17 April 2004

Burma, TotalFinaElf, and Bernard Kouchner

A blog I only recently discovered via Belmont Club, the Last of the Famous International Playboys, posted back in January a long, detailed, and nuanced report on a scandal involving "Kouchner, Total & Burma":
Good people make mistakes, too. Someone I very much admire, founder of Médecins sans frontiéres Bernard Kouchner, has drawn the wrath of right-thinking people down on his head.

In his long career, the popular Kouchner (click on "afficher ma sélection" to plot his rising and falling poll numbers) has been a champion of human rights and was one of the only public figures in France to express support for the removal of Saddam Hussein.

But according to a few articles, France's illustrious former socialist Minister of Health, Kouchner, has been accused of whitewashing the matter of the complicity of French oil giant Total (which recently merged with its highly corrupt and rapacious competitor Elf, forming the fourth largest oil company in the world) in alleged human rights abuses as part of the construction of a pipeline in the Yadana region of Myanmar.
On 7 April, the "tenth anniversary of the first full day of slaughter in the Rwandan genocide," Last of the Famous posted another long, detailed, and nuanced retrospective on Rwanda, with a follow-up on 11 April. Both fascinating, but grim reading.

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