Aung San Suu Kyi released

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by ajtr, Nov 13, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi released

    AFP
    (3 hours ago) Today
    [​IMG]

    In this photograph dated on May 14, 1999 Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi talks to the press at her Nation League for Democracy (NLD) party headquarters in Yangon. — Photo by AFP
    YANGON: Myanmar’s democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest Saturday, an official said, as crowds of excited supporters waited outside her home for a glimpse of their idol.

    The crowd cheered and began to surge forward as police began removing barricades around her crumbling mansion where she has been locked up by the military junta for most of the past two decades.

    The authorities went inside to read the order to release her from house arrest, a government official said.

    “She is released now,” said the official, who did not want to be named.

    More than 1,000 people were gathered outside in hope of seeing the 65-year-old dissident, known to her supporters simply as “The Lady”.

    Although she has been sidelined and silenced by the junta — occasionally released briefly only to be put back in confinement — for many in the impoverished nation she still embodies hope of a better future.

    “I think of her as my mother and also my sister and grandmother because she’s the daughter of our independence leader General Aung San,” said 45-year-old Naing Naing Win.

    “She has her father’s blood.”

    Despite the risks of opposing the military regime in a country with more than 2,200 political prisoners, many supporters wore T-shirts bearing her image and the words: “We stand with Aung San Suu Kyi.”

    Undercover police were photographing and filming the crowds.

    Myanmar’s most famous dissident has been under house arrest since 2003 — just one of several stretches of detention at the hands of the ruling generals.

    Her sentence was extended last year over a bizarre incident in which an American swam uninvited to her lakeside home, sparking international condemnation and keeping her off the scene for the first election in 20 years.

    The democracy icon swept her party to victory in elections two decades ago, but it was never allowed to take power.

    When last released in 2002 she drew huge crowds wherever she went — a reminder that years of detention had not dimmed her immense popularity.

    Some fear that junta chief Than Shwe will continue to put restrictions on the freedom of his number one enemy.

    But her lawyer Nyan Win has suggested she would refuse to accept any conditions on her release, as in the past when she tried in vain to leave Yangon in defiance of the regime’s orders.

    Her struggle for her country has come at a high personal cost: her husband, British academic Michael Aris, died in 1999, and in the final stages of his battle with cancer the junta refused him a visa to see his wife.

    She has not seen her two sons for about a decade and has never met her grandchildren.

    Her youngest son Kim Aris, 33, arrived in Bangkok ahead of her release but it was unclear whether he would be allowed to visit his mother.

    Suu Kyi’s freedom is seen by observers as an effort by the regime to tame international criticism of Sunday’s election, the first since the 1990 vote.

    Western nations and pro-democracy activists have blasted the poll as anything but free and fair following widespread reports of intimidation and fraud.

    Partial election results show that the military and its political proxies have secured a majority in parliament.

    The NLD’s decision not to participate in the election deeply split Myanmar’s opposition and Suu Kyi’s party has been disbanded, leaving her future role uncertain.

    Little is known about her plans although her lawyer says she has expressed a desire to join Twitter to reach out to the Internet generation.

    Few expect her to give up her long struggle for freedom from repression and attention is now on whether she can reunite the splintered opposition and bring about the democratic change that has eluded Myanmar for so long.
     
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  3. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    The Sky News correspondent in the crowd outside the Aung San Suu Kyi's front gate describes the moment the pro-democracy leader emerges to greet her supporters for the first time.

    We're not naming our correspondents in Burma for their own protection, as they're in the country illegally.

     
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  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Reports are coming in that Myanmar's pro-democracy leader has been released from house arrest. She's been in detention for 15 of the last 21 years - the arrest drew widespread international condemnation. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate had said she would not accept the release if conditions are imposed which would exclude her from politics. Aung San Suu Kyi has become a symbol of the struggle to rid the country of decades of military rule.

     
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  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Her being free will not affect the geostrategy of the region.

    The junta will continue its agenda through the party that won the election since that party is their proxy.

    It will not affect the Junta and their proxy, if Aung San Suu Kyi joins the political milieu or not.

    Therefore, India will have to tread softly and play it by the ear.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2010
  6. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    India's Burma test

    Aung San Suu Kyi's release grows pressure on the Manmohan Singh government to resolve the Burmese crisis and prove its worthiness as a big power, says N.V.Subramanian.

