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Can Burma achieve democracy?

07:30 UK time, Sunday, 7 November 2010

Burma's main military-backed political party says it won about 80% of votes, in the first election in 20 years. What is your reaction?

Pro-democracy opposition groups say their early leads at the ballot box had been undone by fraud.

Meanwhile, fighting linked to the poll between ethnic Karen rebels and government forces has caused at least 15,000 people to flee into Thailand.

What have the Burma elections achieved? Can the vote have any credibility? Will Burma see true democracy?

Thank you for your comments. This debate has now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    How do we define democracy? There is no or very little democracy in so many third-world so called democratic countries. Does any body care? No. Democracy in Burma would be our wildest dream.

  • Comment number 2.

    It will prove to the thinking Burmese that voting under restricted conditions DO NOT make a democracy.

    There is no doubt it is window dressing for some Eastern Countries who do not have democracies themselves either to support the military dictatorship.

  • Comment number 3.

    The Burma vote will be no more legitimate than Iran's sham vote.

    There are many countries that claim to have a free and fair elections, but many do not. A free one means no blocking of access to the media or dignity battlions or banning popular canidates.

  • Comment number 4.

    Burma(Myanmar) is slowly coming out of the "dark ages" but the military regime is still in charge. Aung San Suu Kyi is the Joan of Ark of Burmese politics but her wings are clipped! As long as the generals hold on to power they will never surrender their cushy positions. These elections only bring into focus the total disparity between those in power and those craving for human rights and real justice.

  • Comment number 5.

    The general election in Burma is nothing but a sham. The military regime under world pressure has called for white wash election which as everyone know, will never remove the key military figures who are unlikely to hand over the reigns of power to a civilian controlled government. The ruling junta are a determined lot who will ensure their rule are entrenched forever.

    Without the key opposition personalities such as Madam Aung San Suu Kyi and others not contesting in this general election, in the eyes of the world, it can never be a credible one.

    No authoritarian rule has ever lasted long and so it will be for Burma's ruling military junta. History is full of collapsed authoritarian regimes. Former presidents of the Philippines Marcos, Indonesian president Suharto, Iraq's president Sadam Hussain and Idi Amin of Uganda just to name a few.

    I hope the the military regime of Burma will soon realize that they cant rule the country for eternity by the barrels of a gun. It would be wise of them to relinquish power to a civilian elected government.

  • Comment number 6.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 7.

    With the people who achieved over 80% of the popular vote last time boycotting this sham election there is no credibility whatsoever. The wonderful democracy of China will of course support the ruling junta and our friends across the channel will continue to back up the regime by getting their oil and gas out of the ground. The largest democracy in the world will assist in this too. Shame on them all, its time for any of us with a sense of morality to boycott Total Oil.

  • Comment number 8.

    I doubt, like in many other countries having democratic institutions , that Burman democracy is making any real progress. If I would put a loose but very brief definition of democracy, it would be "tolerance and acceptance of the other". And for this to come true it is not enough to see democracy "implemented" in institutions. This tolerance and accepatance of the other must become a culture that is common among all involved parties in a democracy. That is , all parties should be able to tolerate the views of others and respect them no matter how different they are. And every party should be able to hand over power and step back to opposition should the majority chooses so. While we see many countries having political parties, parliaments, elected governments, etc., we see little stability or genuine democracy in many of them.

  • Comment number 9.

    hahahaha that's funny

  • Comment number 10.

    No not as long as the 1). The military are running the process
    2). Western countries and companies do business and trade with Burma

  • Comment number 11.

    As long as China continues to prop up these tinpot dictatorships then there will never be any form of democaracy.

  • Comment number 12.

    There is no way that the elections can be free and fair, they are not even democratic as the true leader of the country is held continually in their house by the insurgent generals.

  • Comment number 13.

    How can Burma have a democratic system when the true political leader has no voice?

  • Comment number 14.

    How can a dictator bring about a democracy, well these elections are nothing more then a show off, of so called democracy. I am from Pakistan i have been through same situations and my experience says the vote of Burmans don't bring any change. There will be rigging during the elections in 20 years there is first time elections held but to no avail

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    Burma?? what about us?? When can Britain achieve Democracy?

    There is still only one REAL democracy in Europe, Switzerland.

    Does anyone know when our benign dictatorship of european elitists is giving us a vote on Europe?
    Can Aung San Suu Kyi please come and help the British people to achieve this fundamental democratic right to self determination?

  • Comment number 17.

    I don't think there will be a bit change for people of Burma after election. To see democracy is very little chance in such a least developed country which was under regime since independence.

  • Comment number 18.

    As any ruling regime is a product of that country's culture, it is a sad fact that any effort made by the international community to analyse the situation from their own point of view will be weighted unfairly against them in their eyes and meet resistance for that reason.

    We must allow different cultures to evolve in their own time, in their own direction, or anyone attempting to help will be blamed for every future dispute. We have seen that in Iraq, Afghanistan and every commonwealth country, who all seem to blame Britain for every broken toenail, corrupt politician and famine.

