led by leaders who had been inspired by the 1986 People Power Revolution. Mrs. Cory Aquino also inspired other peaceful pro-democracy revolutions that took place in many parts of the globe during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Mrs. Aquino has been one of the most prayerful leaders that the world has seen. Her administration survived seven coup attempts and several other destabilization attempts form extremist fascist elements in the Philippines. Though more of a social conservative than a liberal, Mrs. Aquino nevertheless brought several new liberal trends to the political governance of the Philippines. Her administration produced a constitution that promised the protection of civil and human rights, popular democracy, judicial reforms, people empowerment and the guaranteeing freedom of expression. The current stability of the democratic institutions in the Philippines was a by-product of Cory Aquino's presidency. Cory Aquino is really an icon of democracy in the Philippines and in the whole globe.
Though just a plain housewife before the 1983 assassination of her husband- Ninoy Aquino, she proved to the world that her political activism from 1983 onwards would make a huge impact to the Philippines and to all the nations of this planet. She lived a lifetime that has been marked by true faith in the LORD GOD, humanitarian endeavors, active church membership, loyalty to the peaceful means of struggling for social reforms, and dedication as a guiding mother to both her family and nation. I would dare to say that Cory Aquino is a patron saint of democracy in the Philippines.
I was only in my teens when I took part in the peaceful "People Power Revolution" here in the Philippines. During the 1990s I've supported the peaceful and legal campaigns to democratize Burma,Cambodia and Eastern Europe. From 1993 to 1997 I wrote letters to the editors of Time, Newsweek and other international magazines about advocating "global democracy". I also got involved in a movement calling for the resignation of then Pres. Estrada from office after he got connected to a 'graft-and-corruption scandal' in year 2000. I did those things because I've been inspired by Mrs. Cory Aquino. I really see her as an icon of democracy.
I know that Mrs. Cory Aquino would continue to inspire the Filipino people in defending civil and human rights, democracy and constitutional processes from certain quarters within the Philippines that seemingly still want to have an authoritarian regime. Cory Aquino is a shining inspiration to the peaceful and lawful struggles to enshrine human rights and democracy in the whole globe. I know that she is now residing in the Heavenly Kingdom of our LORD GOD. The LORD GOD blesses her. Mrs. Cory Aquino can now be called as the Patron Saint of Democracy in the Philippines. Amen.
Saturday, July 04, 2009
July 5, 2009
By BERTIL LINTNER From today's Wall Street Journal Asia.
There is little hope for a release of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi when United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visits the country tomorrow. So far, the ruling military junta has ignored all calls by the international community for a negotiated solution to the country's political problems. Mr. Ban's visit will follow eight previous visits by U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari -- all of which failed to achieve anything but a few cosmetic changes and publicity stunts. Once the dust has settled, it has always been business as usual. The fundamental flaw in the U.N.'s approach to Burma is that it fails to take into account how transitions from authoritarianism to more pluralistic societies have occurred in Asia. At a U.N. press briefing June 29, a spokesman said Mr. Ban plans to focus on three issues during his visit to Burma: the resumption of dialogue between the junta and the opposition, a process of "national reconciliation," and the creation of "a condition conducive to credible elections in 2010." However, it would be difficult to "resume" a dialogue that has never begun. The junta has never mentioned "national reconciliation" in its announcements to the people of Burma -- only "national reconsolidation," code for perpetuating military rule without the participation of the opposition. The belief that the leader of the junta, Gen. Than Shwe, and Ms. Suu Kyi would sit down and discuss the country's future is outright naïve. History has shown authoritarian regimes never negotiate away their hold on power. They crumble when someone inside the establishment refuses to carry out certain orders. Some observers liken Burma to South Africa, where negotiations did lead to democratization, but this comparison is misleading. South Africa had white minority rule over a black and colored majority. It was not a military dictatorship even remotely comparable with Burma's political structure. A better comparison for future political scenarios in Burma might be found in the Philippines or in Indonesia. Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos fell in early 1986 when then-defense minister, Juan Ponce Enrile, and Fidel Ramos, then head of the Philippine Constabulary, refused to obey orders to suppress massive demonstrations in Manila and elsewhere. They sided with the opposition -- and Marcos had to flee the country. Similarly in Indonesia in May 1998, troops refused to storm the parliamentary buildings in Jakarta that had been occupied by pro-democracy students and other activists. At first, heavily armed troops surrounded the complex -- and then they left. The chain of events in Indonesia are more obscure than in the Philippines, but the withdrawal of troops from the parliament marked the beginning of the end of the rule of the old dictator, Suharto. A transitional period followed which eventually led to the establishment of functioning democracy in Indonesia. South Korea's democratic transition was also catalyzed by defectors from inside the government. In 1979 the country's powerful intelligence chief Kim Jae-gyu assassinated then President Park Chung-hee, for which Kim was in turn executed in 1980. The South Korea government spent several years trying to suppress the country's pro-democracy movement, culminating with a massacre in the city of Gwangju in May of 1980. But in the end South Korea became a thriving democracy -- and the assassination of the authoritarian Park marked the beginning of the end of the old regime. In Taiwan, democracy came after years of antigovernment street demonstrations throughout the 1980s. The final transition to democracy was comparatively smooth. But Taiwan is unique: It has to survive in the shadow of China, and being a democracy is a strong card it needs to play in international diplomacy. The only Asian country where authoritarianism has been replaced by democracy through dialogue and elections is the Maldives -- but this is a special case. In October 2008, President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom lost the election and handed power to Mohammed Nasheed, a pro-democracy activist and former political prisoner. But even that transition came after violent protests in 2004 and 2005. The December 2004 tsunami had devastated the Maldives and turned many against the country's inept leadership. But it should also be remembered that the Maldives is a small country of just 300,000 inhabitants, and the economy is heavily dependent on tourism and, by extension, the country's international reputation. The U.N. has not learned from this history. In nearly two decades, the U.N. has sent envoy after envoy to Burma, with no consequential results. The first "independent expert" the U.N. sent to the country to study violations of human rights was Sadako Ogata, a Japanese professor who later went on to become the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. The report she submitted to the U.N.'s Commission of Human Rights in December 1990, was unusually bland for a rights advocate. General elections had been held that year in May, resulting in a landslide victory for Ms. Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party and Ms. Ogata concluded in her report that "it is not in dispute that it will be the task of the elected representatives of the National Assembly to draft a new constitution, on the basis of which a new government will be formed." But the assembly was never convened. Instead the government began arresting elected MPs and three years later formed a "constituent assembly" consisting of mostly handpicked people to draw up a new constitution. In subsequent years, a slew of U.N. envoys could do nothing to change this. Eighteen years later, in May last year, a seriously flawed referendum was held that "affirmed" that constitution. Parliamentary elections under this new constitution are scheduled for 2010. Change in Burma is not going to happen through some kind of U.N.-initiated dialogue. The country's military regime has on several occasions sent out "feelers" to various opposition personalities within the country and in exile, but these moves should be seen in the context of divide-and-rule rather than some sincere desire to discuss important matters with anyone outside the generals' own ranks. While the opposition remains weak and factionalized, the military leaders have over the years showed a remarkable ability to sort out conflicts among themselves to maintain unity. The 2010 election is only designed to institutionalize the present order. Like in other countries in Asia, change will come when someone within the ruling elite turns against the top leadership. But, at least for now, there are no signs of such discontent within Burma's military establishment. This is the bitter reality and there is little meaning in the U.N.'s false hopes for Burma.
