The pictures of street protests coming out of Burma (Myanmar) in recent days may remind tens, if not hundreds of thousands of B92 citizens of their own experiences of trying to unseat a vicious regime back in the good old, bad old days. The more democratic elements of the current government may also recall the urban demonstration vibe - feelings of camaraderie and hope mixed with anger and fear - as rumours of the next imminent baton charge by Slobo’s doughnut boys swirled through downtown Belgrade. Many may remember how dangerous it can feel to face off against a regime which creates an army out of a police force, beats and shoots demonstrators and imprisons or disappears opposition leaders. So the next time you read about the Burmese army shooting monks, or see the amateur video footage of unarmed protestors defying the junta’s troops on the streets, remember that there is something you can do. You can write to Rade Bulatovic of state security, president Boris Tadic and prime minister Vojislav Kostunica. You can remind them that, in line with its desire to move closer to the European Union and international respectability, this government and the previous one committed itself to adhering to all UN, OSCE and EU arms embargoes. You can point out that the EU has had an arms embargo on Burma (Myanmar) since 1998 and that this has been strengthened and renewed several times. You could then draw their attention to a terrible mistake that appears to have been made. You can say how Serbia’s most recently-designed heavy artillery piece, the Nora B howitzer has somehow found its way to Burma (Myanmar) in large quantities, along with tools, spare parts and other equipment.
You could also mention that technicians from Serbia travel to Burma (Myanmar) to repair its fleet of ageing, Yugoslav-manufactured ground attack Galeb G-4 jet aircraft.
You can point out that all this runs contrary to the EU arms embargo and that the company responsible for this is SDPR, a government-controlled arms firm and that all this has happened while the gentlemen you are writing to have been in office. You can say that you are sure they knew nothing about it, but can they fix the problem and get the Serbian government to stop issuing arms and military equipment export licenses for Burma (Myanmar)? If you think they might ignore your request, you can point out that all the high hopes the government has for the EU are going to take a very serious kicking indeed if it turns out that Serbia’s stated commitment to European embargoes are nothing more than hot air and that in Serbia there exists, just as in Slobo’s time, a group of people operating behind the scenes with a propensity to defy arms embargoes to transfer weapons to countries held to ransom by killers in uniform who have no problems shooting the kind of people brave enough to stand up to them on the streets. Those kind of people on the streets of Rangoon are B92 kind of people and I think they deserve our support. You can reach prime minister Vojislav Kostunica here: firstname.lastname@example.org president Boris Tadic here email@example.com and Rade Bulatovic here: firstname.lastname@example.org Feel free to copy and past the emails you send to your elected representatives into a reply to this post and we’ll see where this gets us.