    We MUST leave them alone, stop telling them what is right for them and allow them to reach a point where in order to survive and function as a nation, THEY must accept their own faults and rectify them accordingly.

  • Comment number 19.

    Difficult to tell, really, from Ipswich.

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    The idea that elections make a democracy is a very old fashioned idea (as in ancient Greek old) one could even imagine, especially with modern technology, having a democracy with no elections. There is no absolutely accepted definition of democracy but there are certain factors which many would see as being essential, many would argue for freedom of diverse cultural expression (France has difficulties with this one), respect for the rights of the individual, specifically respect for their Human Rights as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Many British opeople have difficulties with this one), independent judicial policy is another, Being able to move from place to place, Capability to make choices in ones life, access to education and so on.
    A more succinct definition might be where everyone in a society has "right of citizenship to be exercised under conditions of freedom, equality, transparency and responsibility, with due respect for the plurality of views"

    One should be positive, elections are a move in the right direction but elections (even if they were free ones) are not the same as democracy.

  • Comment number 22.

    Telling other races/countries how they should and shouldn't live is racism.

    The west has a long history of telling foreign people how they should and should not conduct their internal affairs.

    But the British culture of "we know best" where foreign people is concerned runs deep within the British culture.

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    Fair ? No chance. The only answer in Burma is a total uprising against the generals and that has no chance of being in the near future. As long as China and other countries recognise the Burmese government/dictatorship nothing will happen

  • Comment number 25.

    These articles are nothing to do with democracy, the real reason is access for western companies to exploit the labour and resources of a region.

    So communist China is "good", while communist Cuba and North Korea are "bad".

    Disaster zones like Haiti are "good" while disaster zones like Zimbabwe and Burma are "bad", the sole difference is Haiti allows its people and meager resources to be exploited by the west.

    And woe betide any small isolated nation who sits on a large critical resource like oil and doesn't allow western exploitation...as Saddam found out.

    It's got nowt to do with democracy, it's capitalist exploitation.

    What will the Burma elections achieve? Can the vote have any credibility? Will Burma see true democracy?

    should be:

    What will the Burma elections achieve? Can the vote have any credibility? Will Burma see capitalist exploitation?

  • Comment number 26.

    Can Burma achieve democracy? Yes, just as soon as the Chinese backed military junta is over thrown.

  • Comment number 27.

    I wish the country and its people well. Just don't model your putative democracy on the British system. You should aim much higher.

  • Comment number 28.

    "
    11. At 11:06am on 07 Nov 2010, Telfire wrote:

    As long as China continues to prop up these tinpot dictatorships then there will never be any form of democaracy.
    "

    Very true. We as a nation should stop trading with China. After all most of what they produce is junk (no pun intended). I'm very careful not to buy Chinese goods, it's getting very hard not to though. Quality comes first in my book.

  • Comment number 29.

    I am not sure there is a country in the world which has true democracy and all the things that are essential to it. But if Aung San Suu Kyi, the main democratic advocate is boycotting the voting then I think the result is no more than a charade.

    I hope western media will focus more intensely on Burmese life after the election and bring a clearer picture to the rest of the world as to what is missing for these people. We should not focus on voting but more on what the process really is.

  • Comment number 30.

    Burma needs time and help towards attaining free government .

    Britain should sent some (no most )of it's MPs and civil servants to show and help them achieve free government

    Time wise they can keep the MPs and selected public sector workers for as long as they like

  • Comment number 31.

    Can Burma achieve democracy?
    I'll bet the Burmese are asking themselves what is so great about democracy. Is it not the developed, democratic countries that have (nearly) destroyed the global economy? Is it not the developed, democratic countries that have (nearly) created a two-tired system of rich and poor?
    Since the military junta announced election plans, there have been various responses from the People. One response believes (as I do) that it's a necessary step from a dictatorship to a democratic society. But others argue that there is no chance for change; it's a sham.
    The shams see the draft constitution as a tool to legalise the ruling junta.
    However, I'm not sure that it's altogether a SHAM; I am not a Shamite. Though I have scepticism, many capable leaders have decided to participate because:
    a) It is necessary to have an authentic party to represent the public.
    b) Making whatever democratic inroads you can is better than standing still.
    c) Through the parliamentary system you can seek to make changes, even if those in parliament will make your life difficult.
    d) Somebody must stand up to make a difference against the military establishment.
    And my own argument:
    e) An election is the first necessary step towards to a real democratic society.
    My personal unease comes (strangely enough) via a victory:
    1990-election, NLD won in a land slide victory. NLD = National Leage for Democracy, Burmese political led by Aung San Suu Kyi, who served as General Secretary. On 6 May 2010, the party was disbanded by the ruling military junta after FAILING TO REGISTER for the elections slated for November 2010. Why did it fail to register? Was there an outside country eager to stop NLD participation so that the entire election process could be called a sham?
    The ruling junta, knowing that the NLD would not participate, would find it next to impossible to claim legitimacy. The junta needed viable opposition, multi-parties. So there is at least one junta proxy: the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) to provide "opposition".
    In Mon State another tactic is happening: the junta selects the NMSP (New Mon State Party) representatives; in reaction NMSP has refused to contest in the election.
    And then, and then...
    A new party was formed, the All Mon Regions Democratic Party (AMRDP), will contest the election to act as the representative for the Mon people. Not much is know about AMRDP, except it is a viable contender.
    Every Mon now is preparing to vote.
    I know that people are somewhat knee-jerk about western democracy, but I believe every country must slowly search out on its own its own political freedoms and human rights; you cannot impose a Government, especially when western democracy is such a poor example human rights & freedom and sinking lower day-by-day.

