Friday, January 13, 2012

Burma moves forward

The Burmese government has released 651 prisoners, amongst whom are political prisoners detained since 1988.

Although this release is to be welcomed, it has to be remembered that there are probably many more political prisoners that continue to languish in jail. Estimates based on disappearances of activists and official reports of past detentions place the number of possible detainees at between 1000 to 1500. The Association of Political Prisoners in Burma has estimated that more than 1500 prisoners have been detained for political reasons.

This release of prisoners is a step in the right direction. Hopefully, the Burmese government will continue down the road to democracy by releasing all of its political prisoners.

Meanwhile, I read something that was said by the US President that I couldn't help but be amused about. He was referring to a telephone conversation that he had with Aung San Suu Kyi when he was in Indonesia 2 months ago:

"In Indonesia, I spoke about the flickers of progress that were emerging in Burma. Today, that light burns a bit brighter, as prisoners are reunited with their families and people can see a democratic path forward,"

I couldn't help but think to myself... and one day that light will burn even brighter and reach America's backyard and set the men at Guantanamo free (or at least let them have their day in a court of law). The hypocrisy of Obama is mind-boggling and downright ugly. What am I talking about? This is, after all, the Nobel Peace Prize winner that bombs babies and buries them under the banner of collateral damage.