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Monday, December 6, 2021

brazen politics of Myanmar !

The Sun never sets in British empire – they thundered but by mid 1940s, there was decolonization – in India, Gandhi got us freedom without bloodshed and Jawaharlal Nehru became the Prime Minister – around this time, many countries without Gandhi & Nehru too got freedom and the Union flag was lowered in ceremonies. 

No post on Indian freedom struggle – but one on contemporary happenings in our neighbouring Country – and about the female politician who has now been found guilty on charges of inciting dissent and breaking Covid rules under a natural disasters law.  She spent nearly 15 years in detention between 1989 and 2010 and World projected her to be peace icon though many inside the country saw her otherwise. Despite her landslide victory in 2015, the Nation’s  constitution forbade her from becoming president because her children were foreign nationals.

The Nation is Burma .. ..  some would remember reading in History books of Aung San, a revolutionary who was instrumental in Burma getting freedom.  Aung San was the founder of the Myanmar Armed Forces, and is considered the Father of the Nation of modern-day Myanmar. He was instrumental in Burma's independence from British rule, but was assassinated just six months before his goal was realized.Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, Aung San fled Burma to solicit support from Chinese communists but was recruited by Suzuki Keiji, a Japanese army intelligence officer stationed in Thailand, who promised support. Aung San recruited a small core of Burmese revolutionaries later known as the Thirty Comrades and left for Japan. During the Japanese occupation of Burma, he served as the minister of war in the Japan-backed State of Burma led by Dr. Ba Maw. As the tide turned against Japan, he switched sides and merged his forces with the Allies to fight against the Japanese. After World War II, he negotiated Burmese independence from Britain in the Aung San-Attlee agreement.

Years later, his  daughter, Aung San Suu Kyi, rose to prominence in politics.  She was Burma's State Counsellor and its 20th (and first female) Minister of Foreign Affairs in Win Myint's Cabinet until the 2021 Myanmar coup d'├ętat.  It is all about - Myanmar, also known as Burma, is in South East Asia.   The biggest city is Yangon (Rangoon), but the capital is Nay Pyi Taw.The main religion is Buddhism. There are many ethnic groups in the country, including Rohingya Muslims.The country gained independence from Britain in 1948. It was ruled by the armed forces from 1962 until 2011, when a new government began ushering in a return to civilian rule.

Aung San Suu Kyi was  once seen as a beacon for human rights - a principled activist who gave up her freedom to challenge the ruthless army generals who ruled Myanmar for decades.In 1991, Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, while still under house arrest, and hailed as "an outstanding example of the power of the powerless".In 2015, she led her National League for Democracy (NLD) to victory in Myanmar's first openly contested election in 25 years. But she was deposed by a coup in 2021 when the military took control and arrested her and the political leadership around her.

The ruling military changed the country's name from Burma to Myanmar in 1989. The two words mean the same thing but Myanmar is the more formal version.Some countries, including the UK, initially refused to use the name as a way of denying the regime's legitimacy.The military is now back in charge and has declared a year-long state of emergency.It seized control on 1 February 2021  following a general election which Ms Suu Kyi's NLD party won by a landslide.

The peace icon’s  reputation abroad was severely damaged by the way she handled the Rohingya crisis, which started in 2017.In 2019 Ms Suu Kyi appeared at the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) to defend her country against accusations of genocide.  Today comes the news that ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been sentenced to four years in prison, the first in a series of verdicts that could jail her for life.She was found guilty on charges of inciting dissent and breaking Covid rules under a natural disasters law.Ms Suu Kyi faces 11 charges in total, which have been widely condemned as unjust. She has denied all charges.The 76-year-old has been slapped with an array of charges, including multiple counts of corruption and violating the official secrets act.In one case Ms. Suu Kyi was convicted of violating Covid restrictions for waving at a group of supporters during last year's election campaign while wearing a mask and face shield.In the other she was found guilty of inciting unrest for a statement calling for public opposition to the coup put out by her party after she had already been taken into custody.

She has been under house arrest since a military coup in February which toppled her elected civilian government.It is not clear when or if Ms Suu Kyi will be placed in prison.Co-defendant Win Myint, the former president and Ms Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party ally, was also jailed on Monday for four years under the same charges.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
6th Dec 2021. 

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