Aung San Su Kyi (Partial) Interview

Reporters for the French newspaper LibĂ©ration managed to sit down with the recently-released Burmese opposition leader in the office of her National League for Democracy party in the northern part of Rangoon. They’re unfortunately reserving the full transcript of the resulting interview for the paper’s paid on-line section, but some valuable extracts are placed here.

A couple interesting points emerge. One is basically a variation on Barack Obama’s “We are the ones we have been waiting for!” Just as with Nelson Mandela in South Africa, Suu Kyi in her long-term imprisonment has long been the focus of attention for those seeking to democratize Burmese society, so that it’s only her recent freedom that has provided new hope that progress can be made. Yet she takes care to mildly remonstrate against such a preoccupation, saying that success will depend on many others than just her, and particularly on the young people she now sees swelling the ranks of her supporters.

The other is that, from the tenor of the reporters’ questions, it seems that that pro-democracy movement within the country is already divided into a number of factions. Or is it? Could this merely be some sort of military government tactic? That’s what Suu Ky suspects – although she admits she hasn’t yet had enough full exposure to the national political scene to be able to know for sure – and she is anyway relying on all parties being willing to work together to advance at least their broadest, most-important goal of bringing back truly free and fair elections for choosing the government.

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