Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Power or is it fear?

Aung San Suu Kyi once said about fear. "It is not power that corrupts, but fear," she noted in 1990 when she was already under house arrest.

Aung San Suu Kyi  is a Burmese opposition politician and was General Secretary of the National League for Democracy.

In 1990, the military junta called a general election, which the National League for Democracy won by an overwhelming 80.8% of the votes.

Being the NLD's candidate, Aung San Suu Kyi under normal circumstances would have assumed the office of Prime Minister.

Instead, the results were nullified, and the military refused to hand over power.

This resulted in an international outcry. Aung San Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest at her home on University Avenue

She has remained under house arrest in Myanmar for almost 14 out of the past 20 years.

Apart from being well known for her courage she has also made these memorable remarks

'Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it'

'And fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it... '

'Fear slowly stifles and destroys all sense of right and wrong'

She also believes fear spurs many world leaders to lose sight of their purpose.

Government leaders are amazing, she once said.

'So often it seems they are the last to know what the people want'.


'The only real prison is fear'

'And the only real freedom is freedom from fear'

We bang on about fear quite often so it is powerful to read these remarks from one who has had to, and still has to endure a very difficult life herself

Interestingly the absolute Burmese military leader Senior- General Than Shwe is showing some new signs of paranoia

In the run-up to a long promised but still unscheduled general election, the first for 20 years, Burma's military dictator, Senior-General Than Shwe, has taken a step full of peril

He has ordered his uniformed cabinet ministers to resign from the army.
Those faceless generals who adorn the front page of the New Light of Myanmar, the regime's daily paper, inspecting fish-packing factories and barrages, will still be running the country, and anything resembling democratic governance will be as far away as ever.
But the look of things will have changed.
The ministers will wear longyi, the traditional Burmese sarong-like garment.
And crucially for them, they will no longer enjoy the status and respect which, in a country ruled with an iron fist by the military for half a century, is the army's prerogative.
Irrawaddy, the expatriate Burmese news website, predicts trouble.
Senior-General Than Shwe is facing a mutiny among his subordinates, it claimed last week.

There are growing signs of discontent among his cabinet ministers...

They have been betrayed by their boss.
Like it or not, army uniforms are a symbol of authority in Burma, it went on.
Those who wear them always get priority over those who don't.
They are respected and can expect easy co-operation from others.
Suddenly they will lose that privilege.
Leaving the army also means that those ministers will not be included in the 25 per cent quota that the army has reserved for itself in the planned new parliament.

Now they are on their own, Irrawaddy columnist Bamargyi pointed out.

Unless Than Shwe supports them with some dirty deals from behind the scenes, they are sure to lose.

Once this happens, they are down the drain.

And Than Shwe himself?
A very superstitious man
A paranoid man
A survivor
This is his move to set the stage for his retirement
Interesting times approach

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