Reckless Regime in Myanmar
For the third time this month, Aung San Suu Kyi, the symbol of democracy in Myanmar, has been blocked from traveling outside the capital by the ruling military junta. In the latest incident, since last Friday the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and three associates have been sitting in their car outside the capital after security officers refused to let them attend a meeting of Suu Kyi’s opposition party.
The military has repeatedly crossed the line of justice and fair play in its decade-long attempt to destroy Suu Kyi’s unwavering effort to bring democracy to Myanmar, formerly Burma. The United States, Japan, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the European Union told Myanmar’s foreign minister that they want an immediate resolution to the standoff and promised to dispatch diplomats to stand by the opposition leader.
The military put her under house arrest in 1989, but her National League for Democracy partisans went on to overwhelmingly win the May 1990 elections. Her party was never allowed to take office. Released from confinement in 1995, she was immediately restricted in moving around the capital, Yangon, and the guard has tightened further since she recently called on the military government to convene a parliament of the winning candidates in the 1990 elections.
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, speaking Monday at a Manila meeting of the Assn. of Southeast Asian Nations, said the United States would hold Myanmar authorities directly responsible for Suu Kyi’s safety, noting that the government’s behavior has hardened over the past year to the point that a political explosion is increasingly possible and that the situation could upset regional stability.
All sides in Myanmar know that the people want democracy. The question is whether it must be born in blood.