Set Suu Kyi free

IT IS by now clear to all that the junta in Myanmar is not going to give up its hold on power easily; and that, democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi will remain under house arrest for an indefinitely-long period. Where is the UN, and where are the global protectors and promoters of democracy? Isn’t there life beyond the Chinese and Russian vetoes in the Security Council?

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Published: Sun 27 May 2007, 8:21 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:58 AM

Without doubt, what keeps the Nobel Laureate in detention, and at a distance away from her people, is, in large part, the junta’s strategic links with Beijing, Moscow and New Delhi. Add to this the failure on the part of the international power centres, mainly the West, to effectively intervene in one of the worst cases of sabotage of people’s will —a will that was reflected in a resounding verdict in Suu Kyi’s favour in parliamentary elections there nearly two decades ago. Mild admonishment over rights violations and calls to restore democracy have had no effect on the junta, as is proven again and again, and also from the latest decision by the military rulers to extend her detention by another year. The junta takes cover under pretensions that have no basis whatsoever: like seeing red where there’s none, as was seen from the way the police arrested a handful of the National League for Democracy (NLD) activists who held a prayer meeting for their leader’s release the other day; or in alleging that the Nobel Laureate “intended to devastate the country” by her pro-democracy campaigns. Myanmar, under military rule, remains isolated from the world for long decades — a far cry from the time when a luminary like U-Thant led the United Nations as its Secretary General. That was in the Sixties; and that was when Myanmar held its head high. Progress stands still under the military dispensation; its infamous exports being of heroin and HIV-AIDS; industry being a non-starter; and development being a myth there. A change of capital, earlier this year, was, if anything, symbolic of the defensive mentality of the junta — how else could it have been shifted to the middle of the jungles? With this, the dispensation’s alienation from the people it lords over is complete. In the least, champions of democracy, including India, should not close their eyes to what is widely seen as blatant repression of rights and subversion of people’s will in Myanmar — and must come to the aid of Suu Kyi.

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