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Date: Mon, 4 Dec 1995 21:49:02 +0000
Subject: from india
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Organization: Forum for Democracy and Human Rights
The Asian Age ( India )
( Editorial ) AN INTERNATIONAL PARIAH IN MAKING?
The test of Myanmarese Opposition leader, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi's
resolve in dealing with a Junta seemingly working itself up for
a program will be a crucial development in contemporary South Asin
history. Ms Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has shown
it has not losy any of its earlier fire. Neither repression nor
the prospect of another bout of incarceration will weaken the
heroine of our times. The Myanmarese leader is, however, more than
a feraless fighter for Democracy; she is an astute politician in
her own right. Ms Suu Kyi will not walk into the State Law and
Order Restoration Council's crude political trap. The generals
are feeling the pressuring of wearing the mask of good behaviour.
The evil smirk underneath is showing. Their calculation that, faced
with a seemingly hopeless situation, Ms Suu Kyi would capitulate
into a supplicant, has gone haywire. The military officials have
the option of either acceding to the growing pressure for reforms
or undertaking another bloddy purge. The other alternative is to
manufacture a consensus. That will not happen with the NLD
walking out of the constitutional convention where it was more
powerful than what its negligible presence of 15 per cent
representation suggested. This could not have been an easy decision
for the Opposition. Ms Suu Kyi releases that by opting out of the
barrack showroom, the NLD will lose whatever little immunity it
enjoyed from the Slorc. The convention chairman, Lt. Gen. Myo
Nyunt's reaction is instructive. He has accused Ms Suu Kyi of
deliberately wrecking the convention and blamed her for the palpable
increase in domestic political tension. The average Myanmarese will
instantly recognise the implicit warning. The Oppositon has to be
prepared for the worst if it does not waltz with the army.
Ms Suu Kyi is not unaware of the implications either. Her defiant
reaction, in which she remainded the country that she was ready
for any backlash, must have dissappointed the generals. The opposition
leader has thrown a challenge at them but the timing could not have
been more disastrous for the ruling clique. Myanmar is on the
threshold of an economic trnsformation. Yangon has realised the
pinch of trade embargoes. If it could bring the immensely more
powerful white South African regime to its knee- and it was no less
obdurate- there is no reason why it will not harm the business
interests of the generals if sanctions are enforced once again.
The Nigerian example has induced caution amoung the mad malitarists.
Without such developments, Ms Suu Kyi and her courageous band would
have been condemnedto a life in prison, if not worse. The generals
understand they can not afford to appear incapable of decisive
action either. That would lift the cloud of fear hanging over
the country. The people have been converging in strength before
Suu Kyi's house. A political life independent of what the army says
or does is re-emerging in Myanmar. None of this can please the
soldiers and they are bound to react. The Slorc is not known to
be consistent. There is very danger of thier taking reckless and
extreme measures in defiance of world opinion. The lives of
Ms Suu Kyi and her comrades are endangered once again.
It is for the governments of region, NewDelhi included, to
remainded Myanmar that it must treat its opposition with
respect if it does not want to become an international pariah.
Only a mightly global campaign can keep Ms Suu Kyi and her
supporters out of danger.
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