Hope for Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi on the Road to Democracy

For the first time in more than two decades, Burmese people have something to celebrate, and because of that, so do we.

According to an article in Sunday’s edition of The New York Times, Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s democracy leader and Nobel Peace laureate, has unofficially won a seat in Burma’s Parliament (click on the link above to read the entire article).

The utter joy and disbelief expressed by the people in this photograph below says everything.

Screen capture NYT Aung San Suu Kyi

Even though she will be joining a government that is still overwhelmingly controlled by the military-backed ruling party, it is a powerful symbolic step in the right direction.

Time Magazine with photo of Aung San Suu Kyi

Many of you may remember that Jeffrey photographed Aung San Suu Kyi in 1989 when she was first placed under house arrest during a brutal military crackdown.

If you missed my posts describing those heart-racing moments, you can click on the two links below to read about it and see what life is life in Burma (now called Myanmar).

Beyond Rangoon Part I

Beyond Rangoon Part II

During the past twenty-three years Aung San Suu Kyi has spent the majority of her life under house arrest, and when she pulled off a stunning political victory in 1990 (even though she was was under detention and forbidden to campaign), the elections were promptly overturned by Burmese generals.

After so much time and so much suffering, it’s exciting to think that things may finally be moving in a positive direction for the Burmese people and Aung San Suu Kyi, who has sacrificed everything for her country. Let’s hope this first step is one of many to come, which will lead Burma in a brave new direction.

“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.”–Thucydides

12 thoughts on “Hope for Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi on the Road to Democracy

  1. Becky, Thank you for writing about this. I am not informed enough about what is going on in Burma, and I know I should be and want to be. Thanks for providing links to your past writings about it too.

    • Tina, I think we all wish we were more informed about different places around the world. I have a particular fondness for Burma because of Jeffrey’s experiences. It gives me great happiness to share what I know about it and hopefully get other people interested in what is happening there.

  2. Great post Becky. Yes, we all are hoping this first step is one of many to come, which will lead Burma in a new direction. Nothing better can happen, to those people living with a hope that one day their leader would lead them to a new dimension. I just hope god will give Aung San Suu Kyi enough strength, to live up to the expectation of so many people living in that part of the world.

    • I am not worried about Aung San Suu Kyi’s strength–she has proven she has the courage and perseverance of only the strongest kind of person. You are right though, many people have high expectations of what she will be able to do. My guess is that her own expectations are even higher. Let’s hope that change comes quickly for them all.

    • Sometimes I try to imagine what it would be like to live in a country in which you couldn’t choose your leader. Can you imagine if we were stuck with somebody like…well, I guess I shouldn’t go there…but year after year, decade after decade of somebody who was either incompetent or power hungry or just plain brutal? Even with all the insanity of our political process, I wouldn’t change our democracy for anything.

  3. Do you know that one of the things I like about your blog is that it makes me feel smarter? I am able to learn things I would otherwise not pay attention to through your posts. Thank you for your focus on an inspirational woman. What a life she must have lived thus far, and the excitement is likely just beginning for her.

    • Cindy, you totally made my day. I’m glad you learn a few new tidbits here and there on my blog. Aung San Suu Kyi is one woman you should definitely know! She is remarkable. Let’s hope all her years of struggle start to pay off for her and her country.

  4. I always think of you and Jeffrey when I read about Aung San Suu Kyi, because frankly, before I read your stories, I never really knew much about the struggle for Democracy in Burma. Thank you for educating me! I’m thrilled about the changes that are taking place there, and so pleased that Aung San Suu Kyi is right there in the middle of it, helping to bring peace and change to a country that has been in turmoil for so long. Wonderful post as always, Becky!

    • Most people don’t know about Burma, and often get confused by its name because the dictators changed it to Myanmar (which I have a hard time using). Also there isn’t a George Clooney or Richard Gere bringing it into the headlines, so it gets buried under other world events. As you know though, I think Aung San Suu Kyi and the Burmese people are remarkable so I try to shed light on the situation whenever I can. Hopefully they will be free one day very soon.

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