Monday, September 29, 2008
Conveniently, Myanmar forgets about repression
Maybe the military rulers of the southeast Asian country of Myanmar, formerly Burma, just forgot that their totalitarian government's refusal to recognize a national election and continued repression of its pro-democracy citizens is the reason international sanctions were imposed by the West. Maybe it just slipped their minds that they have held Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the opposition National League for Democracy party, under arrest or house arrest for 13 of the past 19 years. Why else would Myanmar's foreign minister tell the United Nations that it's the sanctions, not the repression, that are causing its problems. "Powerful countries should refrain from practicing hegemonic policies, either through political or economic pressures," Foreign Minister Nyan Win said Monday in a speech to the General Assembly, according to the Reuters international news service. "My own country has the potential to contribute to energy and food security of our region." But for those nasty sanctions. The penalties were imposed by the United States and European Union last year after 31 people died and 3,000 arrested in a military crackdown on pro-democracy protests by Buddhist monks. The U.N. Security Council has demanded the release of all political prisoners, including Suu Kyi. Her party won the general election in 1990 but the country's military government refused to recognize the results, according to the BBC.