Mr. Lintner is a Swedish journalist based in Thailand and author of several books on Burma. ________________________________________________________________________________
The U.N. Org really must try harder to pressure the military regime in Burma to giving way for the release of all political prisoners of conscience in such country. The U.N. Org must try all innovative ideas on how the Burma can have a democratically-elected government that will truly respect the civil and human rights of its own people. The think-tanks of the U.N. Organization should now work efficiently and effectively towards attaining such objective.
FREEDOM FOR BURMA NOW.....
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Hong Kong Christens an Ark of Biblical Proportions 04/14/09 17:38 By JONATHAN CHENG HONG KONG -- This city's three billionaire Kwok brothers have just the answer for the rising waters threatening the global economy: the world's first life-size replica of Noah's ark, built to biblical specifications off the coast of this recession-struck Chinese financial center. The message in its 450-foot-long hull, its rooftop luxury hotel and 67 pairs of fiberglass animals: "The financial tsunami will be over," says Spencer Lu, the Kwoks' project director at Noah's Ark, which is opening soon. The land-bound ark wasn't built in response to the current global turmoil; it has been in the planning for 17 years. But the financial storm provides a nice marketing hook for the Kwoks' ambitious project, which will probably need to lure visitors from beyond Hong Kong's city limits to be an economic success. It also ups the ante in the competition to build a big ark. Middle brother and ark champion Thomas Kwok insisted that it be constructed according to biblical specs, in part to distinguish it from one in the Netherlands that actually floats and boasts real farm animals but is just one-fifth the size of the biblical original. Minders of the Dutch ark say they were in touch with the Hong Kong team and don't see it as competition. "We stand for the same goal as far as I can tell," said Jacky Baken, a 35-year-old gardener who quit her business to work full time on the ark. She says the group is at work on a full-size water-going version. And, she says, "We're still the first one with the floating ark." These are just the latest additions to a veritable ark armada built around the world by the devout and the merely driven -- from a 300-foot-long ark built by a pastor in the Canadian town of Florenceville, New Brunswick, to one built by Greenpeace in 2007 on Turkey's Mount Ararat, warning of "impending climate disaster." Richard Greene, a 72-year-old evangelical minister, began building his full-size ark, in Frostburg, Md., after a vision he says came to him in 1974. Mr. Greene ran out of funds in the 1990s, leaving a giant skeleton of concrete and steel, but he says that 35 years on, he hasn't lost hope, though he can't help but be in awe of the other ark-builders. "If I got jealous of what other people are doing, this whole thing would have sunk years ago," he says. "You just keep on keeping on...But if God doesn't move a lot quicker, I won't be around to see the completion of this ark." Some latter-day Noahs believe the biblical story of a flood washing away man's misdeeds resonates in a time of sunken financial institutions and economic tumult. "Things aren't going so well, and God, even in the midst of all that trouble, has provided an ark of safety, a place where people can turn into and go," says Nathan Smith, a pastor at the nondenominational Florenceville church. A Dutch Ark "People are scared and they don't know where they're going," says Johan Huibers, the 50-year-old builder of the Dutch ark, who hopes to be able to sail the boat to London in time for the 2012 Olympics, and then on to the U.S. and Australia. The instructions in the King James version of the Bible call for a gopher wood and pitch vessel that is 300 cubits long, 50 wide and 30 high, with a window, a door and three stories. (By the reckoning of modern scholars, that comes out to about 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high.) But the instructions aren't specific beyond that, and the engineering isn't easy. The Dutch version is made up of iron barges under the wood, while the Hong Kong ark is made of concrete reinforced with glass fiber. Hong Kong's ark builders also tried to install a permanent rainbow through light refraction but eventually gave up when the science proved too difficult. The Dutch team is also wrestling with the challenge of installing a convincing rainbow. The Kwok brothers, backers of the Hong Kong ark, are heirs to their father's blue-chip Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd., which at the height of the real-estate boom was the world's largest property developer by market capitalization. But the brothers squabbled in recent years, and last year the board voted to oust eldest brother Walter Kwok as chairman and installed their 80-year-old mother to succeed him. The Noah's Ark project reflects Thomas Kwok's evangelical Christian faith. During the 1990s, he set up a