Wednesday 4 April 2012

Burmese Spring?

I try not to get too excited about the elections in Burma. Even though Aung San Suu Kyi was one of 40 National League of Democracy candidates to get elected, the 45 by-elections form a tiny part of the 664 parliementary seats already dominated by the military rulers. If the regime leaders feel under threat as the 2015 elections come closer, they can easily change the rules of the game.

So why the 'free and fair' elections? Well, some may suggest that it allows the easing of sanctions that have been making it hard for the Burmese Government to rule. Now they appear to be playing 'the game', they may be allowed access to European and US markets. They have much to gain, but little to lose with these elections.

I am hopeful though, and here's why. I believe that Daw Suu is an unstoppable force for good, and 90% of the People of Burma know this in their hearts. My Burmese friends are really excited about these changes. They don't trust the government, but they believe that a tidal wave of change is coming.

We must be vigilant over Burma, its rulers have a history of violence and repression and a lot of it is recent history. But this Easter, let us also remember that the world has often seen hope triumph over the depths of despair. The Burmese spring is inevitable after a long cold winter.

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