Friday, October 07, 2005

Nothing new in Burma (oops, I mean "Myanmar")

Recent events in Burma (I'm not going to use "Myanmar" - the NLD calls it Burma, and that's good enough for me) indicate that nothing is changing, despite the ruling junta's proclaimed "Roadmap to Democracy".

Burma has long been an interest of mine. I've never completely understood why. The sheer remoteness of the place has something to do with it. The story of Aung San Suu Kyi certainly has something to do with it. I've always been intrigued by SE Asia. But there's more to it than that.

This is what happens when the US and the West has no strategic interest in a region. As I've mentioned, I wouldn't mind seeing this same sort of disregard happen to the Arab world.

I don't know what the answer is in Burma. Aung San Suu Kyi is 60 years old now, and has spent most of the last 15 years detained in one way or another. Most of the detention has been house arrest, but her health can't be wonderful. When she goes, there's no one with the same kind of moral authority on the stage. That's not a knock on any of her compadres in the NLD; I don't think there's anyone in the world today who has earned the sort of moral authority Aung San Suu Kyi has.

Leaving it up to Burma's neighbors hasn't worked - they all have trade arrangements with "Myanmar". The Brits, as former colonial masters, have no interest in getting involved. The UN has a special envoy appointed and keeps issuing statements about Burma, but we all know how effective that is. About all they've got going them is attention from U2. If Bono had won the Nobel Prize, maybe that would have helped, but even he has moved on to other subjects.

I will write about Burma whenever something happens there, and whenever it pops into my mind. It's all I can do.

Free Aung San Suu Kyi! Free Burma!

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