The Strength of a Lady

Things are happening in Burma. Apparently, the country is finally opening up. Luc Besson’s film is a good way to catch up on history.

For those of us who haven’t really been following the life story of Aung San Suu Kyi, The Lady is definitely a good start for learning about this remarkable woman. The French-English film depicts the life of the Burmese freedom fighter: from being the daughter of the father of Burmese independence to her youth in India and England, and finally her non-violent fight for the democratization of Burma.

Aung San Suu Kyi brought the struggle of the Burmese people to the international public and was awarded – as first Asian woman – in 1991 with the Nobel Peace Prize. She has spent many years of her life under house arrest – a tragic situation nicely shown in the movie. Finally, in 2010, Aun San Suu Kyi regained her freedom.

Many positive changes have happened since and aren’t part of the movie, which stops in the second period of house arrest. From 2010 up to now, many political prisoners have been released and trade unions have been legalized. But minorities in the North of the country are still fighting with the military, people are still being killed and women are still raped. Many Burmese minorities are still living in camps on the Thai border. Furthermore, NGO’s like Human Rights Watch are still not allowed to enter the country. (Read their report on the current situation in Burma here).

Also the figure of Aung San Suu Kyi does not just have one side. She definitely is not seen with the same eyes from within Burma and from the West. Luc Besson’s movie can only give us the latter. It is however a good starting point for trying to understand the latest happenings.

Earlier this year, Aung San Suu Kyi stated she will participate in the elections held in Burma on 01 April. The upcoming elections will not solve the problems in Burma, that’s for sure, but they are a step in the right direction. However, the “Joan d’Arc of Asia” is already a grandma now. She will need people to follow in her footsteps.

(What the new developments mean for the county is another story, so stay tuned!)

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3 thoughts on “The Strength of a Lady

  1. The “election commission” have just now formally approved Daw Suu’s long-standing application to run again for office. The military government understands that having her in office will open the door to foreign finances, so they are unlikely to impede her election. They have an overwhelming majority in the government, so will be easily able to outvote any reforms she attempts. The question though is how long foreign financiers (such as India and their “Look East” policy) will stand by and watch the government continue to quash such attempts at reform. The military must play this very carefully if they expect to reap the benefits of both their authoritarian regime and the opening of increased foreign investment.

    • I agree on all points. The new constitution doesn’t actually leave a lot of space next to the military… Aung San Suu Kyi will not have that much space for making big changes in her country. Still people around here in Thailand are positive, some migrant workers are heading home because they believe things will change in April…let’s hope with them.

  2. Pingback: Before the Elections | Kosmos 9

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