15 June 2011

Aung San Suu Kyi versus Mir Hossein Moussavi Khamenei and Mehdi Karroubi

I object vehemently to the public statement of the Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat (Office for the Consolidation of Unity) of 24 Khordad 1390 (14 June 2011), the day after the anniversary of the first protests in June 2009 (Khordad 1388). The first protests of the Green Revolution were on 13 June 2009 (23 Khordad 1388) that year, not 12 June (22 Khordad), the day ten-year old Mohammad died on Ganji Street in Tehran, the first of the 168 (or 206) to die so far.

In very bad taste and rude manners, the statement compared former prime minister Mr. Mir Hossein Moussavi Khamenei and former Speaker of the Majlis Hojat al-Islam Medhi Karroubi to Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, saying that their current situation compares to hers.

Equating Moussavi Khamenei and Karroubi with that grand lady is like equating Mikhail Gorbachev with Mohatma Gandhi, or Al Sharpton with Bobby Sands.

To begin with, in her FIFTEEN YEARS of house arrest, Ms. Suu Kyi was allowed to see persons other than her guards only on rare occasions, and none of those whom she was allowed to see were related to her. Most of those had already been imprisoned by the SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration Council) junta anyway.

Next, Suu Kyi has at all times opposed the regime, called it criminal, and marched at the vanguard of the movement for democratic constitutional change. Literally marched, with the people who called her leader, not issued statements about how she was planning to attend in order for the regime to have time to conveniently place goons around her house to keep her from getting out.

Well, until they locked her away in 1990 (1369) for half a decade, that is. Upon regaining her freedom in 1995 (1374), she immediately took up where she had left off, and the Burmese regime eventually placed her under house arrest again in 2000 (1379), this time for a full decade, not releasing her until late in 2010 (1389).

In all, Aung San Suu Kyi has spent a year longer under house arrest than Mohammad Mosaddegh did after the coup d’etat led by Grand Ayatollah Kashani and Ayatollah Behbehani with Grand Ayatollah Tabatabai Boroujerdi looking on in approval.

The same Tabatabai Boroujerdi who as sole maraj-e taqlid in Iran sent his assistant, Ayatollah Ruhollah Moussavi Khomeini, to congratulate the Shah personally upon his return to power.

During her few years of freedom between 1995 (1374) and 2000 (1379), her husband Dr. Michael Aris was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer. The Burmese junta refused him a visa and instead suggested she leave. Knowing she would almost certainly be denied an reentry visa if she did so, Suu Kyi remained.

Dr. Aris died on 27 March 1999 (7 Farvadin 1378). The last time the husband and wife had seen each other was Christmas 1995 (1374).

Suu Kyi, unlike the two reformists has called for regime change and a new constitution since she first stepped to the head of the freedom movement in her country. Unlike Moussavi Khamenei and Karroubi, she has never participated in a regime which she condemns. When part of her party, the National League for Democracy, broke off to form the National Democratic Front to do that, she remained with her party.

Unlike the so-called Green Path of Hope, the National League for Democracy is a true mass organization with democratic principles. Where Moussavi Khamenei and Karroubi echoed their regime’s condemnation of sanctions imposed on Iran, Suu Kyi has consistently and strongly supported sanctions against the regime in her own country.

Suu Kyi wants freedom, democracy, social justice, constitutional change, human rights, and civil liberties for the people of Burma. Moussavi Khamenei and Karroubi want the “ideals of Imam Khomeini”, a return to the “Golden Age” of the Islamic Republic, sharia, and velayat-e faqih for the people of Iran.

Speaking of Gandhi, by the way, elsewhere in the reformist press the cheerleaders of the not-so-Dynamic Duo are comparing their two wannabe leaders with Gandhi, and their idea of the movement’s goals to his Satyagraha campaign. They are like Christians chatting about how free enterprise capitalism is with compatible Christianity. And as John Kenneth Galbraith noted, anyone who believes that thesis does not understand at least one of the two ideologies.

Besides the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, Aung San Suu Kyi has been awarded the Thorolf Rafto Memorial Prize by the Rafto Foundation for Human Rights in Sweden in 1990. The same year, she was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the European Parliament. In 1992, the government of India gave her the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding and the (pre-Chavez) government of Venezuela the International Simon Bolivar Prize. In 2007, the government of Canada made her an honorary citizen, one of only five person so honoured.

And Mir Hossein Moussavi Khamenei and Medhi Karroubi?

Those sounds you hear in the otherwise dead silence are the chirping of crickets and the singing of 17-year cicadas.

In closing, Mr. Moussavi Khamenei and Hojat al-Islam Karroubi have nothing in common whatsoever with Dr. Suu Kyi, or with Mohandas K. Gandhi for that matter. To suggest that there is in order to better one’s position in the cutthroat chess game of the politics of the Islamic Republic is an insult not only to the Lady and to the Burmese people, especially her comrades, but to the people of Iran.

Rooze ma khahad amad.

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