Narinjara News


Today’s “The Daily Star” editorial

2 June 2003

Suu Kyi taken into “ custody
Zero-tolerance for dissent again

The arrest of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi after a year of her release from house arrest has sent shock waves across the democratic world. The sudden denial of freedom to her comes in the thick of the opposition leader’s embarking on a month-long political tour of the country’s north. Her meet- the people program could not be looked kindly on by the military regime. In the latest incident, Suu Kyi’s supporters clashing with members of the junta-sponsored Union Solidarity Development Associate (USDA), four persons died and 50 were injured. This led to her arrest; the military leaders gave her a guarantee for free movement.

It is difficult to assume that the Myanmar opposition leader will be released any time soon given a new spurt in her movement. If this surmise proves right then the process of dialogue between the democracy leader and the military regime started in October 2002 under the UN auspices will have received a serious setback. Junta’s spokesman Brigadier General Than Tun hoped ‘ the events would not completely derail the political reconciliation process’. But the talks have stalled anyway for the last few months. If Than tun’s wishes are genuine then perhaps labour minister Tinn win should not have blamed Aung San Suu Kyi’ for the outbreak of violence’. Such criticism is not conciliatory.  

Her National League for Democracy is being berated for disturbing peace and Suu Kyi faulted with having given anti-government public speech--- all of basically reflecting a military regime’s attitude to political dissent. An electoral verdict delivered in favour of Suu Kyi more than two decades ago remains consigned   to oblivion and the democracy leader has been incarcerated for the better part of nearly two and a half decades. To save Myanmar from violence and give the voice of people its rightful place, the process of national reconciliation brokered by UN special envoy Razali Ismail will have to be revived. Meanwhile, the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi must be set free.