Has the world failed Aung San Suu Kyi?

suu kyi“There was an outcry when the trial started, now those fine words must now be turned into practical action,” said Zoya Phana a refugee from Burma now living in the UK.

“The soft diplomacy of the UN and Asian countries has failed. A global arms embargo is the most effective way of showing this military dictatorship that it can no longer defy the international community.”

And according to the blog ,Moses Onlus in English, a global arms embargo is how the world needs to respond to the sentencing of Aung San Suu Kyi.

A court in Burma has sentenced the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi to an additional 18 months’ house arrest today. Ms Suu Kyi was convicted of violating state security laws by allowing a US national into her lakeside home after he swam there.

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was “saddened and angry” by the verdict and described the trial as a “sham”.He said it was “a purely political sentence” designed to prevent her from taking part in next year’s planned elections.

But amid international condemnation and voiced support for democracy in Burma what is the world actually doing to free Aung San Suu Kyi? Does the world actively get involved in a country when it suits them?

When someone like the UK Prime Minister says that this is a political sentence and that the trial is a sham does that not warrant more than just world condemnation?

Last year The UN special envoy to Burma Mr Ibrahim Gambari has failed to meet Ms. Suu Kyi during his trip to Burma. This is a bit of the reaction the BBC’s Burmese Servicegot on its site when they asked if Ms. Suu Kyi made the right decision not to meet Mr. Gambari

Tha Han here in the UK said
“As long as Daw Suu Kyi is under detention and our democratic activists are in jail, Gambari’s visits are merely ‘zoo visits’. It is as good as waving hands to captive animals that will never be set free. Suu Kyi should not allow herself to be like a poodle to be transferred in a car/cage to shake hands with Gambari. It is pathetic and humiliating.”

And this from Khin Maung in Yangon Myanmar
“Yes, she made the right decision not to meet him. I think she want to let him know, especially to UN and then more emphasize to point out to the world that his trip is meaningless, useless and waste the money of people who live in this world. He cannot make any important improvement for the people of Myanmar.”

Yesterday we talked about how you’d feel having a US military base operate from your country, I’m not suggesting that it go as far as that for Burma but why is it that the World (and more specifically the US in yesterday’s discussion) chooses to have military presence in some countries, punish some countries via economic sanctions and just verbally condemn what goes on in other countries?

Also something that caught my attention this morning while listening to an interview on the World Today on the BBC World Service radio, Justin Wintle, Biographer of Ms.Suu Kyi was talking about how the world sees Burma from an Ang San Suu Kyi point of view, which got me thinking about pro-democracy leaders and while doing good to bring attention to political problems in their countries do they also hinder the world from getting a full picture of that country?

16 Responses to “Has the world failed Aung San Suu Kyi?”

  1. 1 VictorK
    August 11, 2009 at 11:28

    No, since it’s not ‘the World’s’ responsibility.

  2. 2 Deryck/Trinidad
    August 11, 2009 at 11:58

    The world(uk,us) doesn’t have an obligation to save Myanmar because they don’t have any natural resources that the world(uk,us) wants. In addition their location isn’t strategic enough, so not much will happen to help Myanmar.

    Any attempt to impose sanctions on Myanmar will only serve the interests of the Junta who will use the sanctions as opportunities to propagate national pride in the face of an attack from the world(us,uk). This will further damage the perception of the West inside and outside Myanmar and will inevitably lead to more suffering for the people.

  3. 3 Deryck/Trinidad
    August 11, 2009 at 12:42

    “but why is it that the World (and more specifically the US in yesterday’s discussion) chooses to have military presence in some countries, punish some countries via economic sanctions and just verbally condemn what goes on in other countries?”

    The US uses different measures according to the geopolitical and economic benefits that can be derived. I have no problem with that. The problem arises when the people of the country suffer due to actions taken by the US.

    e.g The US is a friend of Angola whose leader has been in power for 30 yrs despite poor human rights conditions. Why? They have oil. Angola scored poorly on the 2008 Ibrahim Index of African Governance – it was ranked 44 from 48 sub-Saharan African countries, scoring particularly badly in the areas of Participation and Human Rights, Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development. The Ibrahim Index uses a number of different variables to compile its list which reflects the state of governance in Africa. [9](Wikipedia). Hilary Cinton has urged Angola to hold credible elections and address the country’s past poor human rights record.(BBC 10/8/09)

    The US has punished Cuba through sanctions. Why? They have nothing of substance that the US wants.

