Tag Archives: Aung San Suu Kyi

What Does Obama’s Visit to Burma Mean for Burmese People?

The night before President Obama’s historic visit to Burma last month, Nge Nge—a Burmese woman from Rangoon—was so excited that she couldn’t sleep. In the morning, she was the first person to arrive at the University of Rangoon where Obama was scheduled to deliver his speech. Nge Nge had graduated from the University of Rangoon in 1988. Upon returning to her old stomping ground, she recalled, “This university used to be vibrant and warm with students who had close relationships with professors and had an enjoyable learning atmosphere. Students could ask professors if they did not understand something. Now, those times have gone.” Read More »

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Watching Aung San Suu Kyi Accept The U.S. Congressional Gold Medal

Aung San Suu Kyi, Chairperson of the National League of Democracy in Burma

There’s a lot of hyperbole in the Capitol, especially in an election year. But there’s something about Daw Aung San Suu Kyi that makes even the most effusive praise seem inadequate.

On Wednesday, September 19th at the Capitol, where Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s democracy leader, received the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal, I was struck by the impressive line-up of our country’s leaders who waxed poetic. Yet the emotion on their faces showed that even their most flowery praises couldn’t capture the awe and electricity felt in the presence of the honoree.

Throughout the speeches, which ran the gamut of political persuasions including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former First Lady Laura Bush, Republican Senator John McCain and Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, Suu Kyi was described as: “a luminous soul” … “a seeker” … “a soul pilgrim” … “this most unlikely of revolutionaries” … “an icon”… “a strange collection of bright victories” (This last one is actually a literal translation of her name.)

Republican Senator Mitch McConnell told a story of how she declined to wear a bulletproof vest during a landmark speech before millions protesting in Rangoon’s streets in 1988. ‘Why?’ she answered. ‘If I were afraid of being killed, I would never speak out against the government.’ Read More »

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