Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Aung San Suu Kyi on Hunger Strike

I heard this morning that Suu Kyi has not accepted her weekly delivery of food since August 15 and is rumored to be on a hunger strike. [1] She has spent 13 of the last 19 years in prison or under house arrest, and has not been seen in public since September, 2007.[2] And the military junta has just extended her detention for another year. [3]

Burma has one of the worst human rights records in the world: a country of only 20 million people with a thousand political prisoners, 500,000 political refugees, poets and journalists tortured for speaking out.[4]

I passed along this news to a friend and former colleague with whom I worked in Amnesty International some years ago, who was lamenting the fact that despite all our efforts advocating for human rights, such monstrosities still continue. "History has moved on into an even stranger world that I no longer feel relevant to," he said.

I know how he feels. I've been thinking the same thing lately. But what is it about this woman that makes it so insistent that the fight must go on? Imagine ... winning your country's election, winning the Nobel Peace Prize, and your country's military junta is so afraid of what you represent that they lock you up and forbid you visitors, not even a dying husband wanting to see his wife one last time. This woman is a giant, and they know it. Even if they succeed in killing her, she will have won.

And where is the rest of the world, while this continues? Why aren't more speaking up for Aung San Suu Kyi??

I find that so bizarre--that an army of over 400,000 soldiers is so afraid of this one woman. It says volumes, both about them--and her.

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