October 1, 2007
WHAT DO THEY WANT?:
Lessons from the Burmese uprising (Paul Reynolds, 10/01/07, BBC News)
So far, the Burmese military has held together. The campaign for democracy in Burma still hopes for rapid success but fears that the project will be more long-term.
In our day, we have perhaps become so used to seeing pro-democracy protestors toppling authoritarian governments that the difficulties involved can be underestimated.
A handbook for overthrowing such governments would have to include the following factors:
# Widespread public protests, bringing in many different social and economic groups
# An opposition leadership with clear ideas around which people can rally
# The ability to use the media in some form to get a message across
# A mechanism for undermining the existing regime - whether by internal coup in the case of a military junta, the emergence of reformers, or the simple exhaustion of an existing government leading to its collapse
# External pressure from key countries able to exert influence.
Experience has shown that a combination of the above is usually necessary for success.
She'd obviously be doing so at great risk to her own life, but it would be helpful if Ms Suu Kyi got word out about what the movement wants and why, so the Burmese and the world had something to rally around. Things are currently a tad opaque. Time for her Yeltsin moment. Posted by Orrin Judd at October 1, 2007 6:19 AM