    London, 15 November 2010: Sooner rather than later, India will have to correct its Burma policy to reconcile it with the unstoppable democratic aspirations of the Burmese. Aung San Suu Kyi has been released on the heels of a fraudulent election where the military's role in ruling the insular and backward nation has been institutionalized. A turbulent neighbour like Burma is bad for India. It is worse because India's credentials to join the UN Security Council (UNSC) as a permanent member will partly be tested on its Burma policy. The visiting US president, Barack Obama, made a direct hurtful reference to Burma while endorsing India's UNSC ambitions, but it is nevertheless one of the international “responsibilities” that India has to shoulder and resolve. For itself, too, in the immediate-term, India has to prepare a road map for Burma, because unrest in that country increases Chinese influence, which hurts India. So what's to be done?
    For long, India fumbled at a Burma policy, permitting the Chinese to make inroads, playing upon the military junta's fear of the outside world. When China's Burma policy dovetailed with its plans to encircle India, which was partly encoded in its “string of pearls” strategy, the previous NDA government decided to engage the military regime. The engagement policy was opportunistic, cynical and damaged India's democratic credentials. It also brought personal embarrassment for the NDA defence minister, George Fernandes, a diehard backer of Burmese democracy. In turn, Fernandes' Burma line embarrassed the Indian government. But all sides reached to the uncomfortable conclusion that given the rising Chinese threat from Burma, India had to make the best of what was possible.
    India's present policy in Burma has yielded mixed results. Burma is still close to China which uses its UNSC veto power to insulate the military regime from international US-led trouble. But at the same time, Indian engagement has prevented a wholesale Burmese selloff to China. Indian engagement with Burma has also substantially robbed North Eastern militant and terrorist groups of sanctuaries there, although the junta's control of peripheral territories is weak.
    But change is creeping into Burma. India has to be alive to this. Aung San Suu Kyi has been set free. Her future course of action is unclear. This is understandable. The junta has just put in place a political structure to legitimize its role. That won't be easy. But nor will it be simple for Aung San Suu Kyi to blow it away. She is in her mid-sixties. Her political party is close to non-existent. Her best bet would be to stay out of jail and put in place an institutional structure and second-line leadership to advance the democracy movement further.
    But she also needs to engage two of Burma's most important foreign interlocutors, India and China. China is closer to the Burmese military regime and, therefore, on the face of it, necessarily more important. But China is a problem because it is a totalitarian state and would have the same fears about a democratic China as it has about a united Korea. Significantly, while the US is engaging China about North Korea (even if presently the engagement is in a shambles), it is not pressing it enough on Burma. Possibly, it does not want to grant China too big a role in Burma. On the other hand, the US has been leaning on India on Burma sometimes quietly and sometimes not so quietly. Iran and Burma test India's suppleness to join the UN Security Council as a permanent member.
    So willy-nilly, Aung San Suu Kyi will discover India to be a more significant interlocutor for meeting her aims and purposes. She has old ties with India and she would realize any future Burmese democracy will find more in common with India than with the West. But how to progress to that future democracy is the nub. There is a way, and some honest and purposive Indian diplomacy would help matters.
    A stable, democratic, prosperous Burma is both in Burma and India's interests. This needs gently to be put across to the military junta. India has gained enough trust for this to be conveyed over a period of time without being suspected or misunderstood. Secondly, India must offer its good offices to bring Aung San Suu Kyi and the regime on talking terms with democracy as the end-state for Burma. If the regime is not herded and if Aung San Suu Kyi is convinced that her ideals are not being compromised, a dialogue can be facilitated.
    Indian diplomacy can work to bring the two Burmese opposing parties together in Burma, India or outside, although Aung San Suu Kyi would not like to step out of Burma anytime soon for fear she will be barred from returning. But the substantive way is for India quietly to offer its good offices in whatever way acceptable to the two sides.
    Moderation and lowered expectations is the key to success here. To expect dramatic changes overnight would be foolish and foolhardy. Nor will inimical parties like China keep quiet. It must be understood that China draws power from its totalitarian allies. It would not hesitate to instigate the individual ambitions of the Burmese brass against democracy. But India would have to convince the junta leadership that its present move to gain quasi-political legitimacy for its rule is in itself an admission that republican Burma cannot be denied much longer. On the other hand, Aung San Suu Kyi must realize that the breathless, slightly undergraduate quality of backing for her in the West won't move the regime any.
    And for India, Burma represents a test case for its diplomacy. Here is a chance uniquely to advance Indian interests while preserving those of a troubled but basically harmless neighbour with deep historical and cultural ties to this country. To campaign with the world to get India UNSC veto power is one thing. But the path to there lies through minefields like Burma and Iran. It's time to call out the sappers.
    N.V.Subramanian is Editor, The Public Affairs Magazine- Newsinsight.net, and writes internationally on strategic affairs. He has authored two novels, University of Love (Writers Workshop, Calcutta) and Courtesan of Storms (Har-Anand, Delhi). Email: [email protected].
     
  7. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    India & Aung San Suu Kyi : Quo Vadis?


    " Unfortunately, the Indian policy in Myanmar has swung from one extreme to another. Initially, India supported the pro-democracy forces led by Aung San Suu Kyi. Subsequently, alarmed by the Chinese inroads into Myanmar, India swung to the other extreme of total support to the military Junta."


    by B.Raman

    (November 17, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) In her speeches, statements and interviews since her release from house arrest by the military Junta , Aung San Suu Kyi, the Myanmar pro-democracy leader, has already given some indication of her programme of action in the days and months to come----rejuvenation of the National League For Democracy (NLD), her party, unification of the opposition forces, a campaign for the release of political prisoners, a campaign against the fradulent practices during the recent elections organized by the Junta, a non-violent struggle for achieving democracy without humiliating the Army and an initiative for national reconciliation.

