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Is Suu Kyi's crie de coeur in vain (r)

Is Suu Kyi's crie de coeur in vain

>From the Statesman (New Delhi)
April 7, 2000

It used to be said of communists that they thrived on increasing misery.
Keeping their people in ignorance and without the benefit of education
was merely a refinement on the reasonable premise that an uneducated
population is unable to distinguish between information and propaganda.
Authoritarian regimes, whether communist or of any other persuasion,
particularly military dictatorships, share this perception, their hatred
of communism notwithstanding. The military junta of Myanmar is no
exception. And thanks to the indifference of the world, this has been
going on for twelve years. In a remarkable video clip smuggled out of
that unfortunate land, Aung San Suu Kyi, the acknowledged leader of her
people, has made specific charges fleshing out her frequent pleas for
help from the civilised world to pressure the military junta to relax
their iron grip on her people. Barely three days ago, they had angrily
dismissed yet another international appeal to respect human rights. Suu
Kyi has responded with specific charges.

In a candid comment one has learnt to expect from her, Suu Kyi charges
her tormentors with interfering with education; generations of young
Myanmarese, she says, are without proper education. Universities are
shut and medical and engineering colleges are open only to the children
of the New Class, the military. Suppression has intensified. Asean
countries have held the view that to influence the junta, trade and
commerce with that country should be encouraged; experience has shown
that they were wrong, grievously wrong. Anyone wanting to do business
with Myanmar has only to contact established military channels, settle
with the colonels and proceed to business. This has not changed. There
are Indian businessmen who will swear that there are no restrictions in
Myanmar, they are at ease because they have clear consciences, clear of
everything except self-interest. They point to Asean businessmen who do
the same and their governments encourage them. President Clinton who
read the riot act to chief executive Musharraf of Pakistan in apparently
not too c9ncerned about Myanmar as it does not impinge on American

Twelve years is but a speck of history in a nation's life, it is however
enough to inflict irreparable damage on a young generation. The stifling
atmosphere is leading to frustration among the young but also among the
not so young who see no hope of their voice being heard where it
matters, in the international community. Burma, that is Myanmar, is rich
in natural resources, and this appeals to the poor in spirit who wish to
see nothing beyond immediate gains. Tourists are encouraged and are able
to purchase gems, handicrafts and other items without too much fuss so
long as they do not engage in any concern for human rights or contact
anyone in the Pro-Democracy movement. All military regimes have a flawed
vision, some have no vision at all and Myanmar falls into the latter
category. The calm on the surface is unnatural. It should be remembered
that monks, Buddhist monks, led the earlier struggles for democracy and
liberty; if the junta will not do business with Suu Kyi, they will one
day face the wrath of monks who will articulate the anger and
frustration of an increasing number of their people. The result will be
a bloodbath, if there are no safety valves, there will be an explosion.
And if there is any justice in this world, it will encompass those who
so shamelessly join the junta in exploiting the ordinary peace loving
people of this nation. Will no country in the world listen to Suu Kyi's
crie de coeur?