church on the 75th-floor pyramid atrium atop Sun Hung Kai's Central Plaza office complex. The Noah's Ark project was initially hatched as a theme park with rides, until Mr. Kwok decided the project should be something more than that. It was held up in planning for several years, and construction on the ark's foundations didn't begin in earnest until 2004. The Kwoks' version of the ark, which sits on 270,000 square feet of space and was developed in conjunction with five Christian organizations, houses a restaurant, exhibition hall and children's museum in addition to the Noah's Resort hotel. Mr. Kwok won't disclose the cost of the project, which is beached on a small island in Hong Kong's harbor most reachable via ferry, at the foot of a busy bridge that connects the city to its airport. Hong Kong's ark, built to biblical specifications Mr. Lu says his team has yet to come up with a strategy for promoting it to mainland Chinese, many of whom aren't familiar with the tale. The company is touting the project as a family-friendly vacation spot, and is framing it as an answer to the economic woes felt around the globe.Hong Kong's ark, built to biblical specificationsMr. Lu says his team has yet to come up with a strategy for promoting it to mainland Chinese, many of whom aren't familiar with the tale. The company is touting the project as a family-friendly vacation spot, and is framing it as an answer to the economic woes felt around the globe. "People are experiencing a crisis right now," says Mr. Lu, waving his hand over fiberglass statues of a pair of bears overlooking the South China Sea. "It's possible that this financial tsunami has come at this time to Hong Kong for a reason. And our message is: The doors of the ark are not closed, they're open, and the animals -- representing new life -- are coming out." The project has also come under fire from some groups that say the government shouldn't have granted Mr. Kwok a 21-year lease on the island to build an explicitly religious project, without the approval of the legislature. Mr. Lu says the park isn't promoting religion. "We're promoting meaning," he says. Frances Leung, a 57-year-old social worker who has seen a big chunk of her savings evaporate in the markets, was invited to visit the ark before its official opening. She says she drew great inspiration from seeing the animals, and new hope. "When you go to Disneyland, there's really no message there," says Ms. Leung. "But at Noah's Ark, there is such a strong message that life goes on." Write to Jonathan Cheng at email@example.com
Great Idea! Really fantastic one.
It's a bright idea! I do hope that such project can also be used to further the advancements made for environmentalism..... But that idea is really an excellent one.
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
It should be made clear that such 'people' can only join national politics if they will decide to completely-abandon their 'church functions' and leave their official duties as 'church disciples'. That's the only time they can be allowed to join national (and even international) politics.
So, I think Ed Panlilio has to officially leave priesthood if ever he embarks on a campaign towards achieving a national seat in Philippine politics. The same goes to Eddie Villanueva and the other Filipino religious leaders who want to gain national-political seats. As Christ Jesus said: “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s....." (“Ἀπόδοτε οὖν τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ”) (Matthew 22:21). Amen.
Sunday, March 01, 2009
Such flag was and had never been the official expression of the aspirations of the citizens of the southern states of the American nation. Historians and scholars do agree that such symbol was an invention of 19th-century extremism and racism..... The glorification and use of such flag is tantamount to glorifying the racist doctrine of white supremacy in America.
NO TO RACIST SYMBOLS IN THE MODERN WORLD!
NO TO RACISM IN THE WHOLE GLOBE! AMEN.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Obama takes his place in history
By Christi Parsons and Peter Nicholas Tribune Washington Bureau
January 21, 2009
WASHINGTON - Barack Obama took his place as the 44th president of the United States under a bright January sky yesterday, painting the dark national moment in unsparing terms and exhorting Americans to respond by taking greater responsibility for themselves, the country and the world.Standing on the West Front of the Capitol as the first African-American sworn in as president, Obama celebrated that historic achievement, noting that his ascendance symbolized "who we are and how far we have traveled."But the heart of Obama's first address to the nation as its president was a stern rejection of the policies and values of his immediate predecessors and a somber call for the return of what he called traditional American virtues of hard work, fair play, tolerance and sacrifice for the common good.The nation faces "gathering clouds and raging storms" in the economy and in foreign policy, he said, and must respond with the resolve of its ancestors.
