By: Bishwajit Okram, LL.M, ACCA.
The Buddha appears to have smiled finally; the miracle has just happened; the humane spirit of military junta has been finally invoked: Burmese government started releasing political prisoners!
I am just after writing an article yesterday about the hope and optimism in the realm of Burmese politics and human rights.
Today, I am reassured again, unlike yesterday, with the news that Shin Gambira, a monk who led the brutally crushed 2007 street protest, has been freed from prison, finally.
Some times, I have a voodoo feeling that Shin Gambira, the monk must have chanted many millions of Buddhist mantras while in prison, so sincerely that all the heavenly deities of Buddha have not choice but to enter into the hearts of Burmese policy makers and showed the humane face of the government.
It is not a rumor but a fact now, that Burma released 100s of political prisoners today, the 12th of October, 2011. Financial Times(FT), London, quoted Burmese state TV as saying that the government would release 6,359 prisoners from Wednesday in its latest general amnesty.
Among many of the prominent personalities released today is the legendary Burmese film actor, Zarganar, who was sentenced to 35 years for denouncing government’s relief efforts, in 2008 devastating cyclone that killed 140,000 people and destroyed 800,000 homes, inadequate.
The emotionally overwhelmed Ms Suu Kyi, the main opposition leader of Burma, was said to be saying that she was really thankful for the release of political prisoners and she expected more release of political prisoners as this would only do good to the country.
The Financial Times (FT), London, quoted Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state saying that US is encouraged by the steps they are seeing the Burmese government is taking.
One European diplomat in Rangoon was quoted by FT as suggesting that the European Union (EU) would consider easing some sanctions if there was a significant release of political detainees and visible progress was made towards legally recognising, the Aung San Suu Kyi’s national political party.
It may be noted that Burmese government scraped a huge $3.6bn dam being developed with China very recently on demand by its own citizen on an environmental and human rights basis. Such consideration of people is something that has never happened in the past.
I reckon one of the texts from a Buddhist relic, the Lotus Sutras, the Writing of Nichiren Daishonin, p4 that says: “When deluded, one is called an ordinary being, but when enlightened, one is called a Buddha. This is similar to a tarnished mirror that will shine like a jewel when polished…”
After a long slumber, now Burma is starting to set off its first democratic step. Implying the above quote, a long deluded Burma should now try to become an enlightened country. This first step will start polishing part of the tarnished image of the country. The country should aspire for shining like a jewel in South East Asia, no, in the world. Burma should not miss this opportunity, henceforward.