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Can I use my Mac now ? (r)

Dear Burmanet Subscribers:

I could not resist replying to a few points made by Valkyriely@xxxxxxx

My comments are interspersed below.

> From: Valkyriely@xxxxxxx
>Can I use my Mac now since Apple has pulled out of burma ?
>Or should I keep a hammer handy start smashing the Mac when Apple goes back
>to do business with the SLORC again ?

I very much doubt if Apple will go back into Burma as long as cities and
states continue to boycott companies that do business there.

Now that major cities, such as San Francisco, and the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts have enacted Burma selective purchasing laws, companies will
have to choose whether to sell to those cities and states OR do business in
Burma. The companies cannot do both!

What is interesting is that Apple withdrew from Burma even before
Massachusetts started implementing its Burma law. Watch out for more
companies, both US and non-US, withdrawing from Burma as the law starts to

In addition, watch out for more cities and states to enact similar Burma
selective purchasing laws.

>Let's be honest. Pepsi,Apple,etc. pulled out of Burma because the amount of
>sales generated was not worth the potential negative image.
>It has NOTHING to do with human right issuses !
>Burma is not important enough on their agenda.

The first companies to withdraw from Burma (Levi Strauss, Liz Claiborne,
Eddie Bauer, etc) did so principally because of negative publicity.

But Apple pulled out because the company made sizable sales to Massachusetts
state government and wanted to continue to do so.  

I think it is true to say that Apple withdrew from Burma not out of concern
for human rights, but out of concern of losing sales to the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts. But it is also true that the Massachusetts Burma law passed
partly because Massachusetts legislators were being urged by their
constituents to pass the law in response to the abuses of human rights and
the repression of the democracy movement by the SLORC.

Burma was certainly important enough to be on the agenda of the
Massachusetts legislature and Governor Weld...

>Massachusetts State government put up a show while some " human right
>hailed " yeah,good job,well done. Bravo " (Mass is a Democratic
>stronghold,you know that ?)

Massachusetts in, indeed, predominantly Democratic.  However, the
Massachusetts Burma law was supported by several Republican legislators and
signed into law by Governor Weld, another Republican. As in Washington DC,
support for the Burmese democracy movement is a bipartisan issue.

>The point here is  "It is a game of politics".
>The point here is Mass State government's action accomplish NOTHING to make
>Burma more democratic.

Several companies withdrew from South Africa and stopped supporting the
apartheid regime when Massachusetts restricted purchases from companies
doing business in South Africa.

Every company that withdraws from Burma chips away from the SLORC's
legitimacy and financial support. That, I feel, will help put enough
pressure on the SLORC to bring them to the negotiating table with Aung San
Suu Kyi and the Burmese democracy movement.

>Who are the losers in Pepsi,Apple,etc  pull out ? The ordinary Burmese people
>They fare no better regardless of which side wins the political game.
>They are just the dispensible pawns in the game of political chess.
>they are just like helpless children  caught in the middle of a war between
>the inflexible  SLORC and the hypocritical Western powers (supposedly on
>behalf of the opportunistic NLD. ASSK is just a theoratical sentimentalist) 
>Franklin salesperson may have personal reasons to celebrate. I don't.
>I have something to MOURN about the pull-out of Apple from Burma.
>The continued suffering  of the ordinary Burmese people.

Aung San Suu Kyi has pointed out that ordinary Burmese people do not
currently benefit from foreign investment. The only loss, as far as I can
determine, is the SLORC's loss of face and loss of revenue.

I agree with you the SLORC is inflexible and that the Western powers are
often hypocritical. But, by putting pressure on the SLORC, Western countries
(and some Asian countries such as Japan and the Philippines) are doing
something right for once. 

And part of the reason why Western countries are finally taking action
against the SLORC is due to grassroots political support for Aung San Suu
Kyi and the Burmese democracy movement.  This grassroots campaign is growing
just like the campaign against apartheid in South Africa grew.

The SLORC better get used to it...

Simon Billenness
Franklin Research & Development