"At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears and true to our founding documents," Obama said."So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans."Evoking the names and values of the Founding Fathers is commonplace in presidential speeches, but in Obama's case the device seemed intended to make a larger point: The change he hopes to bring about will require even his supporters to accept things they don't want to accept, work with opponents they've long demonized and break long-ingrained lifestyles.Americans as a whole must adopt a new, more self-denying way of life with little room for "those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame" he said.In a passage that echoed Franklin D. Roosevelt's first inaugural, Obama said, "Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished."But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin again the work of remaking America."If the speech was exceptionally somber and included relatively few lines designed to draw roars of approval from the enormous crowd, the day nonetheless resounded with jubilation.More than a million people flocked to the National Mall to take part in the event, spilling outward from the Capitol steps toward the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial more than a mile away.Choirs sang. Some of the world's finest musicians performed, including classical violinist Yitzak Perlman and cellist Yo Yo Ma, along with Anthony McGill, a new Peabody Conservatory faculty member, and soul singer Aretha Franklin. High school bands paraded. And tears streamed down faces, weathered and smooth alike, here and around the globe, as the son of a white American and a black African immigrant ascended to his place in history.The only shadow on the day was cast during the luncheon for the new president hosted in the Capitol by House and Senate leaders: Sen. Edward M. Kennedy suffered a seizure and was taken to a hospital.The Massachusetts Democrat suffers from brain cancer, but an aide said he was awake, talking with family members and feeling well.Sen. Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, the oldest member of the Senate, was sitting near Kennedy and became visibly upset. He was taken from the lunch but is fine, according to an aide.Former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, were whisked away by helicopter immediately after the inaugural ceremony and headed for their home state of Texas after a private farewell to staff at Andrews Air Force Base.And almost at once, the wheels of the new administration began to turn.In the afternoon, new White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel put a hold on all regulations the Bush administration had been drafting, pending a review by the new team. Obama is expected to begin issuing his own administrative measures later this week.
Obama made the appointment of his Cabinet his first official act, and the Senate approved several members before the day was over, though Senate Republicans delayed others.Hillary Clinton, Obama's nominee for secretary of state, had been expected to win approval yesterday, but Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, held up the vote to permit further questioning about her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and his charitable foundation's foreign donors.Others who face a more protracted process include the nominees for labor secretary, Hilda L. Solis; treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner; attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr.; and transportation secretary, Ray LaHood.The delays are expected to be temporary.
Obama also still needs to nominate a commerce secretary to replace Gov. Bill Richardson, who withdrew from consideration in the midst of a scandal in his home state of New Mexico.The finality of the transfer of power was signaled in small ways as well as large. A picture of Bush vanished from the White House Web site shortly after noon, and Obama's portrait appeared in its place.That he was taking office in challenging times, both domestic and foreign, Obama was quick to acknowledge, including an economic crisis as ominous as any since Roosevelt moved into the White House amid the Great Depression."Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age."The way out of the domestic morass, Obama said, will require a more active role for government.Indirectly rejecting Bill Clinton's assertion in 1996 that the era of big government was over, Obama said, "The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified."On foreign policy, Obama vowed to outlast and ultimately defeat terrorists. But he went out of his way to extend his hand to the Muslim world."To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect," he said.He also declared that the United States would once more play the role of world leader. "We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet.""Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met."Inauguration Day dawned with hundreds of thousands of people assembling in early morning to watch the day's events unfold - and to cheer, sing and tell stories.In the crowd, there was sustained booing of Bush at some points in the program.At the congressional lunch that followed the Bushes' departure by helicopter, Obama worked the room like a bridegroom at a wedding. When Kennedy was taken ill, Obama reminded the crowd in a halting voice that Kennedy had been in the Senate to support passage of the Voting Rights Act."So I would be lying to you if I did not say that right now a part of me is with him," Obama said.Michelle Obama joined her husband to review the troops on the steps of the Capitol. When Obama went to shake the hand of the military officer at his side, the president appeared startled when he got a salute instead as the new commander in chief.But Obama and the new first lady were all smiles and ease as they walked a length of their parade route, the silver collar of Michelle Obama's yellow-gold dress glinting in the afternoon sun. In the evening, the Obamas planned to attend all 10 official inaugural balls, speaking at each one.Yet it was the words of the afternoon that resonated beyond their delivery.People listened, mesmerized, as the speech rolled across the National Mall from a sound system that took two or three seconds to get to the farthest reaches of the crowd.The echo meant that the field was never quiet, even when Obama paused, as though the words of the day couldn't be contained in a single moment or place.
