A new contributor to The Nation‘s stable of blogs calls herself Catch 22. In her first post she brands the BBC “irresponsible” for airing a documentary about the Free Burma Rangers that “will only inflame the [Burmese] regime further”. She also reflects that the Karen National Union leadership are “powerful cantankerous people” and that their armed struggle is “controlled by old rigid Generals”.

Of all the new Southeast Asia commentators who have come and gone over the past year I am struggling to remember a more provocative start.

On the topic of “inflaming the regime” Catch 22 writes that:

Of course, this is exactly what the Karen leaders want – inflame the regime, more atrocities, more fuel for our cause and more documentaries. And it is THEIR cause, because all other ethnic groups have signed a ceasefire.

I don’t want to be too pedantic (it is her first post, after all) but many other rebellions do continue inside Burma, and on its fringes. The Shan State Army (South) would certainly dispute the claim that all “all other ethnic groups have signed a ceasefire”.

…enough of my pedantry.

Catch 22 goes on to share Karen National Liberation Army tactics:

This is how the Karen insurgents operate. They find a remote Karen village, a poor but peaceful village. Just like the Burmese junta they then take it over, demanding food etc,for its ‘freedom fighters’ – not that the villagers know what a freedom fighter is! They then use the village as a base to carry out missions and from where to shell from. When they feel they have done enough damage to the junta they move on.

And finishes by proclaiming that:

In conclusion: Yes the Burmese military do have an awful human rights record. But they don’t care about sanctions or not being on the world stage – they haven’t been for 40 years and as I’ve said before they don’t care because China will prop them up. They certainly care about documentaries such a this one aired by BBC, inasmuch that it gives them yet another excuse to carry out rape, plunder and pilage.

When will we ever learn not to fuel a fire just for the personal interest of a TV station and some rebels who simply will not negotiate?

This is, without question, a rambunctious beginning to any new blog.

Of course, many New Mandala readers have knowledge of this part of the region and will have their own thoughts on Catch 22’s first contribution. As always, readers with their own ideas about the issues raised here are encouraged to join the conversation.

And, yes, she really does take aim at Annie Lennox, too.