  • Comment number 32.

    Unfortunately, we in the West tend to take our information from those who find their own countries difficult to live in, to the extent that they migrate in order to peruse their lives in a manner more to their liking and as with everyone on this planet, the people who shout loudest, often have the more extreme agendas.

    If it were made harder for them to "jump ship" as it were, there would be a greater incentive to remain active within their communities at home and increase the chances of achieving political and social change, rather than removing themselves from the situation, thereby reducing the numbers in opposition to the status quo and damaging the chances of those patriotic citizens who are willing to put real effort into resolving their own problems

    If as it seems to me, huge cultural change and political reform are required, then it has to come from within and attempting to muddy the waters even further by taking a position contrary to any faction from outside that country is foolhardy

  • Comment number 33.

    My concern is whether Britain can achieve democracy.

  • Comment number 34.

    Whoever wins, the Army will still be in charge; they are just going through the motions as a gesture as if to say they are complying with international norms.

  • Comment number 35.

    The general elections in Burma are far from those in democratic countries. Why foreign journalists are not allowed to report the elections? We can not call the elections in Burma democratic ones. The elections did not improve the image of the military regime.

  • Comment number 36.

    Not whilst the West continues trading with them....and that will not happen because capitalism prefers to do business with dictators that come down hard on any idea of democracy.
    It's good for business when your workers are a captive force, no unions, no health and safety, no pension provision, no opposition to hiring and firing at will....and of course the countries 'leaders' open to bribery...and bump off anyone that tries to bring about 'The Big Society.'

  • Comment number 37.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 38.

    "Can Burma achieve democracy"? is the HYS question.

    I know where Burma is, geographically. But know nothing of her people's way of life or culture.

    However, this HYS question about democracy in Burma is misleading.

    Looking again at all nations bordering Burma, it's potential for maintaining peace is currently being exposed to the corrosive 'nationless' and globally roaming criminal extreme infiltrating 'gang' elements whose only focus is 'paid' disruption and destruction upon ordinary people in Burma and elswhere across the world.

    The most curious aspect of all questions regarding democracy is that those who despise democracy most, live in democratic countries.

    NO, I don't mean that elected representatives should not be challenged. What I mean is, that certain elements, with no interest in abiding by the laws of that country, believe it is their right to destroy that host and laws that protect them.

    Ultimately, you can't have it both ways. If you despise democracy and want your own laws - there are plenty of areas in the world who will be happy to accommodate your narrow ant-mentality brainwashed views.

    Tragically, ALL countries are too wise to accept your radical views - YOUR end will be in just another gang culture victory.

    Will that gang welcome you - yes. Will that gang make you feel invisible, yes. Will that gang sacrifice their own children and family - NO - NOT EVER. Don't be stupid and don't be scammed by any extreme nutter - they sit on the toilet like everyone else!




  • Comment number 39.

    I always worry about the emphasis put on democracy, as if it is the only path that will lead to utopia. I think this culture has come about from the legacy of the 20th century, where all the "good" nations in the major conflicts happened to be democracies. However, if you look further back in history you will see that this does not mean democracy is always the best form of government. For example, Oliver Cromwell was democratically elected as an MP but ended up ruling as a tyranical dictator, carrying out genocide against Catholics in Scotland and Ireland.

    In reality, democracy is just the seedbed for absolutely any type of government you can think of. Personally, I would always prefer a totalitarian government that acted in the best interests of the entire population (e.g. promoting human rights, free health services and a welfare system) than a democratically elected government that has its own agenda (e.g. things like genocide and having a single elite class).

    The freedom of people to choose their own government is only one small part of the much more complex issue of "freedom" and human rights. Democracy is not the be all and end all and I refuse to submit to the culture that strongly supports this view.

  • Comment number 40.

    Sorry we have so many problems of our own, who cares!

  • Comment number 41.

    What on earth has Burma's political structure got to do with us? Why don't we mind our own business, and refrain from imposing our views on others?

  • Comment number 42.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 43.

    As the generals who run that country are both old and apparently afraid of one woman, there is some hope that the seeds of democracy will grow eventually.

