Saturday, November 13, 2010

Aung San Suu Kyi is free

The world's media appears to be reporting the release of Burma's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest in Rangoon for 15 years.

His Grace is delighted by this news, and his heart soars with the jubilation of her millions of supporters, especially those of the National League for Democracy in Burma who look to her for liberation from decades of oppression and injustice.

But this is a curious development.

It is worth reminding ourselves that the military junta which governs Burma does so without much regard for either human dignity or world opinion: they continue to detain more than 2,200 political prisoners of conscience, of which Aung San Suu Kyi has been by far the most inconvenient.

But what of Ko Jimmy, recently sentenced with his wife to 65 years imprisonment for using electronic media?

And 'Zarganar', a satirist and actor who dared to criticise the ruling junta's response to Cyclone Nargis. He is presently serving a 35-year prison sentence for 'public order offences'.

Or Hla Hla Win, a journalist who interviewed some of the Buddhist monks after their protests of 2007 in which hundreds were slaughtered or imprisoned and tortured. She is serving a 20-year sentence for uploading data to the internet that was 'damaging to the security of the military regime'.

Yes, this is a day of rejoicing: Aung San Suu Kyi is free.

But free to do what, exactly?

Challenge the results of last Sunday's elections, the first to be held in 20 years, since the NLD won a landslide vote?

Is she free to address the NLD and campaign against the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party?

Is she free to speak out about the torture and plight of other political prisoners?

Is she free to organise meetings and associate with whom she wishes?

Is she free to publish and print pro-democracy literature?

Is she free to communicate via electronic media without surveillance or censorship?

Is she free to organise, campaign and stand for political office?

If not, what is this 'freedom' we are celebrating?


Blogger cymraeg said...

Perhaps it is too soon to think of celebrating an event before it has happened - we have been here before! While the release of the wonderful Aung san Suu Kyi would, should it happen, be a step in the right direction I see very little reason to believe better things will follow.!

13 November 2010 at 12:50  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

Is she free to organise meetings and associate with whom she wishes?

The British National Party is ‘free’ to meet provided it keeps its venues secret, to minimize the risk of violence by Unite Against Fascism. The English Defence League faces similar attacks.

Is she free to communicate via electronic media without surveillance or censorship?

Ten years ago, the European Parliament reported that ‘Within Europe all email, telephone and fax communications are routinely intercepted by the United States National Security Agency…’

In a recent blog on the state’s attempts to shut down the BNP, the Libertarian Alliance’s Sean Gabb describes Britain as ‘a soft totalitarian police state’. Who would bet against us descending further into a police state à la Burma?

13 November 2010 at 13:59  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

Your Grace

We Were Born To Be Alive!

13 November 2010 at 14:01  
Anonymous Sam Vega said...

What is this freedom we are celebrating?

It is one person's freedom to do what they could not do yesterday. Small progress, less than we expect in the UK, but significant nevertheless

13 November 2010 at 14:37  
Anonymous JayBee said...

If not, what is this 'freedom' we are celebrating?

Her freedom to be re-arrested, re-tried and re-imprisoned.

13 November 2010 at 14:37  
Anonymous Elmo said...

Quite true. It is at times like these that some of us rejoice at the privilege of living in this country.

13 November 2010 at 15:54  
Anonymous len said...

The Burmese Military Junta has merely extended the walls of Aung San Suu Kyi`s prison.

13 November 2010 at 22:35  
Anonymous not a machine said...

let us hope so .

14 November 2010 at 00:34  
Anonymous Atlas Shrugged said...

Given, that she would be granted your stated list of freedoms,have we any idea what her policies would be to mitigate suffering and oppression in Burma?

Given that our own politicians have no cohesive consensual or practical idea how to achieve such a thing here, how can this women have any kind of idea either?

As a generally sensible bunch of individuals, surely we mostly know what our own governments should be doing, as surely as we can clearly see that they have no intention of doing anything of the kind.

Stating the obvious, for those not entirely sure.

1. Reduce the size and cost of the state state by a factor or 3 at least, ASAP, and a factor of 10 shortly after that.

2. There is no 2 simply because achieving 1 would take care of most of all the other problems at the same time.

Does anyone out there have any idea whether or not Ms Aung san Suu Kyi intends to achieve such a thing in Burma? Because having listened to the BBC much concerning this issue I as per usual, don't have the slightest clue.

Is she actually interested in the future prospects and freedoms of her own people, or is she just another Jesuit trained wolf in sheep's clothing type of socialist?

In other words, almost as bad as what Burma already has, or even worse.

14 November 2010 at 01:47  
Anonymous Atlas Shrugged said...

Cranmer is delighted and honoured to have been voted in at #11 in the Total Politics 'Top 20 Conservative Blogs', not least because he has been somewhat trappist for a quarter of the year, for which he apologises profusely.

Your Grace.

IMO you should be voted No1 by a country mile, even if you went AWOL for the rest of the next decade.

Your Grace is without doubt the smartest kiddy on the blogger's block, as well as the wisest and most fully educated individual I have never met.

As someone who is not at all predisposed to being fanatically impressed by the intellect, or encompassing knowledge of others. I often feel deeply humbled by my ever growing respect for yours.

Therefore, please try not to go AWOL again in the future, the world evermore desperately needs people like you.

14 November 2010 at 02:16  
Blogger arshad said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

14 November 2010 at 08:25  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

What we have here is the same mindless hysteria that accompanied the murderer and terrorist mandela,no one seems concerned about what thier politics actually are,for the feel good moment they are prepared to atribute thier own,and superimpose them upon the figure of thier choice.meanwhile we have just as great civil liberty infringements going on in this country,and few people seem to care if any members of one political party are demonised and prevented from teaching,policing,or even driving trains,remove the mote from your own eye before meddling in another countries growing pains,for when the spineless finally take to the streets in pursuit of thier own trampled freedoms, thier will be armed foreign troops to meet them and liberally dispense bullets amongst them to prevent "upheaval"

14 November 2010 at 08:33  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Your Grace

One suspects that Aung San Suu Kyi is only being released because she is no longer perceived to be a threat. If this is the case the Burmese junta will have a Plan B up their sleeves in case they are wrong. The generals are probably smart enough to know that a hint of liberalism is invariably fatal to any totalitarian regime worthy of the name.

14 November 2010 at 09:47  
Anonymous Anguished Soul said...

One wonders Your Grace, how long we in the UK will have to wait until we have political prisoners of our own. In the current climate, one suspects not long and probably for preaching the freedom the Lord Jesus Christ can bring.

14 November 2010 at 10:28  
Anonymous Olesja said...

Why in the world would someone be arrested just because the said there opinion....

15 November 2010 at 14:57  

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