Aung Sang Suu Kyi’s success in the Burma elections should strike a chord with South Africans.
One should be careful before making comparisons but South Africans could see in Aung Sang Suu Kyi a spirit similar to that of Nelson Mandela.
She spent about two decades under house arrest, and although that is probably far, far better than Robben Island or Pollsmoor Prison where Mandela was incarcerated, it is still a major portion of her life.
A few years less than Mandela, but still …
Why are we talking about Aung Sang Suu Kyi?
Green is not just an environmental ‘sustainability’. That is simple minded, naïve.
Sustainability is multi-faceted, multi-dimensional and all encompassing.
For example, North Korea is ‘green’ – their recycling of human and animal waste in their agrarian 'reforms' would be symbolic of this but the idea of sustainability is embodied within the doctrine of Juche, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juche
Juche is even considered a 'religion'.
Yet North Korea relies on hand outs from China and the rest of the World to avoid famine. It uses its nuclear arsenal and its belligerence as the incentive for others to feed it, to appease it.
One of the key missing sustainability ingredients in Norh Korea of course is freedom, especially in the form that it is encapsulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
Humans are at their performance-best in situations of greatest freedom.
Not the freedom to do whatever they please regardless - as that then limits the freedom of others.
Nor the freedom to impose their beliefs and/or ideologies on others – as that then limits the freedom of those who are being imposed upon.
The UDHR is arguably one of the best examples of values and rights and freedoms that can provide a sustainable political platform to not only a society but to the Planet as well.
South Africa, acutely modeled on human rights, is another example. After all with relatively minimal bloodshed Apartheid was overthrown.
Yet another example, one that may raise eyebrows is India.
India, seemingly chaotic, with all its problems, is now set to become a super economy.
It is after all the world's largest democracy in which the greatest number of people in history became free with the least amount of violence – thanks of course to Mahatma Gandhi.
As unpalatable as this next example may be, as scorned as the USA is, it is where Martin Luther King did his great work against racism.
Ironically, the USA is the only nation in the world to be led by a member of a previously oppressed minority, democratically elected by a majority. Son of a Kenyan father and American mother, Obama is President of the world's most powerful nation.
Not even India was able to elect Sonia Gandhi, ethnically a non-Indian, as its President.
Maybe the ex-Soviet Union could have made a similar claim to the USA but the tens of millions of corpses that Stalin (a Georgian) caused would make it an embarrassing claim from a human rights point of view.
We may never know the worst of Stalinist crimes against humanity - even if, for example, the De Klerk of the Soviet Union, Gorbachov, finally admitted the Soviet Unions massacre of about thirty thousand Polish officers in WW2 by order of Stalin! This may be just the tip of the Soviet Union's 'atrocities iceberg'.
The atrocities of the Reactionary Right have been well documented and many of those responsible were brought to some form of trial or other.
What was an injustice for all those who perished at its hands, is the blind eye to the atrocities of the Revolutionary Left.
The trials of Pol Pot officials may be the first ever UN endorsed of crimes against humanity by the Revolutionary Left.
A slow start but taking this into account and for example the viral You Tube of Joseph Kony, globally there is a growing cohesiveness to have those who are guilty of crimes against humanity brought to book, regardless.
Indeed, regardless of one's position on the political spectrum or creed or ethnicity there is a greater chance today than ever before that those who perpetrate crimes against humanity will increasingly be at greater risk of justice being finally dispensed to them.
Returning to the USA itself, when Americans speak, and you close your eyes, you generally cannot tell what ethnicity they are.
There is a beauty in that, perhaps only equaled in Brazil, that only the most obtuse anti-Americans would deny.
Americans are Americans, even as they die in their diverse ethnicities in pointless and misguided wars.
Anti-free market capitalists (surely an odd paradox!?) in the financial-industrial-military complex have almost brought the USA to its knees.
Perhaps a purge of the Ponzi schemes dreamed up by Wall Street, and a purge of the war-mongers taxing the American citizens into poverty might help the USA out of its economic morass.
Turning to South Africa, former liberation cadres, hell bent on enrichening themselves, have turned the public sector into a cesspit of corruption and betrayed millions of struggling South Africans.
India has massive issues of poverty, yet to be resolved, many decades after its liberation.
We have not mentioned China - but without putting the Gang of Four in its place, and moving away from the oppressive system of Maoism it probably would not be poised to take over from the USA as the world's largest economy. It would look more like North Korea ...
Despite the imperfections of India, South Africa and the USA, the people of Burma stand a better chance for a sustainable future via democracy than via oppression.