OBAMA IS REALLY AN INTELLIGENT AND WISE LEADER. HIS PROGRESSIVE IDEAS WILL NOW BE ALLOWED TO WORK IN AND UPON HIS U.S. PRESIDENTIAL REIGN. I HAVE FAITH THAT BARACK OBAMA IS GOING TO BE A GREAT AND WISE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE AMERICAN NATION..... AMEN.CONGRATULATIONS TO SIR BARACK OBAMA! HE'S THE MAN.....
_____SIDE-COMMENTS FROM RUMMEL PINERA
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Posted By DAVID DOWNHAM
Dr. David Downham is a founder, along with his wife Catherine Downham, of Project Umbrella Burma. The non-profit organization provides direct aid to Burmese refugees, including the Karen people, at the border with Thailand. Here are some of his reflections on their work overseas.
When talking about the work we are trying to do here, on returning to Canada, one of the most frequently asked questions is, "Is it safe there?"
We have two young women here in Mae Sot, Thailand, from Orillia. Now, instead of Europe, young people will often tour the East. These two are spending a month teaching in the college in Doh Tah before going on to southern and northern India. They are confident, positive, very capable and a delight for our own young people in the college here. They are the quality of young people whose parents must be congratulated for so brilliantly fitting them with the tools of life.
But, it takes anyone time to understand and absorb another culture, another person's day to day. Cathy's concern was, inevitably, they would not have the time to absorb what is going on here. It led her to say the following:
"I would like to say to them: Here we are working on the Thai- Burmese border -- which is a lawless place, whether it looks like it or not, where the rules of neither country are observed; a 'fringe place' with many similar examples around the world, and where here, perhaps more than two to three million people live in poverty, great jeopardy and without any likelihood of justice; a people disregarded, who are an embarrassment and nuisance to both countries; their lives of no importance. And I want to say to them, our young temporary teachers, that while this is accepted as an attitude by any country, there is no real safety for anyone anywhere."
And she went on, "Am I being pompous? Do you agree with me? Will it help if I say that?"
And of course, I said, "Yes, it would help," and "Yes, I think they will understand."
In Orillia, a group of people have come together to make a film of life here. I do not know whether it has a title yet, but perhaps we should call it:A Community Intervenes.They have made footage of the college and the clinic and of the presentation of a stethoscope to Dr. Cynthia, a gift to honour her, from the doctors at Soldiers' Memorial Hospital. It was given with a short speech of appreciation of her amazing contribution to her fellow Karen people, and to the many people from all ethnic groups in Burma. It was given in English and with a special translation into broken Burmese, which hopefully lightened her day. Slowly we are all learning from people like Dr. Cynthia that taking care of another is taking care of yourself.
