Contact: Roland Watson, roland@dictatorwatch.org


May 13, 2012

Please forward this to as many people as possible.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has joined Parliament. Ok. I understand her reasons, even if I think the move was ill-advised. What I don't get, though, is why she agreed to end the sanctions, to put development before freedom and peace. Why is she supporting the inroads into Burma by corporate labor exploiters, land thieves, and environmental rapists? There wasn't any rush. It would have been much better to postpone economic development until there was real, irreversible, democratic change. To me, this is a monumental mistake.

Development before freedom is wrong. It will actually make freedom more difficult if not impossible to achieve. Every new foreign participant will instantly become a partner and ally of the military regime. Further, they will all have a major incentive not to see freedom achieved, ever, since this will bring uncertainty to their investments - which uncertainty businesses abhor. Just like in China, development and then freedom - yes, this is the same tired, pathetic and absolutely false "constructive engagement" argument - will result in development but no freedom.

Daw Suu has called for sustainable aid, which is what the the people of Burma really need. Well done. However, it is imperative that she correct her position on commercial development. Years ago, maybe ten or more, she said, in support of the U.S. sanctions, that there was no hurry to trade with Burma. The people of the country had much more pressing concerns, for freedom and to satisfy their basic needs. In response to her discussions with Hillary Clinton, Derek Mitchell, David Cameron, and all their diplomatic and corporate associates, however, she has apparently changed her mind.

Again, this is a huge mistake. Daw Suu, if you have the courage that we all hope and believe that you have, please correct it. Please make a clear statement to put the brakes on the Burma Gold Rush. It shouldn't be that difficult. No Gold Rush in history has ever had positive long-term consequences. It is profiteering, pure and simple. Please oppose the profiteers that are now preying on Burma.

Closing note: I know it is almost impossible, since Daw Suu appears to be as cloistered as Senior General Than Shwe, completely isolated from personal appeals, but would anyone who is in a position to do so please forward her this statement. Burma's social and environmental future is at stake. She is the only one who has the power to prevent the imminent ruination of the country.