Thu 29 Oct 2009
Filed under: Opinion,Other
India — The saga of Aung San Suu Kyi’s non-violent struggle for democracy in Burma defies known descriptions of political courage, and with the country’s military rulers now deciding to use her ‘legal status’ to their advantage in an unusual and clearly one-sided game of chess to restore ‘democracy’, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate faces a qualitatively new challenge to continue her non-violent struggle for democracy.
The deplorable guilty verdict handed out to Ms Suu Kyi in a case where she was accused of violating the country’s security laws indicates the extreme lengths that Burma’s military rulers are willing to go to keep her out of public and political life and are bent on a collision course.The denial of freedom again to the Nobel laureate by a kangaroo court in Burma is outrageous and deserves to be condemned in the strongest of terms.The Burmese junta’s act of ‘reducing’ her sentence to another 18 months of house arrest – after a court sentenced her to three years of detention – is doubly outrageous. It is obvious that the junta is nervous. It wants to keep Ms Suu Kyi out of next year’s polls.
Although junta had been forced by the international community to hold election to the country’s Parliament next year, the manner in which it organised a constitutional referendum last year to pave the way for the poll gave enough indications about its intentions. But the experience of the 1990 election, swept by Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy and annulled by the junta, has made the latter nervous. It does not want to take any chances and will now use the verdict in order to keep her out of next year’s poll, thus denying its people democracy and the rule of law.
Her long years under house arrest shows that the junta cares little about international opinion. Even threats of sanctions by the United Nations have not worked mainly because of opposition by China and sometimes Russia for which both the communist countries should be condemned.
The UN and other countries specially the US and the UK can help the cause of democracy in Burma only by putting more pressure on its leaders and their allies elsewhere, instead of doing business with the junta. Next year’s scheduled parliamentary election provides one such opportunity.The world must use diplomatic and other means to ensure that the junta’s will does not prevail yet again. Published by HT Syndication with permission from Pioneer.