  • Comment number 44.

    "41. At 3:56pm on 07 Nov 2010, milvusvestal wrote:
    What on earth has Burma's political structure got to do with us? Why don't we mind our own business, and refrain from imposing our views on others?"

    Perhaps you are right, but I cannot condone a regime that allows its army to use rape of women and children as a means of control - the Burmese Junta does.
    I cannot condone a regime that uses slave labour - the Burmese Junta does.
    I cannot condone a regime that uses child labour - the Burmese Junta does.
    I cannot condone a regime that forcibly takes over its people's land to grow opium - the Burmese Junta does.

  • Comment number 45.

    Who cares? Burma, like many Third World countries, has enough problems feeding it's self. So-called democracy is a Western construct that has little or no meaning to most of the Third World.

  • Comment number 46.

    What's so good about democracy?

    Good leaders make good government, crooked leaders make bad governments. Putting the word "Democratic" in front of of the word "Government" don't necessarily make them good or bad. Neither does "totalitarian" nor "one-party" make them bad.

    Iraq is democratic now, but those elected still can't form a government. Afghanistan's election was not free nor fair, but western leaders says it's acceptable, and I don't know what that means.

    Have we not learned from ramming democracy down people's throats?

  • Comment number 47.

    If pro junta-party has already told that who dont vote for them will lose their jobs,so thats treatening and under treat there is no Fair democratic election,it would not be fair anyway,it makes wonder what this Dictatorship thinks they acchive with what they call a Vote? only
    the result they want will be accepted.
    Too bad,that,at least as far as i know,Burma has No Oil,so no self proclaimed World-Police will come to help them to get a Demoracy
    And without help,it can take decades berore Burma gets something we close to democracy.

  • Comment number 48.

    No

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.

    The simple answer is NO.

  • Comment number 51.

    49. At 5:03pm on 07 Nov 2010, Jeff Phua wrote:

    44. At 4:30pm on 07 Nov 2010, dothemaths wrote:

    "41. At 3:56pm on 07 Nov 2010, milvusvestal wrote:
    What on earth has Burma's political structure got to do with us? Why don't we mind our own business, and refrain from imposing our views on others?"

    Perhaps you are right, but I cannot condone a regime that allows its army to use rape of women and children as a means of control - the Burmese Junta does.
    I cannot condone a regime that uses slave labour - the Burmese Junta does.
    I cannot condone a regime that uses child labour - the Burmese Junta does.
    I cannot condone a regime that forcibly takes over its people's land to grow opium - the Burmese Junta does.

    =================================================================
    But you condone a regime that bails out the banks with taxpayers money, and giving themselves(bankers) big bonuses later. No one having to pay for their crimes. Talk about glass houses.
    =============================================================

    What? I cannot believe some people think the pay bankers get is an equal crime to rape, bonded labour, torture and opression. Get a sense of perspective.

  • Comment number 52.

    Your three answers are Nothing, No, and No.

  • Comment number 53.

    Give it a chance, it's as simple as that...

  • Comment number 54.

    40. At 3:40pm on 07 Nov 2010, den2 wrote:

    Sorry we have so many problems of our own, who cares!

    _________________________________________________________

    Compared to Burma? You think?

    I doubt it.

  • Comment number 55.

    41. At 3:56pm on 07 Nov 2010, milvusvestal wrote:
    What on earth has Burma's political structure got to do with us?

    Answer: Nothing at all, until you realise that your Earth is too small for humans to continue with their perpetual us-and-them approach. 'Minding your own business' can be politically close to condoning injustice.

    It's unfortunate that planet Earth is divided along national lines and that few humans can think beyond such a conceptual constraint. War is a common result.

    If politicians are worth anything (and that's a big question on its own), they might at least intervene in cases where the population is blindfolded, gagged, threatened... and much worse. I suspect most of the Burmese population would be more than happy to see the political squeeze put on from the outside. Whether or not such an intervention would be motivated by moral justification or national self-interest is another question, given the motives of Earth's so-called leaders. A knowledge of Burma's strategic geopolitical standing and mineral wealth would probably answer that one!



  • Comment number 56.

    Of course the election is not free and fair. we in the UK can nash our teeth and say how apalled we are but, in reality, it makes no difference. Burmese military and business leaders have no need to listen to our voices- it is a matter of economics, as ever.
    Burma with its timber, oil and gas is too useful to China and Tailand, both of which have extensive trade links with Burma. China has major pipelines and is developing port facilities to take advantage of the oil and gas in the Bay of Bengal.

    Words are easy, it is effect that matters!!!

  • Comment number 57.

    51. At 5:15pm on 07 Nov 2010, Wuuf wrote:

    49. At 5:03pm on 07 Nov 2010, Jeff Phua wrote:

    44. At 4:30pm on 07 Nov 2010, dothemaths wrote:

    "41. At 3:56pm on 07 Nov 2010, milvusvestal wrote:
    What on earth has Burma's political structure got to do with us? Why don't we mind our own business, and refrain from imposing our views on others?"

