I am not sure why or how, but lately my train of thought has turned to the situation in Burma. A country that has gone from being one of the wealthiest in Asia to being one of the poorest in the world thanks to the most enlightened rule of the junta who decided in 1962 that democracy was not good enough for the country.
You have probably heard of these guys already. Back in 1990 they decided to hold a free and fair election and apparently, to the surprise of the world, the actually kept their word because a very nice lady by the name of Aung San Suu Kyi who is the leader of the National League of Democracy, a group devoted to having their country not be ruled by crazy men with guns. However the junta turned around and said “We said we would let you have an election but we didn’t say anything about it meaning anything” so they threw out the results and put the nice lady in prison. Perhaps I should mention that her dad helped to free Burma from British rule and was the founder of the Burmese Army. Then, after about eighteen years of being complete and udder jerks a cyclone hits their country resulting in widespread destruction and death. The international community swarms in to help. What does the junta do? They refused to let anyone provide their country with any aide because they did not want to expose the people of their country to foreign influences. These douche bags value staying in power more than they value their own citizens. Yet they think nothing of continuing with a referendum on a constitution that keeps them in power.
That was not the first time the junta screwed the Burmese over, shortly after they took power in 1962 the instituted something called “The Burmese Way to Socialism”, yeah I know the word “socialism” should tip you off as to how bad this is going to be already. But let’s just say it totally screwed up the country’s economy taking it from one of the wealthiest country’s in Asia to one of it poorest. When people finally had enough in 1988 and revolted the junta responded by declaring martial law and throwing out the pretense of Socialism and said “Screw it we aren’t about anything other than keeping ourselves in power.” At least we should give the credit for being honest.
Well about a month ago they held elections in Burma again. The junta seemed to have learned their lesson this time since the party they supported won about 79% of the vote. The nice lady sadly learned her lesson as well decided to sit this one out. Though some members of her group formed their own party decided to run. They did not do so well. International authorities declared the whole thing to be a sham.
I hope that you have figured out that I do not like these people. This junta that has ruled for nearly fifty years is nothing more than a bunch of morally bankrupt old men that desire nothing more than to keep themselves in power. They destroyed their country with their outmoded ideas. They persecute other ethnic minorities including the Karen people. If you have seen Rambo you may have heard about them. (Fun fact, when the junta banned the movie, it became a favorite among the Karen rebels to the point where “Live for nothing or Die for something” was adopted as a battle cry.) I hate these people so much that if many of you noticed by now. I refuse to use the name that junta use for this country. I won’t even write it here.
Good news however, around the same time as the election, the freed the nice lady from house arrest. One hopes that this might be start of some mass “People Power” revolt where the people rise up and regain their freedom. But sadly those things have failed before. As an American, I find myself to be a strong believer in the idea of freedom and the idea that if a people want to be free badly enough nothing can stop them. It is simply a question of whether the people of Burma want freedom badly enough.
I hope the nice lady gets to be prime minister. She won the real election after all.