Struggles: State of Fear

The Fascist Disneyland

You're packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been
A place that has to be believed to be seen. --
U2 lyric from Walk On

In order to understand the struggles of Aung San Suu Kyi, one must first realize the opposition she struggles against. Burma--Myanmar, as the military regime has been calling the country since 1989--is a place that has to be believed to be seen to be seen. Burma is such an oppressed and fearful place, that the rest of the world would find it unimaginable that such conditions could exist. The rest of world, would have to trust ("believe") Aung San Suu Kyi's claims that human rights violations are constantly being perpetrated by the military junta. Only then would we realize ("see") what is really happening and get outraged. Modern hotel in Mandalay
Modern hotel in Mandalay

In recent times, the junta has opened its doors, hoping to lure in much needed tourism and foreign investment. It has claimed that it has ended the isolation and xenophobia that had been the trademark of the three decade long Ne Win dictatorship. New roads are being built in rural areas. New buildings are being constructed in the cities. Burma is "progressing."

But the truth of the matter is that Burma is not any better off than it was twenty or thirty years ago. The new roads being built are not for the benefit of the ordinary Burmese citizen. The scenic roads are for the sightseeing tourist. The flashy, new modern hotels are not built for the benefit the ordinary Burmese citizen. The new hotels are built to accommodate foreign businessmen who have decided to ignore the moral issues and to only look at profit. (By doing business with the regime, businessmen are only legitimizing the dictatorship.) Burma may look like it is modernizing, but the truth is that it is only an artificial mirage for the outsider. For the people living inside, Burma has only become what Aung San Suu Kyi calls, the "fascist Disneyland."

"The world is not fooled (by the regime)," said former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. " And we must not be silent."

Aung San Suu Kyi believes that the only true way for her country to "progress" is to give the government back to the people and end all human rights violations. Only when the oppression has been lifted would the people of Burma be able to rebuild their shattered country.

Burma is Ranked Last in Freedom

Photograph: (Modern hotel in Mandalay) In recent years, the Burmese government has hoped to lure in tourists and foreign investment. Aung San Suu Kyi believes that foreign nations should boycott Burma until the junta hands over power to the legitimate civilian government. Source:

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