    2. Talking to a group of diplomats at Yangon on November 15,2010, she is reported to have paid tributes to the countries that had steadfastly supported her and added that "she hoped that India would be more pro-active in future." She and her supporters in Myanmar and abroad attach considerable importance to India’s support to their struggle for the establishment of democracy in Myanmar. India’’s support will have considerable moral weight. It is their expectation that despite the availability of Chinese support and assistance, the Junta will not like to deprive itself of Indian support since it would feel uncomfortable in the total embrace of China. It needs Indian support in order to avoid too close a dependence on China.

    3. Those familiar with the ruthless manner in which the Myanmar Army crushed the insurgencies of the pro-Beijing Communist Party of Burma (White Flag) and pro-China ethnic minority groups such as the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) will know that though the Army has accepted considerable assistance from China, it will not like Myanmar to become a client-state of China. For this, it requires Indian support and assistance and Indian blessing for its rule. There is goodwill for India in sections of the Army even though it will be difficult to quantify it.

    4. Will this enable India to play a pro-active role in supporting the pro-democracy movement in that country? If so, how should India play this role?

    5. Unfortunately, the Indian policy in Myanmar has swung from one extreme to another. Initially, India supported the pro-democracy forces led by Aung San Suu Kyi. Subsequently, alarmed by the Chinese inroads into Myanmar, India swung to the other extreme of total support to the military Junta. This meant maintaining a silence on the Junta’s suppression of the pro-democracy forces and its arrest and detention of Suu Kyi and its machinations to ensure that she can never come to power.

    6. We may claim that though we were silent in public, we were taking up these issues in private with the Junta, but the pro-democracy forces do not believe us. Even if it is true that we were taking up these issues discreetly with the Junta, it did not have any impact on the Junta. It chose to ignore our private soundings just as it ignored the public reprimands and pressure of the West.

    7. We did the right thing in not supporting the West’s demonisation of the Junta and in keeping away from its policy of sanctions. At the same time, we ought to have tried a more nuanced policy of linking our support to the Junta to its taking the initiative for a reconciliation with the pro-democracy forces. We did not even explore the possibility of India playing the role of an intermediary between the Junta and the pro-democracy forces. While extending total economic support to the Junta, we should have politically tried to facilitate the process of reconciliation. Our extending total political and economic support to the Junta came in the way of our playing a meaningful role. We came to be seen as no different from China in pursuing a policy of unconditional support to the Junta in total disregard of the sufferings and sensitivities of the Myanmar people. Our policy of total support to the Junta proved to be as detrimental to the interests of the Myanmar people as the West’s policy of unrelenting and disproportionate economic sanctions.

    8. The time has come for India to adopt a more nuanced political approach while continuing the present policy of economic support to the regime. The objective of the nuanced political approach should be to nudge the Junta to respond positively to Suu Kyi’s moves for a national reconciliation and enter into a dialogue with the pro-democracy forces. Another objective should be to persuade the pro-democracy forces to avoid a confrontational situation which could add to the fears of the Junta regarding internal security and stability. The Junta’s determination to maintain internal security and stability at any cost has to be understood by the pro-democracy forces. Any confrontational situation could lead to further suppression by the Junta and fresh restrictions on her and even her re-arrest. This will not be desirable.

    9. There is a need for Aung San Suu Kyi to rid herself of the image that she is an icon of the West and not of the developing world. Her reliance on Western support to project her cause adds to the nervousness and fears of the Junta. It is important for her to distance herself from the Western elements, which flock to her cause, and to move closer to the developing world. Without the support of the developing world, her pro-democracy movement will remain weak. She should interact more intensely with the developing world and persuade the West to tone down its unrelenting demonisation of the Junta and gradually relax the economic sanctions. She should appeal to the West for the immediate lifting of all sanctions which tend to affect the economy and the common people. She should also appeal for lifting the travel restrictions on the members of the Junta. Such gestures by her could facilitate the reconciliation process desired by her.

    10. Aung San Suu Kyi has told the BBC in an interview that she did not want the Junta to fall but to change and serve the country better. "I don't want to see the military falling. I want to see the military rising to dignified heights of professionalism and true patriotism. I think it's quite obvious what the people want; the people just want better lives based on security and on freedom." She also said she hoped for a non-violent end to military rule. That is the right approach. This should be combined with gestures such as those mentioned above to convince the Junta of her goodwill. The Army has always been a part of the political life in Myanmar. It cannot be ended in the near and medium term future. It can be diluted and re-shaped. That should be her objective.

    ( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: [email protected] )
     
  8. niharjhatn

    niharjhatn Regular Member

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    ^^
    The Indian response has been quite erratic, and there are many pro-democratic Burmese who really dislike India for their support of the military instead of the democracy.

    The switching of support will only develop India's image as an ultimately uncaring, "yes-man" of a neighbour - something harmful to our image as a growing power looking to establish serious ties with other Asian nations.

    The more subtle approach suggested above would help mediate both the issues regarding image, and regarding our ties with Burma.
     
  9. youngindian

    youngindian Senior Member Senior Member

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