John McCain, Twitter and Burma

When I write this Senator John MccCain has probably already landed in Rangoon Airport in Burma, where as I understand his prime target is to see, how the human rights situation is progressing or not progressing in the country run by a military regime. Well, officially they have a civilian parliament, but in reality it is still very much run by one guy – Senior General Than Shwe.

Yesterday McCain went to the Thai-Burma border to see the Mae Tao Clinic – known by many as Doctor Cynthia’s Clinic. A name it got from the amazing woman who runs the place .

 

In my work as a journalist I’ve been to the Mae Tao Clinic several times and I’m always amazed on how much good they do. Not just medically, but socially and politically as well. And it turns out that McCain liked the place is well. This is what he tweeted after his visit to the clinic:

 

 

It’s rare 2 meet a true saint, & 2day I did, Dr. Cynthia is doing the lords work at her clinic!”

 

It’s great to see that the American Embassy arranged a trip to Mae Sot for McCain because this morning he’s off to Burma to meet Aung San Suu Kyi, he tweeted:

 

“Headed to #Burma this morning- looking forward to seeing my inspiration, Aung San Suu Kyi. It has been a long, long time”

Besides meeting Suu Kyi he is to asses the human rights situation in Burma. Well, to be honest he might be better off reading a HRW report or an Amnesty ditto, because on a trip like the one he embarked on today, he will not be allowed to see the real state of human rights abuse in Burma, which mainly takes place in states that are off limit to visitors – also visitors like McCain – states like Shan, Karenni, Arakan.

BUT… when that’s said, I think it’s great to see that there is someone, who pays interest in Burma and still finds it vital, to the stability in the Southeast Asian and Asian region, that pressure is put on the government in Burma to improve human rights. A visit from McCain shows that Burma has not been forgotten and that the world still cares.

President Obama has decided to put Southeast Asia back on the global map. So far he his emphasize is on Indonesia, which he visited last year (and where he grew up). And the Obama administration sees Indonesia as a role model to not only the other Southeast Asian nations, but also to the countries, who are part of the so-called – Arabic Spring. Mainly because of Indonesia’s quick transformation from a dictator ruled state to a “flourishing democracy”.

It would be great to see Obama on visit to Burma next time he stops by the Southeast Asian Region. Until then, we’ll have to do with McCain, but just expect him to tweet from Burma. Apart from North Korea, Burma probably has the strictest censorship on internet, virtually no wi-fi places and VERY slow internet connections. Which McCain appeared to have been briefed about this morning, whereafter he tweeted his last tweet to his 1,7 million followers before take-off:

“Unfortunately, I will not have access to #Twitter in #Burma. I will be back with more updates after my visit there”


TO BE CONTINUED…

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