Farewell to a Revolutionary, Good Riddance to a Despot
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Farewell to a Revolutionary, Good Riddance to a Despot

By AUNG ZAW Tuesday, December 20, 2011

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The Burmese generals even attended North Korean diplomatic functions and Burma’s state-run newspapers published articles praising Kim Jong Il on his birthday.

That same year, the Burmese regime brutally cracked-down on the monk-led protest known as the Saffron Revolution, which Havel joined world leaders in condemning.

Only one year later, Burmese Gen Thura Shwe Mann made a clandestine visit to North Korea and signed a memorandum of understanding under which North Korea agreed to build or supervise the construction of special Burmese military facilities, including tunnels and caves in which missiles, aircraft and even naval ships could be hidden.

Security experts agree that North Korea has provided Burma with Scud-type missiles, missile parts, rocket launchers, other conventional weapons and underground warfare technology. On some occasions, US naval ships followed and turned away North Korean ships believed heading to Burma.

There are concerns that Burma’s clandestine purchases of military hardware and technology from North Korea are still ongoing, as reflected by the fact that during her recent visit to Burma, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Burmese leadership must stop any illicit military, nuclear and ballistic missile cooperation with North Korea that may violate UN sanctions on Pyongyang.

Indeed, Havel and Kim come from two different worlds and two different mindsets.

Havel was a man of peace who wanted to lift up his people and supported those in other countries that wanted to do the same. He gave the Burmese people the gifts of hope and inspiration through his ability to empower the powerless and his unwavering stance on the side of the ordinary people versus their oppressors.

Kim Jong Il was a man of perpetual war who oppressed his own people and helped other dictators do the same. He gave Burma’s rulers the gifts of military hardware and technology.

 I would recommend that the Burmese leaders take the time to peruse the online commentaries on the deaths of Vaclav Havel and Kim Jong Il. Then they should think seriously about which way they want to be remembered.

Related stories:  Havel, the Transcendent Man
                                   "Without inner freedom you can achieve nothing"

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C Thein Han Wrote:
I am sad to hear a good and sincere friend of the Burmese people Vaclav Havel has passed away, he always stood for the freedom and human rights for the citizens of Burma. He always reminded the international politicians to keep alive the struggle for Democracy in Burma and of the suffering of the Burmese people at the hands of the Military
Dictators. My respect to him for his love of Burma. As for Kim Jong II, he should have left this world earlier for the suffering and starvation he brought to his people and for suppressing the freedom and human rights of the North Korean people.

Shipra Tripathi Wrote:
brilliant article and such a relief to read the Irrawaddy, just to know that Myanmar is now actually opening up. the genius of the people once release will be an energy that will light the eastern world. All the best.

kerry Wrote:
When some people die, the world feels showered in the brilliance of their light, and hearts are full even if sad. Havel was one.

Others, like dictators, die ignobly, missed by no-one, and the world heaves a great sigh of relief, and hope that those who inherit the mantle of evil put it down quickly..

Those who murder others, or are party to murder, are never missed. Money matters not at all, and becomes a terrible burden for the descendents. In the end, like the children of the Nazis, they usually live gross and brittle lives of wrongful wealth, then move into insanity, or with a clean heart give it all back and join the beautiful stream of humanity.

N Korea was part of the old insanity, an uncaring, irresponsible insane male paranoid paradigm, whose time is well and truly over. Even Putin gets that. China not quite yet.

Some nations are dealing with historical corruption: others something far worse.

aung Wrote:
This is an excellent comparison between 'Good' and 'Evil' in a modern world. It is up to the Burmese government to choose between good and bad for their future. In 21st Century, young people like freedom and prefer to choose their own destiny, not the dictator or military government. Majority of dictators around the world start disappearing with either lost their reign or dead. Time is ticking for Than Shwe who just lost his partner.

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