I watched in dismay as the UN Security Council expressed "serious concern" about the extended detention of Myanmar's Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. It is interesting to note how this decision highlights the state of affairs on the international scene today. Britain and the US have always condemned Myanmar's military leadership as illegitimate and branded the generals violators of human rights. China, the west's biggest economic partner has always had dealings with the Burmese generals and has largely helped keep the country afloat as well as shielded from UN sanctions. China insists that Myanmar's sovereignty should be respected and the people allowed to determine their own fate. The reality on the ground however is different, with absolutely no free press in the country; it has become next to impossible for the people to voice their opinions. In fact, international news networks have no presence in the country and rely on "Citizen Journalists" like "Burma VJs" to get news from the country. Analysts say it has become increasingly difficult for these independent voices to keep the news coming out as the military government has cracked down on their activities, forcing some of them to flee into exile.
The UN's so called non binding document expressing serious concern is nothing more than a show of words. It is simply the world saying to the people of Myanmar that "we've heard about your problems but money rules!" The west cannot afford to go against China especially in these times of a global economic recession where it has become the west's biggest lender. The US recently strengthened ties with Beijing with various bi-lateral trade agreements and despite stating that it would pursue the issue of human rights, it remains to be seen if Washington will convince Beijing to pay more attention to such matters. It seems that money and influence compromises integrity even or most especially in the highest corridors of power.
For the people of Burma/Myanmar who struggle to bring the truth to light, the UN statement is mere lip service that they have been given before. For a people who increasingly feel that there is no one left to speak out for them, the hope that the people of the world will stand with them is that much further. These events should perhaps give other would be champions of peace food for thought, for we who are peacemakers do what we do with the belief that we speak for the people, for "The voice of the people is the voice of God."