    Perhaps you are right, but I cannot condone a regime that allows its army to use rape of women and children as a means of control - the Burmese Junta does.
    I cannot condone a regime that uses slave labour - the Burmese Junta does.
    I cannot condone a regime that uses child labour - the Burmese Junta does.
    I cannot condone a regime that forcibly takes over its people's land to grow opium - the Burmese Junta does.

    =================================================================
    But you condone a regime that bails out the banks with taxpayers money, and giving themselves(bankers) big bonuses later. No one having to pay for their crimes. Talk about glass houses.
    =============================================================

    What? I cannot believe some people think the pay bankers get is an equal crime to rape, bonded labour, torture and opression. Get a sense of perspective.
    ============================================================

    1. So you condone bailing out the bankers that almost cost a world financial meltdown because of their greed and nobody gets punished.
    2. When rape, bonded labour, torture and oppression is committed in third world countries, it is always committed by the regime, meaning everyone from the lowest to the highest ranking officer. But when rape, bonded labour, torture and oppression is committed in the West, it is committed by some crazy individual, never the government or the military.

    You should have a change of your sense of perspective.

    Basically, I agree with milvusvestal when he wrote "Why don't we mind our own business, and refrain from imposing our views on others?"

  • Comment number 58.

    This will be a very painful process every step of the way . The military junta will continue to trample on democratic rights and as Burmese are treated as miserable pawns! Where is real justice and why is the world community so ineffective when it comes to such blatant brutal treatment of citizens. Aung Sung Su Kyi is most certainly the 'Joan of Ark' of Myanmar! But is it fair for one courageous lady to be treated in such a shocking way.

  • Comment number 59.

    55. At 5:31pm on 07 Nov 2010, MeOnVenus wrote:

    41. At 3:56pm on 07 Nov 2010, milvusvestal wrote:
    What on earth has Burma's political structure got to do with us?

    Answer: Nothing at all, until you realise that your Earth is too small for humans to continue with their perpetual us-and-them approach. 'Minding your own business' can be politically close to condoning injustice.

    It's unfortunate that planet Earth is divided along national lines and that few humans can think beyond such a conceptual constraint. War is a common result.

    If politicians are worth anything (and that's a big question on its own), they might at least intervene in cases where the population is blindfolded, gagged, threatened... and much worse. I suspect most of the Burmese population would be more than happy to see the political squeeze put on from the outside. Whether or not such an intervention would be motivated by moral justification or national self-interest is another question, given the motives of Earth's so-called leaders. A knowledge of Burma's strategic geopolitical standing and mineral wealth would probably answer that one!
    ===============================================================

    Give Obama some time. He's trying his best to close Gitmo.

  • Comment number 60.

    How many ASEAN countries are full democracies? Are you saying that Singapore is a democratic state comparable to UK or USA?
    Democracy is an alien concept to most Asians. What is required is rapid decrease in the percentage of people living below the poverty line. China and Vietnam have the shown the way to achieve this goal without any democracy.
    Don’t discourage the efforts of the Burmese rulers to provide limited democracy.

  • Comment number 61.

    When all is said and done...we'll all look on & then it will pass on...to the next one. To another undemocratic election in another undemocatic hellhole.

    Yea, that's all that will happen, when all is said & done, cause the world is too timid...to make things any better, any different. It's just fit enough to look on & let dictator's continue to have their manic fun.

  • Comment number 62.

    The winner of the last free elections in Burma has been under house arrest for 15 out of the last 20 years. Her party has been dissolved.
    The country is under the heel of a military junta.
    There can be no free, fair elections under those conditions.

  • Comment number 63.

    57. At 5:52pm on 07 Nov 2010, Jeff Phua wrote:

    51. At 5:15pm on 07 Nov 2010, Wuuf wrote:

    49. At 5:03pm on 07 Nov 2010, Jeff Phua wrote:

    44. At 4:30pm on 07 Nov 2010, dothemaths wrote:

    "41. At 3:56pm on 07 Nov 2010, milvusvestal wrote:
    What on earth has Burma's political structure got to do with us? Why don't we mind our own business, and refrain from imposing our views on others?"

    Perhaps you are right, but I cannot condone a regime that allows its army to use rape of women and children as a means of control - the Burmese Junta does.
    I cannot condone a regime that uses slave labour - the Burmese Junta does.
    I cannot condone a regime that uses child labour - the Burmese Junta does.
    I cannot condone a regime that forcibly takes over its people's land to grow opium - the Burmese Junta does.

