“Total has taken a lot from Myanmar....so they should at least help Myanmar with a little bit of effort during such a bloody period in our country.”
The young woman in Myanmar decided to speak out when she realized that money from the company she loved was now in the hands of the military leaders she hated, AP reports.
She and her parents had long worked for Total Energies, the French company that operates a lucrative gas field off the coast of southern Myanmar with a state-owned enterprise. But in February, the military took over Myanmar’s government and its bank accounts, including those that receive hundreds of millions of dollars each year from the Total gas field, known as Yadana.
As military abuses such as the murder and detention of thousands have grown, the young woman joined others across Myanmar in a groundswell of support for targeted sanctions on oil and gas funds, the country’s single largest source of foreign currency revenue. But Western governments — most notably the United States and France — have refused to take that step amid lobbying from energy company officials and resistance from countries such as Thailand, which gets gas from Myanmar. On Friday, the U.S. announced a raft of sanctions against several Myanmar officials and entities, but again left out oil or gas revenues.
The young woman chanted slogans outside Total’s offices, and later protested the military’s takeover. She said she has since lost her job, and was thrown into prison for three weeks.
“We had a good relationship and good memories of Total,” said the young woman, whose name, like those of other Myanmar gas workers in this story, is being withheld by The Associated Press for their safety. “Total has taken a lot from Myanmar….so they should at least help Myanmar with a little bit of effort during such a bloody period in our country.”
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