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Aung San Suu Kyi independence
by Thanos Kalamidas
2008-01-04 10:11:01
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This year and apparently today, Burma, also known as Myanmar, celebrates 60 years of independence from the British. The nearby India celebrated its 60th year last year with magnificent celebrations that lasted for days and you would expect Burma to follow but instead of celebrations what will be left this year for the Burmese people are tears and sorrow.

ovi_burma02_400A country jewel for the world, a country with beautiful forests, jungles; a country with magnificent ancient cities that count centuries of civilization and thousands of the most beautiful and artistic worked Pagodas that should be the pride of earth’s civilization, monuments of human art. Instead of that, there's a group of officers that torture and kill the people of Burma every single hour.

These very same people who rule this beautiful country have led Burma to be the international pariah, suspect of the biggest drugs trafficking in the world and one of the biggest heroin producers. The country that should be the centre of Buddhism faith is the country that poisons the world with drugs. Burma is one of the largest exporters of teak from her gigantic forests; a country proud of her production of pearls, rubies and sapphires; a country with huge deposits in oil and gas is the very same country habituated from the poorest people in the world. The drug dealers are no other than the corrupted officers of the Burma army, the very same people who supposedly govern for the good of the people.

The very same officers, if you could ever call torturers and drug dealers officers, have pushed their country into exile among the international community; it's not recognized by most of the international organizations and since 1989 the State of Law and Order Restoration Council, that’s how the military dictators call themselves, adopted the name Union of Myanmar for the country and Senior General Than Shwe is the don, the godfather, the chief criminal or the leader of the council as he likes to call himself, but you must never forget that in one way or another the army has ruled ruthlessly, killing and torturing since 1962 which a very long time and an embarrassment for our civilization.

As I mentioned above, one of the best reasons to visit Burma is the number of ancient cities and the unbelievable number of Pagodas since the country, neighbouring with Tibet, has long been – 'long' meaning since the 11th century – the centre of Buddhism and it does attract a lot of tourism even though every time anybody thinks about Burma in your mind you see the pictures of monks being shot in the street from the army while demonstrating for democracy and a better future for the people, plus the unbelievably sad eyes of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Aung San Suu Kyi, the Peace Nobel Prize winner, a tragic persona and leader of the democratic movement in the country. Aung San Suu Kyi has put the fight of the Burma people above herself and her family, her husband died after a long fight with cancer in London and she could not be there knowing that if she had used the dictators offer to go there would be no way back and she would stay in exile, while staying in the country, even if that meant in prison, her presence would inspire the people to fight harder against the dictators.

ovi_burma03Twice in the last two decades Burma has reached our hearts, both times in the face of this woman obviously tortured and disgraced and the fight of the people for democracy have taken shape with her. Her big black eyes in a very thin, skeletal thin face has often looked in our souls through the television screen begging for help, asking for us to look in her country. In 1990 the country had democratic elections for first time and her party the National League for Democracy won, but instead of the Prime Minister’s seat she was assigned a small prison cell, which is now called house arrest.

Last year in 2007, till the very last moments Burma kept sad surprises for all of us, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto was a devastating event that changed a lot in that part of the world and unfortunately events like that are coming more often one after the other making us forget other tragic figures we need to remember - not only when our television screen is filled with dead bodies.

Nothing has changed in Burma. The ruthless gangsters and drug dealing army officers still rule the country via torture and murder killing the poor citizens of this country. At the same time Aung San Suu Kyi is still in prison with her fragile health getting worst and unfortunately Ban Ki-Moon, the latest failure of UN Secretary, is still talking with the dictators about the situation. That’s the reality of a beautiful country we should never forget. 60 years after their independence the Burmese people are not free and the only way to be free is when Aung San Suu Kyi earns her independence!

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