    =================================================================
    But you condone a regime that bails out the banks with taxpayers money, and giving themselves(bankers) big bonuses later. No one having to pay for their crimes. Talk about glass houses.
    =============================================================

    What? I cannot believe some people think the pay bankers get is an equal crime to rape, bonded labour, torture and opression. Get a sense of perspective.
    ============================================================

    1. So you condone bailing out the bankers that almost cost a world financial meltdown because of their greed and nobody gets punished.
    2. When rape, bonded labour, torture and oppression is committed in third world countries, it is always committed by the regime, meaning everyone from the lowest to the highest ranking officer. But when rape, bonded labour, torture and oppression is committed in the West, it is committed by some crazy individual, never the government or the military.

    You should have a change of your sense of perspective.

    Basically, I agree with milvusvestal when he wrote "Why don't we mind our own business, and refrain from imposing our views on others?"
    ======================

    Your point 1. No I don't condone bailing out the banks. That is an incorrect assumption by yourself.

    I have worked in Burma, know people there and know what I am talking about. I doubt you do.

  • Comment number 64.

    Of course it will not achieve democracy. But I'm sure the Burmese junta has something lined up for afterwards when they've demonstrated how "reasonable" they are.

  • Comment number 65.

    The generals are truly a sham!

    An election in Burma without Daw Aung San Suu Kyi taking part is also a sham!

  • Comment number 66.

    63. At 6:03pm on 07 Nov 2010, Wuuf wrote:

    57. At 5:52pm on 07 Nov 2010, Jeff Phua wrote:

    51. At 5:15pm on 07 Nov 2010, Wuuf wrote:

    49. At 5:03pm on 07 Nov 2010, Jeff Phua wrote:

    44. At 4:30pm on 07 Nov 2010, dothemaths wrote:

    "41. At 3:56pm on 07 Nov 2010, milvusvestal wrote:
    What on earth has Burma's political structure got to do with us? Why don't we mind our own business, and refrain from imposing our views on others?"

    Perhaps you are right, but I cannot condone a regime that allows its army to use rape of women and children as a means of control - the Burmese Junta does.
    I cannot condone a regime that uses slave labour - the Burmese Junta does.
    I cannot condone a regime that uses child labour - the Burmese Junta does.
    I cannot condone a regime that forcibly takes over its people's land to grow opium - the Burmese Junta does.

    =================================================================
    But you condone a regime that bails out the banks with taxpayers money, and giving themselves(bankers) big bonuses later. No one having to pay for their crimes. Talk about glass houses.
    =============================================================

    What? I cannot believe some people think the pay bankers get is an equal crime to rape, bonded labour, torture and opression. Get a sense of perspective.
    ============================================================

    1. So you condone bailing out the bankers that almost cost a world financial meltdown because of their greed and nobody gets punished.
    2. When rape, bonded labour, torture and oppression is committed in third world countries, it is always committed by the regime, meaning everyone from the lowest to the highest ranking officer. But when rape, bonded labour, torture and oppression is committed in the West, it is committed by some crazy individual, never the government or the military.

    You should have a change of your sense of perspective.

    Basically, I agree with milvusvestal when he wrote "Why don't we mind our own business, and refrain from imposing our views on others?"
    ======================

    Your point 1. No I don't condone bailing out the banks. That is an incorrect assumption by yourself.

    I have worked in Burma, know people there and know what I am talking about. I doubt you do.
    ==========================================================

    1. You don't condone the bail-out. When Western democracies do not punish corrupt bankers who caused thousands of home foreclosures and untold misery, how are they different from non-democracies. My point: Democracies or not - if governments do not do what is right, there's no difference.

    2. Everyone in the Burmese regime from top to bottom commits rape, bonded labour, torture and oppression? Or are they just a handful, not representative of the regime? Be truthful, please.

    Did you watch Fox News or MSNBC during the mid-terms election? They both have the same amount of air-time, but are diametrically opposed in their reporting of the US. And nobody can tell who exactly is telling the truth IN THE USA.

    What news do people get from the Burmese media? Zero. So, it's easy to manipulate.

  • Comment number 67.

    If we don´t continue to hope and work towards that aim, it is guaranteed that Burma will not achieve democracy.

  • Comment number 68.

    If Britain isn't be a democracy, there's no hope for the likes of Burma.

  • Comment number 69.

    I'm surprised the US hasn't invaded Burma to instigate a puppet government - oops regime change. After all there's oil & gas & a nasty military dictatorship - must be a clean cut case for 500000000000000000000 US troops?!

    Seriously dictatorships have always existed and always will - the human race is too stupid to stop them!

  • Comment number 70.

    Burma will never be a democratic country. What is happening in the name and style of democracy is a mockery. The world may be happy to think that the Junta has ultimately surrendered to world pressure is but utterly wrong.

    The world should be worried about the future of Burma that is going to happen is under the name of democracy the Junta will be empowered to be more dangerously powerful. It is because Military dictatorship is bad but parliamentary dictatorship is the worst form of dictatorship. So after this election the Junta will have the certificate to act as Parliamentary Dictators who to stop.

    In conclusion, the votes will help the Junta to be promoted from Military dictators to Parliamentary Dictators in the most powerful system of democracy in the world. Burma will never see the face of Democracy so long the country remains under occupation of Burmese Army.

