Skip to comments.In Burma's agony
Posted on 10/23/2005 9:01:48 PM PDT by ZayYa
Freedom for Aung San Suu Kyi is a precondition for progress
In cruel solitude, denied visitors or even a telephone, a frail woman marks ten years as the political prisoner of a vicious and illegitimate military dictatorship. Since 1988, when she returned from Britain to her native Burma and, in response to a massacre of student demonstrators, formed the resolutely non-violent National League for Democracy, the Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi has spent most of those 16 years in prison or under house arrest. It is 15 years since the League astounded the junta by winning 80 per cent of the vote in parliamentary elections that the generals believed they had rigged so as to ensure the Leagues political demise. The junta quashed the result, imprisoned her and many League colleagues and set out to crush every last shred of opposition; yet as became obvious from the throngs that crowded to her when she was briefly released in 2002 it cannot extinguish the loyalty which Daw Suu Kyi, known to Burmese simply as The Lady, commands. Her release is imperative and urgent, because that enduring loyalty is now this crushed societys only potential bulwark against the tragedies that have engulfed it, beginning in 1962 with General Ne Wins disastrous Burmese way to socialism. These were intensified by the clique that has the gall to call itself the State Peace and Development Council. The country now officially known as Myanmar is a problem not just for its people but, increasingly, for the region.
On the pretext of crushing rebellions by persecuted minority peoples, the regime has committed every conceivable abuse. Nearly a million refugees have fled to neighbouring countries; as many are internally displaced. Military enterprises run rackets that, with the collusion of China and elements of the Thai military, are stripping gem mines and teak forests, as well as trafficking in opiates and amphetamines. In a fertile land, a third of children are malnourished, HIV/Aids and tuberculosis are rife and humanitarian agencies are systematically thwarted.
The international response has been a flabby mix of selective Western sanctions, and an abortive Asean policy of engagement. While pretending to be preparing a new democratic constitution, the junta has blocked serious mediation, even by UN envoys. But Asean is no longer the shield that it was. In July it forced Burma to relinquish its turn at the bodys rotating chairmanship, and a parliamentary caucus within Asean is pressing for its suspension.
Washington is pressing the Security Council to put Burma on its agenda with a resolution obliging it to free Daw Suu Kyi and her fellow political prisoners and acknowledge the Leagues legitimacy. A coruscating new report sponsored by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Vaclav Havel buttresses that case. China objects, but nine of the 16 Council votes would suffice. Burma differs from other abominably misruled states because a democratically elected alternative exists, something not even China can deny. United pressure is crucial if an intransigent regime is to change.
Most Americans don't know anything about Burma. It is completely corrupt. It is, ironically, a tax haven, with Citibank and others there to do the dirty work for drug dealers.
It is a big drug haven too. They pump meth out by the ton. Heroin too.
And Hong Kong Shanghai Bank and Citibank are right there to share the profits!
Thanks, I need to update it though. I am in Thailand for the foreseeable future so have a burgeoning interest in Burma/Myanmar. I passed over the border briefly and everyone seemed quite happy to see a foreigner but I know what goes on in the hills. Rape, murder, genocide - really nasty stuff.
Also the last or one of the last Teak forests in the world is being decimated and sold to the Chinese (illegally). But a lot of countries have vested interests, both regionally and internationally. There is a big gas pipeline which gives the Junta some leverage as well as an income.
we should all pray for Madame Aung San Suu Kyi
She is one of humanity's greatest living heros ....