As the US sweeps in to rescue an American from the clutches of the Burmese military junta, the woman the world really wants to see free, Aung San Suu Kyi, is left behind to her fate
Another American mercy dash, another
As John Yettaw left
Aung San Suu Kyi’s ‘guest’ Yettaw had conveniently visited her home uninvited. Convenient for the military despot Than Shwe who was desperate for an excuse to keep the symbol of peace and democracy locked in her home until the next ‘election’ was safely passed.
After spending fourteen of the last twenty years under house arrest, Suu Kyi’s trial was a sham and everyone knew the verdict before it even began. Suu Kyi herself knew it would be a “painfully obvious” outcome. As obvious of course as the required tidal wave of condemnation from foreign democracies.
As Suu Kyi was sentenced to three years hard labour, reduced to eighteen months of further house arrest, Yettaw was given seven years for the bizarre visit he made, supposedly sent by God to warn the Nobel Peace Laureate that she was going to be assassinated.
So I suppose we should be feeling sorry for the bumbling, delusional Yank, but it's pretty difficult to do so as you see him safely whisked away in a private jet to
Webb, who is the chair of the US Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on
Suu Kyi’s international counsel, Jared Genser, went public this week with a plea to the world about how to react to the plight of his high profile client. In the International Herald Tribune, he urged caution against focusing too heavily on Suu Kyi “to the exclusion of the broader situation in
The point client and counsel are making is that even if this Yettaw excuse hadn’t swum in for the junta, the thousands of political prisoners would still be in prison, rape would still be used as a weapon of war against ethnic minorities, villages would still be destroyed at the junta’s whim, refugees would still risk their lives for freedom, and next year’s elections would still go ahead – all based on an illegitimate constitution.
Canada has taken the opportunity to stick one in the eye of Than Shwe with its decision to stay the deportation of a Burmese refugee who fled his home country after having been forced into the military as a child soldier. Nay Myo Hein was supposed to have been deported this week, but in a “compassionate gesture” the Canadians have seemed to accept he would not be facing a warm homecoming, given he not only escaped the military but has since been active in demonstrating against the junta.
Hats off to the Harper administration for that. However, the real work that needs to be done regarding the future of
But once again
Burmese historian Thant Myint-U accepts it is very easy to take sides in the good vs evil morality play currently underway, but really the West has missed the boat. He says years ago the West should have poured in aid as it did into
Thant U is not saying
As President Obama has said of the myriad if issues on his plate, if it were easy it would have been sorted by now. So goes the case of
Nevertheless, it must be asked whether Senator Webb’s mercy dash has done more harm than good. The danger is by meeting with the regime and taking home the American citizen he has relegated Suu Kyi’s situation to a secondary role and, conveniently, that’s just where the junta wants it to be.