  • Comment number 71.

    With the mindsets in the Burmese military I doubt that very much. You cannot educate a Neanderthal mindset if it won't listen to reason and see sense in having a just society. Just look at the present state of the UK and it's religious, judicial and political systems. If ours is so much in a mess how do we have the nerve to dictate to Burma???

  • Comment number 72.

    "a·chieve·ment
    [uh-cheev-muhnt]: –noun
    1. something accomplished, esp. by superior ability, special effort, great courage, etc.; a great or heroic deed"

    Sure, anyone can OBTAIN democracy, but nobody can ACHIEVE it, because it can hardly be described as an achievement. Democracy's nothing more than puppets telling you you are free, because you get a choice of puppet. Burma's future won't be decided at the ballot box, it'll be decided by it's usefulness - and that of its natural resources - to the superpowers.

  • Comment number 73.

    Even the British people are denied their democratic rights so what chance has Burma?

  • Comment number 74.

    Aung San Suu Kyi was Myanmar's elected ruler, yet a rebel junta has placed her under house arrest since her return to Myanmar, thinking of every possible petty excuse not to involve her in any democratic election because they are still frightened she will win. Call this real democracy? My ear!

  • Comment number 75.

    WAW, Burma again on the headlines.those military generals should not lie to the world that they would conduct democratic election in that country,thinking the world do not know their shallow tricks to convince the international community and deceived the Burmese in that already failed democracy. what democracy in the world are they talking about,when
    they are already threatening opposition and voters.but look,Burmese should vote, whether they lose their lives or jobs. to bring true democracy to their country otherwise, those generals may not get out on their nects.

  • Comment number 76.

    I suppose Aung San Suu Kyi should be the only opposition candidate to immplement true democracy, if Burma must witness genuine democracy.but,
    those military men won't let her do it. so, it is high time for the Burmese themselves to take that york to their nect. and free themselves
    from military cage.oooh,excuse me. referendum is ahead of me on the 9th of january 2011. Burmese will hear what i have done in my own country.if they don't do theirs, then it is upto them.

  • Comment number 77.

    Why should we care? Burma is of little consequence in the world, let them sort their own problems out. We are already over-involved with more important overseas matters, let alone the many problems we have to deal with right here.

  • Comment number 78.

    People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

    We need to fix democracy in our country before we preach to others !

  • Comment number 79.

    The singular lack of interest on the Have Your Say page for this topic has me wondering why the BBC is giving it prime time exposure. Is it news or promoting news editors cultural missions ?

  • Comment number 80.


    No

  • Comment number 81.

    "
    74. At 8:21pm on 07 Nov 2010, Hazel wrote:

    Aung San Suu Kyi was Myanmar's elected ruler, yet a rebel junta has placed her under house arrest since her return to Myanmar, thinking of every possible petty excuse not to involve her in any democratic election because they are still frightened she will win.
    "

    A bit like the X-Factor really.

  • Comment number 82.

    If the UK government and other countries were so concerned with the way the Burma government treats it's people, I think something would have been done about it by now.

  • Comment number 83.

    I'm more concerned about whether the EU will ever acheive democracy...

    Problems of Burma are for the Burmese to solve.

  • Comment number 84.

    of course they will not.but the west has to realise that no one cares about the western worlds opinon--the west rejects the election--so what--they say the hell with the west and so does the rest of the world.if the west wants to have influence in the world--ECONOMY IMPROVE--the asians in particular the chinese and indians will soon control opinons and moe--so we in the west better get used to playing second(or third) fiddle

  • Comment number 85.

    Can Britain achieve Democracy?

    Today, for the first time in well over 35 years, the British people were permitted by the ruling Liberal junta to vote on whether they wished to remain in the European union.

    Observers say it will be a close vote with both camps evenly matched.

  • Comment number 86.

    What hope is there for Burma, the powerful elements in the world don't really care for Burma just as they don't care for anybody in Somalia, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Sudan, Gaza, Central Africa, and numerous other areas where people with the lowest standards of living in the world are robbed of what little they do have and are "lucky" to be left alive. Meanwhile the rich nations sell their persecutors arms, purloin their territories natural resources on the cheap and take their holidays in tropical tax-free paradise islands far from the madding crowd.

    Now if there was a plentiful supply of oil in Burma it might just turn a few heads................

  • Comment number 87.

    No government where the military equals the government can tolerate free and open elections. This, unfortunately, is the case in Myanmar.
    And in NKorea. Brothers in blood and repression.
    A test: are they willing to have independent observers in?

  • Comment number 88.

    I hope that it is freer and fairer than here!

  • Comment number 89.

    Burma is a closed country. Before WWII, it was multiracial with a large expatriate population of Whites, Chinese and Indians and they were all thrown out starting 1962. The regime does not and can not control the whole country. There is absolutely no development of any kind. Aung San Suukyi is getting old and we can not say today what is the alternative. Let us hope that some Phoenix will rise some day.

