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May 14, 2009
Opposition leader arrested in Myanmar over U.S. intruder

A poster calling for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi.

In Myanmar, pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was arrested again on Thursday.

Authorities in the country, formerly known as Burma, charged the Nobel Peace Prize winner with violating the terms of her house arrest, which was supposed to conclude at the end of this month.

An American man, John William Yettaw, swam across a lake and spent time at her home, though she reportedly told him to leave. “We have to blame him,” Suu Kyi’s lawyer said. “He is a fool.” Yettaw has been charged with entering a restricted zone. 

Myanmar’s military junta is preparing for a multi-party election next year.

American blogger “danalwyn” expresses anger at Yettaw’s actions, wondering if he was given incentives by Myanmar’s government:

Why did he give the Burmese government an excuse to jail Aung San Suu Kyi? Why did he breach the embargo on contacting her, not just once, but for a second time, swimming across a lake to do so?

Was he a well-intentioned foreigner with no comprehension of the fact that breaking the ban on visiting the activist would give them another excuse to jail her? Was he a self-centered fool seeking only to get attention? Was he an insane stalker? Or worse, was he a Burmese government stooge, a person paid to provide the junta with an excuse to put Aung San Suu Kyi back in jail? We may never know. […]Whatever his aims, he allowed the Burmese junta to have a pseudo-legal excuse to keep one of the world’s most prominent democracy activists in jail, perhaps indefinitely this time.

So who are you Mr. Yettaw? And where do you come from, because if the Burmese ever let you come home, don’t expect to find a friendly welcome waiting for you on this end.

Blogger “Bikoyski” writes that the movement for peace and democracy will eventually triumph: 

So here’s the irony- Suu Kyi won the polls, is elected Prime Minister but is not allowed to serve her country. She is instead kept a political prisoner by the military junta which decided to hold the reins of government. Suu Kyi’s determination to hold on to her beliefs of non-violent movement towards change won her the Nobel Peace Prize and the Nehru Prize. She is a symbol of pacifist change and like her South East Asian neighbors she tried though unsuccessfully to push for a People’s Power.

Suu Kyi talks of power. Not of power that corrupts and connects it with fear. Not fear from a regime thrusting its metal spike at her. But a regime that would do anything to perpetuate itself because of its fear of losing power. The regime in Myanmar may be thinking that it may outlast Suu Kyi, it is mistaken, it has already fallen and what holds Suu Kyi could be termed as the living dead. 

Blogger “Vijay Sappani” argues that the West should step up to the plate and take action:

What moral responsibility does the West have to lecture Hamas, Hezb, LTTE, when we can not stand up for Aung Suu Kyi or Dalai Lama who have lived all their lives preaching and practicing non violent, non separatist peaceful means to bring justice and stop human rights violations. We have to lead by example and maybe rethink our approach to global conflicts and peaceful resolution to them. 

[…]US and UN need to step up to the plate to pressure Burma and engage China and India to talk with the Junta to release Aung San Suu Kyi. Burma has promised to hold some form of elections in 2010 even though they are fixed and ban candidates like Aung Su Kyi It may not be perfect, but it is at least a step in the right direction.The world needs to pressure Burma to hold free fair elections and release all political prisoners including Aung Suu Kyi.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Taekwonweirdo under a Creative Commons license.

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1 comment


Again we see the crude forces of ignorance and self interest throwing out obstacles to stop this moral reformer in Burma. The forward progress of humanity will not be stopped. The bruits holding power can change the name of the country, but they can never change the name of their game. This evil game will not prevent the people from establishing a society with justice.

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