The ObamaBurma Thingamajig

Dear Mr. Hewson,

Well, I imagine that you’re happy to hear that President Obama made serious mention of Aung San Suu Kyi, urging the leaders of Burma to release her (and other political prisoners) while speaking in Singapore. I think it’s a pretty impressive move, myself. I know that you and the boys have always been big advocates of her, and her release from house arrest (though I admit that the masks you’re using on the U2 360 tour do freak me out a bit!).

What I wonder is whether even someone with President Obama’s political clout can make a difference in this sort of situation. I suppose that simply speaking the words in such a forum would actually occasion many to think about it, and consider it, but I’m not entirely sure peer pressure is going to be able to move the seemingly immovable force that is a military government. I confess that I don’t know a great amount about the Burmese government, but I can imagine that if they’ve kept someone like Suu Kyi under house arrest for fourteen years, it’s going to take a lot to get them to release her. People like Suu Kyi, who can actually make a difference (especially those who have proved it as she has) are kept locked up for a reason, of course — not only do they pose a threat, they are a threat, to current powers. And well, they certainly can’t stand for that. Oh, political maneuvering, how I loathe thee!

And then, of course, there’s the perception of the US using its western influence to try and move the immovable, and I think other governments must take offense to that. It’s like my father says: everyone’s trying to prove something, and I would imagine that smaller countries and governments (like the Burmese one) are always trying to prove something to their bigger, scarier peers.

I guess, though, that President Obama (who I always feel tempted to call just plain old “Obama”) throwing even his verbal weight behind Suu Kyi and her fellow political prisoners might perhaps help other countries to see the light on the matter, and that’s positive. It’s certainly got media all over the world paying attention, that’s for sure.

I don’t think it’s looking particularly good for Aung San Suu Kyi right now, and after doing a little bit of poking around online to find out more about it, it doesn’t look like the situation will change much. In all of your research and wisdom and activism, I’m sure you’ve got some pretty strong opinions on that matter, though. Do drop by the next time you’re flying over the frigid Atlantic Ocean — we’ll chat about it and see how worked up we can get.

I’d love to get worked up about it now, but my brain hurts too much. It’s been a long day.

Do take care, and expect another letter next week.

Cheers and much love,




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