“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Martin Luther King, Jr

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Suu Kyi, A True Hero

The world stood by and watched the sham trial of Aung San Suu Kyi, hoping for the right thing to happen but knowing in their collective hearts what the outcome would be. It could have been worse. She could have been given many years of hard labor in prison. Many think the outcome is just a way to appease the world and make it look as though they are giving her a lighter sentence, while in reality it is one way to keep her silent during the elections next year.

The Burmese regime had a miracle fall into their laps in the name of John Yettaw. It solved the problem of how they were going to keep Suu Kyi quiet while the regime was elected in 2010. In 1990 they ignored the fact that her party, the National League for Democracy won the election and Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest for violating the laws that were hastily put in place to silence the dissenters. She has been under house arrest for 14 of the last 20 years. It is funny how a tiny 64 year old woman has the Junta shaking in their boots.

While the world has cried foul and demanded her release, there is one major player who will not take her side and that is China. They say we should respect Burma's laws. How do you respect laws that were made to keep someone in power, with no hope for the people of Burma to voice their opinion. How do you respect laws that only are in place for the military regime while they are being propped up by China and India? I say shame on the leaders of those countries. China is trying to prove they have improved human rights, yet continue to back the rulers of Myanmar.

Than Shwe is the head of the ruling junta and controls the army. A very hard-line leader, he is strongly opposed to allowing any political role for opposition leader Suu Kyi. He at first was thought to be more lenient than his predecessor, General Saw Maung, releasing some political prisoners and allowing human rights groups to visit Burma. but he continues to suppress all dissent.

Maung Aye is the second most powerful man in the country and is believed to have made many strong ties with Burma's drug lords in the Golden Triangle before he joined the military leadership in 1993. He is ruthless and xenophobic and is also staunchly opposed to any future political role for Suu Kyi.

To me Suu Kyi is a hero of the largest proportion. She was inspired by US civil rights leader Martin Luther King and India's Mahatma Gandhi for their non-violent campaigns. There are more heroes than  her, but their voices are being silenced all over the world. I want the world to hear them!

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