Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Patrick Maguire

603 West Wabash Avenue
Crawfordsville, IN 47933

Dear Senator Bayh,
    My name is Patrick Maguire and I am a senior economics major at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana.  I am writing this letter to 
express my concern about the human rights violations currently occurring in the country of Burma.  I am sure that you are aware of the events 
from the media, and you have seen the brutal actions the Burmese military dictatorship.  However, my primary concern is the inaction of the 
United States government to not only acknowledge these violations, but also to stop the violence of the perpetrators 
and prevent further violations from happening.  
    It is difficult as a young American to learn about and even watch the people of Burma being oppressed, especially as the American 
government chooses only to intervene in countries in which it could benefit financially.  If America is supposed to be a leader among nations in 
protecting human rights, then it must maintain consistency in its decision to intervene, either by force or with monetary support.  Choosing to 
ignore the atrocities in Burma is irresponsible and unacceptable. 
    Just as millions of African-Americans initiated non-violent demonstrations across the United States during the civil rights movement, 20,000 
monks in Burma chose to do the same, only to be received with hostile and violent reactions from the military.  While unarmed monks and 
civilians were shot at, thousands more monks disappeared.  Journalists, women, children, and elders of the community were shot and beaten.  
Unlike the decentralized terrorist cells we are battling around the world, the violators are clear in this case, and the victims have little in-country 
    There are a variety of actions that the U.S. could take to respond to such violations of human rights; however, there are non-violent measures 
that could be taken.  I believe that one effective and reasonable solution would be to impose sanctions on Western companies who contribute 
financially, either directly or indirectly, to the Burmese military dictatorship.  Just as U.S. military operations put a high priority on freezing 
funds that contribute to terrorist activity, the same can be done to stem the growing power of the Burmese military.  The U.S. must also be 
adamant in its stand against the violence, and it must ensure that its response be implemented, despite opposition from China, Burma’s northern 
    I am fully aware that the United States cannot police the world and directly intervene every time a human rights violation occurs.  However, 
when violations as severe and obvious as the violations in Burma take place, the American government needs to ensure swift and appropriate 
action in order to maintain its role as a leader and protector of freedoms throughout the world.  I hope that you will not take this situation lightly 
like most of your peers.  I consider you to be a leader for not only the state of Indiana, but also a leader for the entire country.  Your word is 
respected and trusted, so the simple act raising a discussion surrounding this issue will be effective.  Thank you for your time, and do not 
fluctuate in your views of ensuring all individuals across the world deserve the same freedoms we experience here in the U.S. 

Patrick Maguire  

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