25 June 2006, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier Gilad Shalit was captured by Palestinian militants close to the Gaza border. He has been held by Hamas ever since, most of the time incommunicado. Hamas has only passed on three letters from him, and has refused to allow either his family or the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to visit him.
In the four years since the capture of Shalit, Hamas, Hizbollah and other armed groups have fired innumerable rockets on Israeli border towns, and Israel has launched brutal attacks on Lebanon and Gaza – as well as on an international convoy of ships trying to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza strip.
The result of all these acts of violence has – predictably – been nothing but death and disaster. Thousands have been killed and wounded, and the suffering has been – and still is – downright intolerable. After four years of escalating bloodshed and tragedy, the fate of one individual soldier might seem like a drop in the ocean. However, Gilad Shalit is not forgotten. Nor should he be.
Burma’s so-called elections are drawing close. So is the 65th birthday of the woman who won the last elections – back in 1990 – Aung San Suu Kyi. She has been held under house arrest for nearly 15 years, and the Burmese junta seem determined to keep her locked up until well after the election.
The brutal military government do everything in its power (and in Burma, that means pretty much everything) to keep Aung San Suu Kyi from participating in, or influencing the outcome of the elections in any way.
Right now, the junta’s greatest hope is that both the Burmese people and the world at large will forget about her and the other brave activists struggling for a better Burma. We cannot let that happen.
Israel’s deadly raid on a flotilla of aid ships headed for Gaza has shocked the world. The exact details of the boarding of the aid ships and the tragedy that followed are still somewhat unclear, and the UN¹, EU, and innumerable governments and NGOs have called for a full investigation of the flotilla raid.