Here in Thailand, the professionals, academics and middle classes generally have been demonstrating against the corruption of the present government, bringing travel and tourism, vital to Thailand's economy, to a standstill -- with an extraordinarily disciplined and peaceful takeover of Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok. The much revered king of Thailand's birthday was looming on Dec. 4 and the protesters respectfully decided to pack up and go home. (This is unlikely to be anything but a momentary lull.) Though the king did not address his people and has certainly become quite frail recently, he took the time to ask Dr. Cynthia to visit, and presented her with another award. The king in Thailand carries a huge and well-earned moral authority. His recent silence on his birthday could be seen as a reprimand of the corruption in the government. His recognition of Cynthia and through her, of the importance of the Karen in Thai society, will be taken by many as an attitude to be adopted, as he nudges his people into a more enlightened attitude.
Trying to understand, and attempting to improve, so often takes us deeper into the maze. At least 50,000 people live a "half life" in Mae Lah refugee camp alone, unable to travel outside the narrow confines of the camp, unable to work, prevented from living in a permanent house; they are receiving some level of education, but with no direction for its use. Not surprisingly, alcohol and drug abuse become a problem.
The failure of the British to leave a reasonably workable political legacy in a multi-ethnic society has left three devastated generations in four groups: a) in Burma proper, within the territories of the ethnic minorities; b) amongst the expatriates from Burma, who have gone to live in Australia, Canada, the U. S. and the Baltic countries; c) the refugees growing up in the camps and d) those living the ultimate life of insecurity, as illegal immigrants.
The UN's emigration policy for the Karen ethnic group from Burma (the people to whom we are most connected) provides a weak-kneed answer for some individuals; at the same time, it destroys both the leadership and the culture.
The policy of the Junta, the Burmese military dictatorship, is clear: submit or suffer slow extermination. The Thai, at present, prefer to look the other way. We cannot expect much change in attitude from the Junta, but a gradual relaxation of the rules of citizenship for the Karen on this side of the border would be to the long-term benefit of Thailand. The king of Thailand, a strong believer in peaceful settlement, knows this very well.
So, coming back to the original question: "Is this a dangerous place?"
"Yes, of course, it is."
"Is this a good reason for not trying to do something about it?"
"No! That would be a far more dangerous thing to do."
Article ID# 1376225
Burma has marked the 61st anniversary of its independence with pomp and defiance, as the military junta called on citizens to support 2010 elections derided as a sham by democracy campaigners.
Soldiers raised the national flag at 4.28am (0848 AEDT) on Sunday - the exact time of the country's freedom from Britain - at a city hall in the remote capital of Naypyidaw, 400km north of Rangoon .
In comments read out by a subordinate in the bunker-like capital, Senior General Than Shwe trumpeted his seven-step "Road Map" to democracy, which the junta says will lead to multi-party elections next year.
He urged people to "cooperate in realising the state's seven-step Road Map with union spirit and patriotic spirit with the firm resolution to build up a peaceful, modern and developed democratic nation with flourishing discipline".
Than Shwe accused "neo-colonialists" - usually a reference to the United States - of interfering in Burma's affairs.
"The entire people are duty-bound to safeguard the motherland ... while keeping a watchful eye on attempts of neo-colonialists to harm the sovereignty of the country," Than Shwe said.
About 3,000 ministers, government employees and senior officials attended the ceremony and the formal military parade, although the ageing Than Shwe was not present.
The United States, European Union and United Nations have dismissed the lengthy "Road Map" as a sham due to the absence of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party.
Burmese pro-democracy activists say the polls are aimed at cementing the military's grip on the nation, with Aung San Suu Kyi banned from running and 25 per cent of parliament seats reserved for members of the armed forces.
The NLD held a parallel independence day ceremony on Sunday attended by foreign diplomats and party members in Rangoon .
"Although there were many security members, they did not disturb us," said NLD spokesman Nyan Win, adding that the party used the opportunity to call for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.
Burma has been ruled by the military since 1962, despite a 1990 election win by Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD. Instead of allowing her to take office, the military regime simply kept her under house arrest.