March 2018 — Page 3 of 3 — CANVAS

A Look at the Failure of Aung San Suu Kyi

Photo: Agence France-Presse. In 2012, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Elie Wiesel Award for human rights by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Earlier this week, the honor was rescinded. The news left people around the world to grapple with the implications of the reversion. How could it be that this leader, once among the most respected champions of human rights in history, has now so egregiously abandoned her virtues? A Heroic Past Suu Kyi is from Myanmar, a nation in Southeast Asia that spent almost 50 years under military rule. This regime was both repressive and resolute. Its hostilities brought pro-democracy activists out in protest, but their struggle would have to endure for more than 20 years before a civilian government was finally implemented. The world watched this situation with amazement, inspired by the tremendous drive and power of the Burmese people, the success of their nonviolent campaign, and the eventual victory that evoked a rare feeling of justice in the world. And the figurehead of this movement, the leader that came to personify its virtues and victories, is Aung San Suu Kyi. First getting involved with the movement at the height of the protests in 1988, Suu Kyi became an outspoken advocate at the fore of the push for human rights and democracy. Her leadership threatened the ruling military junta, so as they cracked down on the movement in 1989, she was placed under house arrest and completely isolated from the outside world. Her image as a martyr of the movement was solidified when she refused a deal with the government that would allow her...

World’s Longest-Jailed Journalist Freed in Uzbekistan, but Media Struggle Continues

Photo: Shamil Zhumatov. Reuters. Via The Committee to Protect Journalists. It has recently been announced that the longest-jailed journalist in the world is free. After 19 years, Uzbekistan has released Yusuf Ruzimuradov, now 64 years old. The journalist had originally been detained for his work at an independent newspaper called Erk, or Freedom. The government, seeing this paper and its writers as a political threat, arrested Ruzimuradov and his editor, Muhammad Bekjanov. Both reporters were sentenced originally to 15 years in prison after a sham trial that convicted them for publishing and distributing a banned newspaper, which by extension was considered part of an attempt to overthrow the government. Those sentences were arbitrarily extended in the prisons until finally both journalists were recently released. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has confirmed that Ruzimuradov was freed in late February, even though the news is only just emerging. The organization sees this as a definite victory, but is not consumed merely by celebration. “Today, we can breathe a sigh of relief that Yusuf Ruzimuradov–the longest imprisoned journalist in the world–has finally been released in #Uzbekistan, but we remain outraged at the grave injustice that robbed him of 19 years of his life,” the CPJ tweeted. The organization is calling further on the Uzbek government to release the other journalists still being held as political prisoners. Two such trials are set to begin sometime this week. Yet one of the journalists on trial, Bobomurod Abdullaev, has had his court date postponed after undergoing harsh torture inside the Uzbek prison. The independent journalists concerned have been charged with “conspiracy to overthrow the...

Weekly Report: March 2 2018

Photo: Protesters in Thailand hold up Pinocchio masks and call their former-military Prime Minister of a liar after he pushed back elections yet again (Reuters) Venezuela On Thursday, the presidential elections originally slated for April 22nd were pushed back a month to May 20. The deadline to register a candidate was extended to the afternoon of Friday, March 2. Despite the revised date, the main opposition coalition uphold to its decision to boycott the election, and have not submitted any candidates to the race, declaring the delay a “farce to legitimise a dictatorship.” Other minor opposition parties have decided to nevertheless participate, and several have put forward candidates. Henri Falcon on Tuesday announced his decision to run for president in defiance of the opposition, saying that he “operates independently of the opposition coalition,” who accuse him of trying to claim the spotlight. The Venezuelan government has also said that it will allow international observers to oversee the election, however experts have said that “four to six months [are] needed to allow for international observers to do their work.” The United States and many of Venezuela’s neighbors have rejected the vote, and Peru has withdrawn Maduro’s invitation to the Lima group’s summit in mid April. A one-month delay in the elections does little to balance the heavy repression, hundreds of political prisoners, media censorship, and death. Instead, some suspect the move is a ploy to deceive observers into thinking that Maduro is complying with international pressures, with the actual goals of lightening sanctions and fracturing the opposition. The May election will include only the presidential slate. The National Electoral Council...