International Women's Day
The daughter of a Burmese general who fought for democracy in his country, Aung San Suu Kyi carried on that struggle and at great cost. She spent 18 of the last 23 years under house arrest for her efforts because of the brutal military junta, yet she has not wavered one bit in her quest to bring democracy and human rights to her country. After international pressure finally got the junta's attention, she was released from her captivity. Now she is running for parliament, to the absolute jubilation of her fellow citizens.
In just over a year since her release from house arrest, the 66-year-old opposition leader has made the once unthinkable leap into Myanmar’s mainstream, transforming from political prisoner to political campaigner. Now she’s trying to take another big step: from icon to elected official. ...
If the pro-democracy icon wins the April 1 vote, she will become a junior and minority member of parliament, meaning that Suu Kyi’s greatest challenge would be her lack of power to make any real change, at least for the foreseeable future. ...
Even if Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy opposition party win all 48 seats up for grabs they would only have a small minority. The military is guaranteed 25 percent of seats in the 440-seat lower house and the remainder is dominated by the main pro-military party.
No, winning her election is not going to make any kind of sea-change in the here-and-now in Burma, but it will keep the dream alive. That's what real heroes do, they keep the dream alive in the rest of us.
Some observers fear Myanmar’s people will be disappointed in the new parliament when it fails to quickly deliver on their expectations. After years of isolation, Myanmar needs a top-to-bottom overhaul of its economy, education, health and banking systems and a plan to unify the country’s ethnic groups after years of guerrilla warfare with the junta.
But that disappointment is unlikely to dim Suu Kyi’s star among the Burmese people, analysts say.
“They identify her with democracy and freedom and with resistance, and they will continue to do that whether she manages to get into parliament, become prime minister, or not,” said Monique Skidmore, a Myanmar expert at the University of Canberra. [Emphasis added]
And so, Mother Suu (as you are called by your countrymen), I honor you and wish for you an electoral victory and the years to witness the real victory: the defeat of the Myanmar generals and the restoration of Burma's democracy.
Labels: Aung San Suu Kyi