Image: Aung San Suu Kyi, TIME 100
Hard Rain Journal: Aung San Suu Kyi was Elected in 1990, Al Gore was Elected in 2000 -- Consider What Has Befallen Both Countries Since
By Richard Power
Yes, elections have consequences.
Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and her party won the 1990 elections.
She should have been sworn in as leader of the Burmese people.
Instead, she has spent has spent eleven of the last eighteen years in detention.
Al Gore won 2000 election, but George W. Bush was sworn into office.
Consider how far the USA has fallen since the day that the US Supreme Court of the USA betrayed the US Constitution.
Consider where we might be in another decade or so, unless the wrong is somehow rectified.
Meanwhile, in Burma, over the last twenty four hours, monasteries have been stormed in the dark of night, monks have been beaten and dragged off, crowds of thousands of people have been fired upon, soldiers have conducted a room by room search of Traders Hotel in downtown Rangoon.
For the latest, and most compelling news from Burma, go to Irrawaddy.
In the Independent, John Bercow, Conservative Party MP, and chair of the all-party parliamentary group for democracy in Burma, has written a powerful commentary and call to action.
Here is an excerpt with a link to the full text:
Burma's junta is guilty of every conceivable human rights violation. It has the highest number of forcibly conscripted child soldiers in the world. It spends more than 40 per cent of its budget on the military, and less than 60p per person per year on health and education combined. Since 1996, the regime has destroyed more than 3,000 villages in eastern Burma alone. More than a million people have been forced to flee their villages, and are on the run in the jungle without adequate food, medicine or shelter. Gordon Brown's statement yesterday is to be welcomed. For the second time in two weeks, the Prime Minister has turned his attention to Burma. He has called for "immediate international action". His attention is unprecedented. No previous prime minister has specified action on Burma.
The Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, has called for Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to be allowed to take "her rightful place" as Burma's elected leader. Her party, the National League for Democracy, overwhelmingly won the 1990 elections – but the illegitimate military regime rejected the results, imprisoned the victors and intensified its grip on power. ...
Most importantly, the UN Security Council must address the crisis in Burma. Yesterday Buddhist monks marched to the UN offices in Rangoon, pleading for the Security Council to act. A binding resolution should be passed, setting out specific benchmarks, accompanied by deadlines, which the regime should meet. These include freeing Aung San Suu Kyi, releasing political prisoners, and starting meaningful dialogue with the National League for Democracy and the ethnic national groups about the transition to free and fair elections. The junta must be left in no doubt that it will be targeted as a pariah state if it does not comply.
The EU should strengthen its measures. Current EU sanctions are symbolic but they do not bite. Stopping European companies from investing in a pineapple juice factory is laughable when the junta is propped up instead by a surge of funds into the oil, gas and gem sectors. Such investment must be banned. Agreement on a stronger EU common position is desirable but, without it, the UK should act unilaterally.
Burma's neighbours should play their part too. India has until now pursued a policy that is both immoral and irresponsible. Refusing to criticise the regime, India has instead provided arms and military training. How can that be, in the nation of Gandhi and Nehru? Similarly, China and the Association of South-East Asian Nations must be prevailed upon to end their complicity with the thugs in Burma. John Bercow: This vile regime in Burma has to be confronted, Independent, 9-27-07
Some Burma-Related Posts
Hard Rain Journal 9-27-07: Bush, Ahmadinejad and the Monks of Burma -- Illuminating Contrasts
Human Rights Update 9-24-07: Don't Miss the Multiple Meanings of this Moment in Burma
Human Rights Update 9-23-07: Will You Step Outside & Join the Burmese in 15 Minutes of Prayer?
GS(3) Thunderbolt 9-14-07: In Pakistan, the Dharma Repels an Attack; In Burma, the Dharma Sparks an Uprising
Human Rights Update 6-12-07: Remember Aung San Suu Kyi, Honor Her Sacrifice, Reflect on Your Own Freedom & What You Choose to Do With It
Hard Rain Journal 1-8-07: Human Rights and Environmental Security Update from Burma, Cambodia and Mekong River
Words of Power #24: Lost Symbols, Part One – Aung San Suu Kyi, AQ Khan, & The World Tree
Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma, Al Gore, Human Rights, Richard Power, Words of Power