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Bearsley's Standford Fiasco

>From "Sister" to "Enemy": Mr. (Dr.?) Beardsley's Standford Fiasco
_________________________________Chao-Tzang Yawnghwe

In Western tradition (and history as well), the role of intellectuals -- 
which presumably includes scholars and academics -- is as bearers of 
enlightenment and defenders of human freedom and rationality, as against the 
forces of darkness and "unfreedom".

In actual practice, however, many academics have put themselves in the 
service of power for various reasons, among which is the desire to be 
appreciated and rewarded by the powers-that-be -- such being the facts of 
human nature.  That being said, the action of Duncan Beardsley, Director of 
Stanford University's Travel/Study Program, is disgraceful.  Mr. (Dr.?) 
Beardsley abject grovelling at Bogyoke-Wungyi Kyaw Ba's feet is neither 
necessary nor, worse still, has it been effective.  It is a completely 
futile exercise in uncalled for servility.

The fact of the matter is that it was (and is) perfectly legal (or 
"politically correct", to use the faddish term) to meet with Daw Aungsan 
Suukyi. This is because, one, she is, even under SLORC's "law", a "free" 
person, having been "released unconditionally" by SLORC.  Two, she has not 
been declared an outlaw nor an enemy person by SLORC. Three, SLORC bosses 
(including Khin Nyunt) has identified her as member of the "family" 
(whatever that means), and have even referred to her as a "sister".

Instead of "uninviting" ("de-inviting"?) Daw Suu, thereby making her, by 
Stanford fiat, "an enemy of the state".  Mr. (Dr.?) Bearsley should have 
asked SLORC to clarify Daw Suu's status.  i.e., ask B-W Kyaw Ba to give 
reasons why the Stanford group should not, or cannot, meet her.  After all, 
it is SLORC's job, not Stanford's nor Mr. (Dr.?) Beardsley's, to change her 
status from "sister" to "enemy".

If Mr. (Dr.?) Bearsley has any integrity, both as a human being and scholar, 
he should -- I hope he will -- explain his uncalled for (and hopelessly 
futile) servility, apologize to both Daw Suu and the Burmese people (and 
Burma), or better still, remove himself from the community of intellectuals 
and scholars.