Democracy lovers of the world have expressed their pleasure at the release of Burmese democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Saturday. Her release clearly signifies that the Burmese military dictatorship is getting far more enfeebled. The military rulers there cannot now conceal their moral defeat.
Burmese democracy fighter Aung San Suu Kyi by www.burmaactionireland.org
The military dictators tried their best to suppress the democratic movement in Myanmar by putting Aung San Suu Kyi under house detention for 15 years. Nevertheless, her moral courage never died. The world's democracy and freedom lovers were with them.
While the world has deep-rooted gender discriminations, she has demonstrated an indomitable moral stance in favor of democracy and human rights. This is something the women of the world have to learn from her. While more and more educated and professional women are getting indifferent to politics and women's multidimensional emancipation, Aung San Suu Kyi has stood as a vivid example to all of them. While more women are serving the ruling men as fashion queens and entertainment tools, Aung San Suu Kyi has shown them the worth of life.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has proved her staunch self-determination for democracy and against the military dictatorship. This is what is worth remembering for the international community.
Since the Burmese military rulers have depended on their traditional roots for maintaining their suppressive rule, their latest show of election does not mean much. They have worn a mask of democracy through the recent election. Had they ever respected democracy, they would not detain Aung San Suu Kyi whose party won the general election by 82 percent of votes in 1990.
She was imprisoned at home as she was in a position to become Myanmar's prime minister. She did not let her party National League for Democracy deviate from nonviolent political vision, avoiding the greater possibility of civil war. War promoting power centers would definitely be interested in investing in Burma too. But Aun San Suu Kyi's clear stance for fighting with moral power did not give such a chance to war profiteers.
Aung San Suu Kyi's release has allowed her to renew her party and the Burmese democratic movement.
She enjoys the unprecedented international support for her service to democratic norms. But certain belligerent and colonialist forces under the veil of the international support always try to hijack genuine democracy by mobilizing their brainwashed loyal puppets. This is another grave concern for the international democratic movement, including that of Myanmar. While renewing her democratic movement, Aun San Suu Kyi has a serious responsibility of going deeper into her country's grassroots political and socio-economic characteristics. The more transformation-minded she becomes, the more support she enjoys at home.
Asian countries have, apart from differences, so many similarities as to the nature of their politics, economy and society. Most of the Asian countries have not been able to adopt a genuinely democratic political path though they often wear more decorated "democratic' garments.
One can find much evidence for this argument. For instance, the global media call India the largest democracy in the world. But one has to look deeper into the ground realities of India to verify this publicity. Does the world ever know that India has preserved medieval practice of caste untouchability--so-called untouchables, politically known as the Dalits (more than 170 million according to Indian government statistics), are treated as animals. Is this the nature of the largest democracy?
Besides politically preserved caste discriminations, other forms of medieval injustices such as the murder of hundreds of women in the name of dowry and witchcraft exist strongly in India. Murder-minded forces politically tagged but founded on religious feudalism have been carrying out crusades, de-humanizing the Indian society and neutralizing human rights sensitivity at the same time. Does the world know that India has maintained all-pervasive feudalism in politics, economy and society? Therefore, democracy must never be understood just in terms of investment atmosphere for multinational companies. If the greatest majority of people have to suffer the hells, it is no longer democracy for them.
People's human dignity and living standard in Nepal and India prove that the peoples of both the nations have to work hard for genuine democracy with a view to getting rid of phony and disguised democracy. The same applies to Myanmar in the current context. With the release of the democratic heroine of the country, the need to fight for genuine democracy from the very beginning has been felt so as to avoid the frustration that the peoples of other countries have developed because of elitist democracy, only favoring domestic oligarchs and multinational investors.
The Burmese democratic movement surely needs the international support. But there must be no imposed conditions for the support. Nepali political leaders, like unthinking dolls, succumb to foreign interests, neglecting national interests. This should not happen in Burma in the name of democracy. Good things that happen in Burma can be conducive to the democratic movement in other Asian, African and Latin countries. Always clinging to puppet politics and working against the change-minded working class people is totally against democratic principles.
It is hoped that Aung San Suu Kyi, though from a highly elitist and prosperous family background, will work not only to cater to Western capitalists but also for the have-nots of Burma. The military rulers have entered a certain stage of defeat in Burma at present though they have tried to restrengthen themselves through a showy election. This situation, though fraught with serious challenges, provides Aung San Suu Kyi and her party a golden opportunity to generate ideas for grassroots democratic movement. Only by mobilizing the working class people for the multidimensional transformation of their lives will democratic leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi and her colleagues flourish. Otherwise, democratic movement there, even after remarkable success, will degenerate like in Nepal and India (however these are not the only countries for citing as examples).
The greatest need for Asians now is to combine democracy with the implementation of human rights at grassroots level. So far, Asian peoples have believed their elitist and smart leaders. But they have wasted their decades just by waiting good things to happen. Their leaders never fulfilled promises of big changes. Leaders' individual prosperity has climbed up the mount everest while the largest majority have become mere tools of profits for them. Corruption and ill-governance have become tolerable to donor countries and aid agencies so long as the ruling elites are obedient and beneficial to them. It would be good if the Burmese democratic fighters take steps by understanding this nature of nasty international diplomacy.
Finally, the release of Aung San Suu Kyi is one step forward in the Burmese democratic movement. Especially, the deprived and marginalized Burmese will test the democratic leaders in the days to come--will democracy be for them or only for the most powerful like in many other Asian countries?