Suu Kyi trial takes Myanmar back to the future

A pall of bitter deja vu hung over Aung San Suu Kyi’s trial appearance in Myanmar on Monday, as the country enters its fourth decade of an epic feud between a repressive military and an individual who has tied her destiny to a divided nation-state.

Suu Kyi’s first public appearance since the February 1 military coup that toppled her elected administration was reminiscent of so many previous police-state pantomimes.

As Myanmar implodes in post-putsch violence, with protests, armed conflict, civil disobedience and growing urban warfare, Suu Kyi’s predicament has not been as prominent as before, and the in-person hearing has temporarily refocused attention on her and leaders of her National League for Democracy (NLD). 

This was no genuine legal procedure: it was the performance of military repression. The charges against Suu Kyi are a mixture of the absurdly petty, likely accurate and utterly insane.

Possessing unregistered walkie-talkies, the first offense to justify her post-coup detention, captures the currish character of the Tatmadaw as the first offense to justify her imprisonment.

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