Scott: She has become the symbol of democracy in Myanmar. And now Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi has won a seat in parliament according to her party. It is a huge change from just 17 months ago when Suu Kyi’s political party was outlawed and she was not even allowed to leave her home.
“It is the rising political awareness of our people that we regard as our greatest triumph.”
Scott: For fifty years, Myanmar’s been ruled by the military, which has violently cracked down on human rights and free speech. It was with a promise of democracy that Suu Kyi’s political party won elections in Myanmar back in 1990. The military leadership ignored the results and placed her under house arrest.
In 2007, Buddhist monks led a protest against the government calling for more freedom and democratic reforms. The brutal crackdown that followed was caught on tape by ordinary people who risked torture and arrest to capture some of the most violent moments of the uprising. The footage helped bring international attention to their cause and Suu Kyi was finally allowed to leave her home in 2010 and run for parliament.
For years, the U.S. and European Union have placed sanctions, or economic punishments, on Myanmar. If the elections are found to be free and fair, those sanctions may be lifted, which would mean a huge change in the U.S. relationship with Myanmar.
- How do you think Myanmar will be different once the sanctions are lifted?