Quantcast
Connect with us

Myanmar people get Q and A with Suu Kyi

Published

on

WASHINGTON — Radio Free Asia has launched a question and answer show with Aung San Suu Kyi, giving the people of military-ruled Myanmar the rarest of opportunities to communicate directly with the democracy icon.

The US-funded broadcaster is airing weekly Burmese-language segments on Friday evenings with the 65-year-old opposition leader, who has been under house arrest for 15 of the last 21 years and was last released in November.

Questions for Suu Kyi come in via email or phone and some have already arrived from people within Myanmar, a Radio Free Asia spokesman told AFP, adding that 20 percent of adults there listen to the program.

Myanmar’s ruling junta clamps down hard on any dissent but is unable technically to block the broadcasts, which the population of the majority Buddhist southeast Asian nation of 50 million can pick up on shortwave radio.

“In Burma, there is no opinion or perspective expressed on official media apart from that of the ruling regime,” Nyein Shwe, service director of RFA Burmese, said, using Myanmar’s colonial name.

“Many Burmese people never in their lifetimes imagined they would be able to hear Aung San Suu Kyi discuss her views nor ask her their questions on the radio. For them, it?s a first.”

ADVERTISEMENT

A pilot episode, broadcast on November 30, featured six questions from members of the diaspora living outside the country: a doctor, a cartoonist, a student leader, a monk, an activist and an ethnic leader.

Radio Free Asia provided a special audio version of the first “Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the People” show with Suu Kyi answering the questions in English. This can be found on the group’s website at www.rfa.org/english.

“We have constantly reviewed our position with regard to sanctions and once again we are going to see if there is anything we can do to improve the situation,” she replied to one question, treading carefully.

Suu Kyi was freed from detention on November 13, days after a rare election which has been widely panned by international observers including US President Barack Obama, who said Myanmar’s “bankrupt regime” had stolen the vote.

ADVERTISEMENT

Obama’s administration launched dialogue with Myanmar’s military rulers last year after concluding that Western attempts to isolate the regime had produced little success.

Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has welcomed this engagement but warned that greater human rights and economic progress are still needed.

She told CNN in an interview last month that Washington must be “keeping your eyes open and alert and seeing what is really going on, and where engagement is leading to and what changes really need to be brought about.”

Senior US official Joseph Y. Yun arrives in Myanmar on Tuesday for the first high-level talks between the two countries since Myanmar’s election and Suu Kyi’s release. He will also meet Suu Kyi.

ADVERTISEMENT

Yun will urge the authorities to “improve their human rights records, release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally and begin genuine dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi and pro-democracy and ethnic leaders to work towards national reconciliation,” a spokesperson said.

The junta’s political proxy claimed an overwhelming victory in the November 7 elections — Myanmar’s first in two decades — amid opposition complaints of cheating and voter intimidation.

Critics say the vote was a charade aimed at preserving the rule of the military junta. It was widely criticized internationally as a sham.

According to state media, junta leader Senior General Than Shwe hailed the “free and fair elections” and said just two of seven steps needed to be completed on his self-styled “roadmap to democracy.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Replying to another question in the inaugural RFA show, Suu Kyi said: “There are many things that are not satisfactory about the present roadmap for democracy.

“We think that this should be discussed very, very thoroughly between all those who wish to really promote the process for democracy in Burma.”

Myanmar has been ruled by the military since 1962 and has refused to recognize the results of elections in 1990 that Suu Kyi’s party won by a landslide.

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Virginia Democrats are so fired up that the party chair had to scold them: ‘Sit down — be quiet’

Published

on

Democrats in Virginia are fired up as they gathered in Richmond for their annual gala dinner.

Political analysts believe the Democratic Party of Virginia has a good chance to win control of the state legislature in 2019's election, before setting their sights on the Commonwealth continuing its recent trend of voting Democratic in presidential elections.

Patrick Wilson, a political reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, attended the event.

He reported that Democrats were so "noisy" that it was hard to hear the speakers, which include presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘Everyone knows what to expect’ at Trump’s Amway Center re-election kickoff

Published

on

Donald Trump considers himself a legendary salesman, but can he really sell America on giving him four more drama-filled years at the White House?

Tuesday, he'll make his big pitch.

The 2020 reelection kickoff rally is being held in Orlando, Florida and campaign operations chief Michael Glassner says the "historic" event "has already generated tens of thousands of ticketing requests."

There's little mystery about how the night will go down.

Expect Trump, the self-promoting hero of his ghost-written book "The Art of the Deal," to claim the US economy is richer, the military stronger, and the country more respected than ever in history.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Florida man’s own family blasts him after he was arrested for racist threats: ‘This isn’t how we were raised’

Published

on

After a Florida man was arrested for trying to start a race war, a member of his own family slammed his values.

"A Florida man’s social media posts that threatened violence against African-Americans, Jews and homosexuals and that urged his followers to start a race war netted him a $1 million bond," the Miami Herald reported Saturday. "And then there’s another $100,000 bond he would have to pay to get out of Lee County Jail because of a weapons charge."

Joshua Leff, 40, is being held in the Lee County Jail.

Continue Reading
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

I need your help.

Investigating Trump's henchmen is a full time job, and I'm trying to bring in new team members to do more exclusive reports. We have more stories coming you'll love. Join me and help restore the power of hard-hitting progressive journalism.

TAKE A LOOK
close-link

Investigating Trump is a full-time job, and I want to add new team members to do more exclusive reports. We have stories coming you'll love. Join me and go ad-free, while restoring the power of hard-hitting progressive journalism.

TAKE A LOOK
close-link