Last week, in our Asian History class, we watched a documentary film entitled “Inside Burma”. The documentary was produced by some independent journalists of Great Britain. It showed the real situation of Myanmar, an oppressive military-ruled country in Southeast Asia. Child labor and slavery is rampant to this country. During the filming of the documentary, the British journalists were highly guarded and even risked their lives.
This is Aung San Suu Kyi (pronounced as Awn Sahn Sue Chee), daughter of the the Father of modern-day Burma. She went back home from England in 1988 to take care of her sick mother. Coincidentally, in the same year, the long-time military leader, General Ne Win stepped down. This led the Burmese people to revolt and fight for democracy which resulted to bloodbath last August 8, 1988 (8-8-88 Revolution). On 26 August 1988, she addressed half a million people at a mass rally in front of the Shwedagon Pagoda in the capital, calling for a democratic government. However in September, a new military junta took power. Later the same month, 24 September 1988, the National League for Democracy (NLD) was formed, with Suu Kyi as general secretary.
She was put under house arrest in Burma for almost 15 of the 21 years from July 20, 1989 until her release on 13 November 2010. Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. According to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, “Suu Kyi’s struggle is one of the most extraordinary examples of civil courage in Asia in recent decades. She has become an important symbol in the struggle against oppression.”
“In awarding the Nobel Peace Prize for 1991 to Aung San Suu Kyi, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to honour this woman for her unflagging efforts and to show its support for the many people throughout the world who are striving to attain democracy, human rights and ethnic conciliation by peaceful means.”
Today, Burma (or Myanmar) is still an oppressive military-ruled country. Despite being rich in natural resources such as oil and the availability of foreign investors from United States and France, the country remained poor. The country’s economy is controlled by its military government. According to my professor, the UN can no longer appeal or penetrate to Myanmar’s predicament since it didn’t affect its neighboring countries. Needless to say, attempts of attaning freedom and democracy in this country is futile.
PS: Burma - connotes freedom/ Myanmar - military ruled country, oppression