Myanmar / Burma: Good News, Bad NewsFirst, the good news.
United States Senator Jim Webb went to Burma (Myanmar, according to the Junta running the country), asked for the release of John William Yettaw: and got it.
Yettaw had been tried and convicted of illegal activity which included swimming to the home of Aung San Suu Kyi and staying there, uninvited, for two days. That was in May of this year. He had, it seems, violated:
- Immigration laws
- Municipal laws
- Suu Kyi's house arrest terms
Senator Webb also met with Suu Kyi, and with Myanmar's top official, junta leader Senior Gen. Than Shwe. Webb asked for the release of Suu Kyi. That, he didn't get.
I think I can understand that. Suu Kyi is a Burmese leader who doesn't entirely approve of what the ruling junta is doing. That's not the sort of person military juntas like to have running around loose, as a rule. I don't approve of the junta, either: but that doesn't mean I can't see why they wouldn't want to keep Suu Kyi under house arrest.
Myanmar / Burma: Same Old News
"... 'I don't think Sen. Webb can be proud for the release of Mr. John Yettaw, while our leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who is the real victim of this conspiracy and injustices, and two women colleagues are still under detention,' said Aung Din, executive director of the Washington-based U.S. Campaign for Burma.Aung Din has a point: half of Senator Webb's efforts ended in failure. He didn't get the release of Suu Kyi.
" 'This will surely make a negative impression among the people of Burma. They will think that Americans are easy to satisfy with the dictators when they get their citizens back.'..."
The American Senator also didn't overthrow the ruling junta, restore peace, prosperity and democracy to Burma, heal the sick and cure the lame.
Despite the impression some people seem to have, Americans are neither horned fiends with pitchforks, or beings with shining wings and flaming swords. We're just a few hundred million people with the potential and flaws common to humanity - and for the last couple hundred years we've been doing a pretty good job of working with that package.
There's More - There's Always MoreYettaw's motives for swimming a lake in Burma are interesting by themselves - but that's a whole different topic.
- "Burma / Myanmar / Myanma - Suu Kyi's Still Under Arrest, So Are 2,000 Others"
(August 11, 2009)
- "Yettaw's actions in Myanmar 'regrettable' "
CNN (August 16, 2009)
- "International Pressure Mounts on Burma Over Detention of Aung San Suu Kyi"
Voice of America, via GlobalSecurity.org (May 15, 2009)