  • Comment number 90.

    73. At 8:13pm on 07 Nov 2010, Reiver wrote:
    Even the British people are denied their democratic rights so what chance has Burma?

    ----------------------------------------------------------

    Yes, remember the last election when Brown lost but decided to remain in power, oh wait that never happened as he's no longer MP.

    We have local, National and even European election in the UK, what else are we missing, intergalactic? Hell, each year we even get to vote on how is going to be the next one hit wonder, who is going to be evicted, who can or cannot dance on ice or in a ballroom. I know what it is, you don't think we have democracy because you want to be able to vote for who will become Alan's new apprentice, ohhhhh! it's like the Nazi won the war.

  • Comment number 91.

    As a country that is only half a republic, I can say no country can be more democratic than it is a republic. I think the Myanmar army is still struggling to make Myanmar a republic, as just like Pakistan, colonialists never quite left Myanmar.

    The price for any small third-world leader getting good press in the West is basically treason. Suu Kyi is a tool of the colonialists. I don't know what really goes on in Myanmar and I can't say if the election was free and fair or not. I do know the Western media has no inhibition against lying and no love for democracy. There are extremists right on this forum who can call Putin a dictator who secured over 80% of the votes or Hams that secured over 85% of the vote in an election held under the barrel of Western guns.

  • Comment number 92.

    Pancha Chandra wrote:

    Aung Sung Su Kyi is most certainly the 'Joan of Ark' of Myanmar!
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    May be so, but do the Myanmar people care about the 'Joan of Ark'. I don't think Obama would like to be called the 'Che Guvera' of his country.

  • Comment number 93.

    "What will the Burma elections achieve? Can the vote have any credibility? Will Burma see true democracy?" - BBC

    Such a range of questions!

    Apparently there has been no vote in Burma during the past two decades, but this vote did occur. Given that history, it seems unlikely that this vote could solve all problems, but this vote is a positive beginning, something to build progress upon, and perhaps other votes in the future could achieve better results. Anyway, it now appears that Burma is off to a good start, and let us hope that such good fortune continues.

  • Comment number 94.

    The question is what would be happenning next even if they "achieve democrasy"? For example, would the populist Aung San Suu kyi be able to handle the ethnic minorities?

    The abysmal chaos in Iraq has already proved the fultility of shaping a country/nation according to some sort of "idea" model from an outsider's perspective.

    At the end of the day, Burmese will be served the best by whoever brings in trades and employments. Regime change and the potential endless political in-fighting as a result are hardly what they really need.

  • Comment number 95.

    seasand123 wrote:

    Without the key opposition personalities such as Madam Aung San Suu Kyi and others not contesting in this general election, in the eyes of the world, it can never be a credible one.

    ________________________________________________________________________

    There you go again, referring to the West as the World. You have murdered enough democratically elected leaders in Iran, Congo and South America that your claim of supporting democracy has no credibility in the eyes of the world.

  • Comment number 96.

    I dont usually comment, but this election is so obviously a fraud, and a fraud that perpetuates the quite frankly outrageous abuse of the Burmese population in general (i.e. not only ethnic minorities, which are particularly badly abused, but also the general population which could enjoy a free, and realistically quite prosperous life if it wasnt for the military narco-barons that are stealing their futures) that no-one with a relatively familiar insight into the issues at stake could be content with the situation. In fact, I wish these greedy generals could be arrested and sentenced to life (possibly without parole) as they deserve. And that, after all, would be a far more lenient punishment than these people give to their any of "their" citizens that happen to get in the way of their criminal enterprises. The cynical complicity of countries like China also shouldnt be forgotten here. As long as countries like China continue to support countries like Burma and North Korea, how can they expect to be considered a part of the "responsible international community"?

  • Comment number 97.

    Burma's general elections are only for military generals. It is a mock show as people go through the motions. With opposition not contesting, it is a mockery of democracy. God help Burma!

  • Comment number 98.

    When the military is in charge there cannot be any democracy. The military by its very presence is known for a structure that is not democratic, ranks and experience matter and are highly enforced. This time Burma had one candidate with one voting symbol and distributed it to everyone to vote. Democracy itself is not what the trading partners want, especially big oil business, they rather deal with one single person or group than have a democratic procedure. The truth of the business of democracy is very Western, it works well in the Western model but seldom works where people are illiterate.

  • Comment number 99.

    Burma will never achieve democracy as long as the military rulers are in control. And they have been in power chiefly because western powers have never seen Burma as important enough to do anything about it. But chief blame must lie on ASEAN, who have been mollycoddling this military dictatorship for too long.

  • Comment number 100.

    #1.plaintruth wrote:

    How do we define democracy? ...Democracy in Burma would be our wildest dream.

    ----
    The "wrong" dreamer, I say.

    The most important essence in democracy is the concerned people's will, you can't dream for them.

 

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