Latest from The Guardian:
April 2, 2016
Bill to appoint Nobel laureate as powerful state counsellor, bypassing ban on her becoming president, passes upper house
Published: 1 Apr 2016
“I think by now I have made it fairly clear that I am not very happy with the word ‘hope.’ I don’t believe in people just hoping. We work for what we want.”
—Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
Dear Friends and Fellow laborers,
I am receiving emails asking me what this means for Myanmar (Burma) and will it affect any COG members there.
My answer is somewhat complicated unless you know something about the recent history of Myanmar.
Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi derives her power in Myanmar because she is the beloved daughter of General Aung San, a hero of Myanmar independence. In World War 2, the Japanese invaded and conquered Myanmar. They were later driven out by the combined forces of the British, Americans and Chinese. However, Myanmar remained a part of the British Empire.
Aung San, the father of Aung San Suu Gyi is recognized as the founder of the Union of Burma because he organized the various ethnic groups into a cohesive political force to pursue independence from the British.
On January 27, 1947, an agreement was signed with the British Prime Minister Clement Atlee to declare Burma’s independence within one year. Aung San was assassinated soon after.
After his assassination, political unrest and insurgencies plagued Myanmar until Ne Win’s coup d’etat in 1962 which established a military controlled government.
Aung San Suu Gyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party has been the leading voice of dissent. This has posed quite a dilemma for the military government who, since 1989 have kept her in prison or under house arrest. She is dangerous to their remaining in power and yet, she is loved by all the people.
There remains a static stand-off in which the military and the NLD do not want to push too hard. The military has the guns after all. The military proved in the 1988 protests that they were willing to kill hundreds, even monks, to maintain their power.
This recent election changes things for the better. Aung San Suu Kyi will be given real power, even though she does not hold the presidency. It is one of her party members who is president. The military still holds a great deal of power in the legislature and they still have the guns.
However, this change will allow Aung San Suu Gyi to influence a slow opening of more human rights for the people of Burma. Even more important, money will now pour into Burma. Aung San Suu Gyi is loved all over the world. She is the only non-Head of State ever to address the U.S. Congress.
This move will do more than anything else to legitimize the rogue military regime in Myanmar. Since the generals and their families all have major stakes in businesses with international aspirations, this is a smart move on their part. They give up a part of their political power and gain a lot by legitimizing a once pariah nation. International sanctions are already being lifted so foreign concerns can gain access to the riches of Myanmar’s natural resources which include oil and gas, gold, platinum and gems, Rare Earth Minerals (REMs) and even uranium.
This year Myanmar holds the chairmanship of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations), and Myanmar is ready to put on a smiling face. But there are still problems under the whitewash.
This is real progress. More economic opportunities are opening up. Here in Thailand, many migrant workers are going back to find work in Myanmar.
The COG brethren will benefit from economic development. Some Legacy grads perhaps will find good employment due to their English language skills. We will know more after our trip to Myanmar for the Spring Holy Days.
Warmest regards to all,
T. Leon Sexton
Her speech can also be viewed on Youtube: https://youtu.be/zH61i6zQ4c0
19 Sep 2012 … Nobel Laureate and Burmese Opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi received the Congressional Gold Medal for her commitment to democracy