Pozadí astronaut Brázda
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Burmese mirror

The composed columns of gaunt monks and seemingly frail nuns who became the targets of gunfire Wednesday after several days of growing tension in Burma must be particularly bull-headed.

  • Autor: Globe Media /  Reuters
• Autor: Globe Media / Reuters

The composed columns of gaunt monks and seemingly frail nuns who became the targets of gunfire Wednesday after several days of growing tension in Burma must be particularly bull-headed. A revolt against an army of 400,000 that under similar circumstances and without any hesitation shot dead 3,000 demonstrators in 1988 requires a sizable dose of personal courage. This conflict may seem rather exotic in pictures, but this tropical East Asian country is not as distant as one might think. Despite the Czech Republic's usually limited role on the international stage, the country is clearly supporting the demonstrators' cause.

The Czechoslovaks have on their conscience a portion of Burmese industry. In the '80s Czech Communists built a tannery, a rubber factory, a power plant, an injection-pump factory, a brewery, a sugar mill and a tractor factory for the Burmese military junta. In Burma, where manufacturing represents only 8% of GDP, this is a respectable economic contribution. The Burmese generals are still paying it back.

In the meantime, the Czech Republic's political orientation changed. After the revolution, Burma became an important part of Czech foreign policy. Václav Havel nominated Aung Sung Suu Kyi, the most influential opposition leader in Burma, for the Nobel Peace Prize, which she won. The iconic character of a charismatic politician who has been under house arrest for most…

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