Speculation abouth release of Suu Kyi stirs Rangoon
January 16 , 1995
Again, Rangoon is rife with rumours that Aung San Suu Kyi will be freed in january. But should they turn out to be true, the question remains: Will the Burma’s military leaders let her go freely?
U Rewatta Dhamma, a London-based Burmese monk who is serving as a go-between, is in Rangoon with the hope of meeting the detained opposition leader and Nobel Peace laugreate again.
The monk, who has good contacts with the State Law and Order Restoration Council, told reporters just before he went to Rangoon in December that Suu Kyi may be released in january. Many analysts and journalists do not believe so –but they have been trying to get visas to Rangoon to make sure they do not miss out if there is any dramatic event before the end of the month.
They argue that suu kyi will not be released until Slorc wrenches a guarantee from her that she will not re-enter Burmese politics. They maintain that even if Slorc frees her, she will remain under some form of surveillance. She will still be like everyone else.
“If they don’t release her thiis year, Slorc will definitely face more international protests and I don’t think the Burmese people will tolerate it,” a Bangkok- based diplomat said recently.Indeed, Suu Kyi is still supported by the Burmese people- but to the Slorc leaders who have ruled the country for six years without mandate, she remains a symbol of their illegitimacy and a danger to their power.
In reponser to recent questions from the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights on why Slorc continues to detain Suu Kyi, Foreign Minister Ohn Gyaw said that she had been influenced by anti-government groups in their attempt to seize political power for their own ends.
“For her own good and for the good of the country she has to be restrained in order to prevent her from promoting the cause of these unsavoury political elements who found their way and got themselves into positions of influence around her to create disunity among the only unified eastablish-ment left in the country: the tatmadaw [military], which was endeavouring to stabilize the situation created by the political vacuum,” he said.
Despite this, a foreign journalist who returned recently from Rangoon said, “People still count on her [Suu Kyi]. They are taking more risks to show that they don’t like Slorc” because of the recent meeting between the military and the dissident.
Two meetings Suu Kyi and Slorc leaders at the Army Guest House were shown on Burmese TV but with no accompanying sound track or commentary. A Burmese in Rangoon said,“We are not be ing informed so we just guess what will they talk about and di scuss?.” In the absnce of real information there have been plenty of rumours about the talks.
There was also rumour that Aung San Suu Kyi met Burma’s strongman Gen Ne Win on October 30.
Additionally regarding her meeting with Slorc leaders, it was said that Slorc Chairman Senior Gen Than Shwe spent the whole of the first meeting lecturing Suu Kyi on Slorc principles. And then in the second meeting, judge advocate Brig-Gen Than Oo delieved a similar Convention. However, the observer in London said a proper dialogue really did take place between Suu Kyi and the Slorc- not just a one-way lecture. At any event, the most important question is still: when will she be freed and will she be allowed to participate in politics? Slorc leaders have repeatedly told Suu Kyi to leave for a foreign country. But she insisted she would no leave the country even for five minutes.
So if the Slorc released Suu Kyi in january of this year, there must be some conditions. “The Slorc leaders have worked hard to push through the National Convention, and do not seem to have left much room for flexibility. Some people say the Slorc will offer her some kind of job, working with them for some worthy objective,” the London abserver said.
As things stand at the moment, Suu Kyi cannot become heard of stste as the Slorc-run National Convention guarantees the military a “ leading role” in politics. It has also introduced clauses that would effectively bar Suu Kyi from ever becoming Burma’s leader because of her marriage to a foreigner and her life overseas.
Opposition members in exile said they do believe Suu Kyi will talk about the 1990 election results with Slorc leaders.Suu Kyi’s party- the NLD won a landslide victory.“ She is in a difficult position, but I don’t think she will gi ve up very easily. She knows how the Burmese people have kept their faith in her. Burmese, she will not damage her father’s reputation,” said a former NLD member now in exile. Tint Zaw, a former university lecturer and political activist, said that now is the time to put more pressure on Slorc to free Suu Kyi.