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A Thought – A Dream…..

November 16, 2010

First they had the election, got their party to win, and subsequently released the most famous political prisoner since Nelson Mandela. The world has been celebrating the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, the pro-democracy Burmese leader who was released by the Burmese junta recently. This has come after sustained political pressure on the government in Yangon. The US and other western countries had been calling for the release of Suu Kyi for long. President Barack Obama has called Suu Kyi his idol.

Aung San Suu Kyi - Burmese pro-democracy leader


This frail lady has remarkable will power and an amazing sense of optimism. After having spent more than a decade in prison, under house arrest she has come out of isolation unscathed or so it seems. She has said that her captors, the Burmese junta have treated her well. From what she told the BBC, it almost appears she wishes the junta well. How does one describe such a woman? Her poise and her composure are what catches’ ones eye and her lack of bitterness is truly awe inspiring. Her interview to John Simpson of the BBC was an eye-opener for many of us who had only seen pictures of her and never heard her speak. This is one good thing that has come out from her release. Her thoughts and her views on various aspects of her life and politics are now coming to the fore. She calls for a non-violent struggle. She is the female form of Sidhhartha, Gandhi and Mandela all rolled into one. She hopes that better sense will prevail and that the junta will give up power voluntarily. She does not want to overthrow the junta by non-violent means and appears to be very clear about her goals. Democracy is what she craves for and believes that it is the voice of the people which should decide the future of her country.

At one point when she was asked by John Simpson whether she is aware that there are plainclothes policemen outside taking pictures of everyone who enters her house and that in all probability her house is bugged and that whatever is being said is being recorded, she disarmingly brushed aside the thought saying that way she will not be able to do anything. Which shows that this lady  is determined to live and go about her life her way and does not give too much importance to those keeping a watch! She is even ready for a situation where she is arrested again!

The way Aung Saan Suu Kyi has conducted herself in such trying circumstances is remarkable. I will not be surprised if there are some among the junta officers who are indeed swayed by her passion, her simplicity and her clarion call for a free, democratic Burma. It is clear that Suu Kyi will reject all forms of violence, even against the junta. What if some officers say enough is enough, we cannot keep on suppressing all the people all the time and that what Suu Kyi is saying is true and that they should indeed give up power and let a real, free and democratic elections take place. Remarkably, both India and China have called the recent elections in Burma as free and fair while Obama has rejected them as an eye wash!

Were such a change to take place from within it would be just so good for the Burmese people. In the past the present regime has not hesitated to use violence even against the Buddhist monks. Many monks were beaten up and some disappeared during an uprising a couple of years back. The atrocities committed by this most brutal regime in the world can only be compared to what Pol Pot did in Cambodia. There have been stark human rights violations in Burma and the Burmese people have suffered for long. What Burma requires is real change, real democracy and real freedom. This Nobel Laureate has suffered for her people and a nation full of natural resources has turned to a poverty stricken hell-hole where life is drudgery.

It appears that Aung Saan Suu Kyi is looking for a change from within the junta. She knows that the junta is all powerful and she reckons that an Orange revolution like change in Burma is not a pragmatic thought. What if some officers in the Burmese army really do change and want to go back to the barracks? How would that be? I know this is a dream and an idle thought. Remember Suu Kyi has said that she was treated well. I am sure there is some humanity among officers of the Burmese junta. If their collective conscience does start to prick them and they decide to forego power, would that not be just wonderful? I know this is but just a dream, but then dreams do come true sometimes, don’t they? On hearing that Suu Kyi was out on her gates there was a spontaneous congregation of thousands of people clapping and cheering. A bouquet of flowers appeared from nowhere. People were cheering and calling out her name. The lady does bring out strong emotions among the Burmese people. She is the last hope, the only anchor that tells the people of Burma that all is not lost, yet. She is the mother, the sister everyone in Burma looks up to with awe, hope and inspiration. For millions around the world she is a hero who is fighting against all odds. It is amazing how the resolve of this frail lady never fails her and she goes on regardless.

How would Suu Kyi react if her party were to come to power? Would she be vindictive of the junta? I think not. She is Mandelaish in her approach to her adversaries. She has this amazing power of forgiveness which saw Nelson Mandela transform from an ordinary political prisoner to a visionary and a father figure for humanity. Mandela saw to it that the former ruling white minority was never harassed and that there was peace and stability in South Africa. Were there to be a regime change and democracy to come about I have little doubt that Suu Kyi would be as open hearted and forgiving towards the junta as ANC was in South Africa. The change has to come from within, as the lady says. I hope better sense prevails and Burma gets back on track with freedom and democratic institutions in place.

Having had my dreams of a free and democratic Burma let me also say that the reality is just a bit different. The junta, even if they wanted to forego power will find it difficult to do as there are geo-political compulsions that will make this difficult to happen. Burma is a Chinese colony for all practical purposes. China would hate to see Burma go. A democratic Burma will surely have a political and strategic inclination towards the west. India may be playing ball with the junta to keep its interests alive in Burma and the recent endorsement of the elections was a posture to make sure they do not give China a free hand in Burma. However, India would also like to see a free and democratic Burma. Burma is facing a tug of war as it were. China would feel threatened if Burma became democratic. They would then fear a political upheaval within China. The west would love to see an open and free Burma and possibly even a democratic China. British Prime Minister David Cameron on his recent China visit called for democracy and its virtues.  This frail woman who has lost a lot on personal front for the freedom of her country is a pawn in this tug of war that is going on between the west and the totalitarian regimes in Burma and China.

Like Aung Saan Suu Kyi many people around the world hope that better sense will prevail and that there will be democracy and freedom in Burma and that she will lead her country to a happier and brighter future.

Update 18.11.2010: The BBC Burmese service says it has the first indication of support within the lower ranks of the military for pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Infantrymen from two Burmese army divisions confirmed reports that several hundred soldiers travelled to Rangoon to witness her release. A number of soldiers from battalions in Rangoon and Bago divisions and their families went to Aung San Suu Kyi’s house on the 13 November to greet her on her release. “We went there to greet her because we believe the hardships the lower rank and file are facing can be solved if Ms Suu Kyi and the military commanders work together. “We have high hopes for Ms Suu Kyi,” a soldier told the BBC Burmese service.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 16, 2010 3:37 pm

    This is a good information i got from here.I really liked it and this information is worth remembering.

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