  4. 4 Ramesh, India
    August 11, 2009 at 12:51

    Yes, but the world needs to get its act together. There is no consensus of opinion with respect to Burma among countries like India, China, ASEAN, EU and the US. The real power lies with China. The UN should convince China on the need to bring a positive change in Burma. Military action or sanctins are of no use.

  5. 5 Tom K in Mpls
    August 11, 2009 at 13:28

    First, no country has the right to interfere with how others choose to run their countries. Deryck is partly right about strategic value. It does affect priority, but not actions. There is no justification for direct action. Any economic or political action will be used by the government to their advantage. If there were an important resource we could withhold, it would hurt the people more than the government.

    I think the best we could do is undermine credibility by ignoring them on the whole and being dismissive when we do acknowledge them.

    August 11, 2009 at 14:11

    ASSK speaks not for herself & her people alone but for humanity.
    We feel helpless in the face of such injustice but iINSPIRED by the dignity and courage shown over the years by ASSK.
    OPTIONS 1-3, worthwhile but 3-4, useless

  7. 7 Elias
    August 11, 2009 at 15:27

    Theres no two ways about the situation in Burma, the military generals are determined to remain in power regardless of any sanctions, they get their supplies from China for their own personal benefit. The key for them to be deposed from power is for China to come on board and exert presure in every way they can, without China nothing can be done to get rid of them.

  8. 8 Baishakhi Roy
    August 11, 2009 at 16:06

    An arms embargo I think would serve a military regime quite well. Every country in the world should stop arming them. Since Aung San Suuki is a democratic leader that is what the world should be teaching a military regime to respect. This is a regime which should be definitely isolated. Economic sanctions I don’t think is a good option. That only hurts the common man not a military dictatorship!

  9. 9 Steve Mansey
    August 11, 2009 at 16:14

    The whole trial was nothing but a sham and the decision was always going to be a foregone conclusion. Its a millatary dictatorship, and the rest of the world should say “we want nothing to do with you”. Let Burma’s people rise up and change things. (Easier said than done unfortunately!). The Chinese will always support the Junta, and thus increase their influence in that theatre of the world!

  10. 10 nora
    August 11, 2009 at 17:54

    World attention has kept her alive as it kept Nelson Mandela alive. The next step is to recognize international treasures like Aung San Suu Kyi as belonging to the world and not to be squandered in isolation. Her gifts are many and we have to claim her in such a way that keeping her under house arrest is more trouble than it is worth.

    Creative solidarity by many diverse minds have been active on this for so long, and it is no small thing that she is still alive.

  11. 11 William Beeby
    August 11, 2009 at 18:45

    This is a difficult one what should the world do? We know that the world ( mostly meaning USA ) will do nothing.Of course world opinion supports her but in this day and age only oil matters to the West.Sad but true.

  12. 12 Helen
    August 11, 2009 at 18:46

    People are brutal. Locking someone in a house and not giving a damn about it is typical in this world and this society whether it makes the news or not. Nobody bats an eye at caged tortured animals. They say psychopaths and killers begin by torturing and killing animals. We’re bombarded with images and knowledge or cruelty and abuse and we ignore it. What Do You Expect?

  13. 13 Baker Kawesa
    August 11, 2009 at 19:43

    Now here’s a better question, “Has Aung San Suu Kyi failed Burma and the world?”

    House arrest, huh? If you love taking long walks, shopping at the mall, and visiting friends, that might seem quite horrible!

    Please remember that Nelson Mandela was jailed for 20 years at Robben island, pounding stone by day, and squeezed into a damp dirty little cell by night.

    While those South Africans including Mandela imprisoned at Robben island payed for their country’s and people’s freedom with their personal liberty and freedom, the rest of the world played their part.

    How much cheaper for Burma!

  14. 14 T
    August 11, 2009 at 20:24

    Yes they have. But to the MSM, the idiotic racist “birthers” are FAR more important than her.

  15. 15 Dennis Junior
    August 12, 2009 at 21:19

    Yes, the world has failed Aung San Suu Kyi and the people of Burma….

    =Dennis Junior=

  16. August 16, 2009 at 08:39

    The range of actions physically available to be exercised against the regime in her country is, from what has been said on line, obviously limited.
    So what is left for us citizens of the world to bring pressure to bear on rulers which are strongly entrenched, the BBC’s international contribution is a good example for it. Such an example offered from people who have the chance of living in a country where the liberty of opinion holds sway can inspire those unfortunate humans who take the risk of protesting in spite of the risks to their own person, with confidence in their faith and in their attempt at having their voice heard. As a result they can have an influence on the life span of the regime concerned and perhaps stimulate reactions somewhere in the world, in business relations with the tyrannic regime causing some unexpected damage to it.
    WHYS is doing well.

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