Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has said she would be “above the president” if her National League for Democracy wins Sunday’s election.
The NLD is widely expected to do well in the election, but Ms Suu Kyi is banned from taking the role of president by the constitution.
On Sunday, more than 30 million voters across Myanmar can cast their ballots in the country’s first relatively free elections in 25 years. The nationwide vote is a milestone in the Southeast Asian nation’s transformation from isolated military dictatorship to a more open society, seeking to attract foreign investment and tourists.
Burma begins a new chapter and one hopes that it is one that brings happiness for the Burmese people. Mention Burma or Myanmar as it is now called to a western graduate and they won’t know what you’re talking about. However things are now changing and all because of the strength and believe of one individual called Aung San Suu Kyi. Last month Aung San Suu Kyi was sworn in as a MP at Burmas parliament building located in the new capital of Nay Pyi Daw which means the seat of Kings.
Yesterday Aung San Suu Kyi made history as she delivered her acceptance speech for her peace prize in Oslo more than twenty years after it was awarded. The Independent newspaper report provides an insight into her speech.
In a speech by turns personal and universal she spelled out her philosophy of non-violent political change, rooted in her Buddhist faith: how the value of kindness – “there can never be enough kindness in the world,” she said – can conquer suffering and isolation.
After serving two years of house arrest she heard the news that she had won the Nobel Peace Prize.
She explained how the Nobel Prize Committee’s decision to award her the coveted peace prize 21 years ago, when she had already endured more than two years of house arrest, made her feel real again. “I didn’t feel quite real in those days,” she explained. Shut away from her colleagues and the Burmese population which had voted her party into power, a vote the military simply ignored, she had the feeling that each person was “a separate planet pursuing its own separate course in an indifferent universe”. The award of the prize, which she heard about on the radio, “restored a sense of reality to me … it drew me back into the wider human community … We were not going to be forgotten.” And she reminded her distinguished audience of the fact that, despite the much-ballyhooed changes in Burma in the past year, changes that have permitted her finally to travel abroad, there are still political prisoners in jail there who must not be forgotten, because “one political prisoner is one too many”.
She made it clear that although progress was being made it was still strictly limited which was made plain for all to see………….
With macabre timing, her departure from Burma for her first return to Europe in 24 years was scarred by an outbreak of communal violence in the far west of the country, near the border with Bangladesh, where local Buddhists and Muslims clashed after the rape and murder of a Buddhist girl. Despite the government declaring a state of emergency in the state, the violence continued for days, with the death toll reaching 50. More than 2,000 homes and other buildings have been destroyed, and thousands made homeless. Meanwhile, a vicious small war between the Burmese army and the Kachin Independence Army in the far north of the country drags on, defying all the claims that Burma is moving towards a peace settlement with its many minorities.
This week Aung San Suu Kyi visits Britain the home of her late husband. She hasn’t been to Britain for 24 years having spent 15 years of house arrest. The world will be watching and the people of Burma will continue to pray that she continues to stay positive and healthy in rebuilding democracy for their country.
The Nobel Peace Prize 1991: The words of Aung San Suu Kyi that was broadcasted to the world on the 16th June 2012
Often during my days of house arrest it felt as though I were no longer a part of the real world. There was the house which was my world, there was the world of others who also were not free but who were together in prison as a community, and there was the world of the free.
Each was a different planet pursuing its own separate course in an indifferent universe. What the Nobel Peace Prize did was to draw me once again into the world of other human beings outside the isolated area in which I lived, to restore a sense of reality to me.
This did not happen instantly, of course, but as the days and months went by and news of reactions to the award came over the airwaves, I began to understand the significance of the Nobel Prize. It had made me real once again; it had drawn me back into the wider human community. And what was more important, the Nobel Prize had drawn the attention of the world to the struggle for democracy and human rights in Burma. We were not going to be forgotten.
Aung San Suu Kyi held her Nobel Lecture on 16 June, 2012, in the Oslo City Hall, Norway. See the entire lecture at www.nobelprize.org
The French say that to part is to die a little. To be forgotten, too, is to die a little. It is to lose some of the links that anchor us to the rest of humanity. When I met Burmese migrant workers and refugees during my recent visit to Thailand, many cried out: “Don’t forget us!” They meant: “Don’t forget our plight. Don’t forget to do what you can to help us. Don’t forget we also belong to your world.” When the Nobel Committee awarded the Peace Prize to me they were recognising that the oppressed and the isolated in Burma were also a part of the world. They were recognising the oneness of humanity. So, for me, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize means personally extending my concerns for democracy and human rights beyond national borders. The Nobel Peace Prize opened up a door in my heart.
The First World War represented a terrifying waste of youth and potential, a cruel squandering of the positive forces of our planet … And for what? Nearly a century on, we have yet to find a satisfactory answer. Are we not still guilty, if to a less violent degree, of recklessness, of improvidence with regard to our future and our humanity? War is not the only arena where peace is done to death. Wherever suffering is ignored, there will be the seeds of conflict, for suffering degrades and embitters and enrages.
We are fortunate to be living in an age when social welfare and humanitarian assistance are recognised not only as desirable but necessary. I am fortunate to be living in an age when the fate of prisoners of conscience anywhere has become the concern of peoples everywhere, an age when democracy and human rights are widely, even if not universally, accepted as the birthright of all … If I am asked why I am fighting for democracy in Burma, it is because I believe that democratic institutions and practices are necessary for the guarantee of human rights.
Over the past year there have been signs that the endeavours of those who believe in democracy and human rights are beginning to bear fruit in Burma … Steps towards democratisation have been taken. If I advocate cautious optimism it is not because I do not have faith in the future but because I do not want to encourage blind faith … Burma is a country of many ethnic nationalities and faith in its future can be founded only on a true spirit of union.
Since we achieved independence in 1948, there never has been a time when we could claim the whole country was at peace. We have not been able to develop the trust and understanding necessary to remove causes of conflict … We hope that ceasefire agreements will lead to political settlements founded on the aspirations of the peoples, and the spirit of union. My party, the National League for Democracy, and I stand ready and willing to play any role in the process of national reconciliation.
The peace of our world is indivisible. As long as negative forces are getting the better of positive forces anywhere, we are all at risk. It may be questioned whether all negative forces could ever be removed. The simple answer is: no. It is in human nature to contain both the positive and the negative. However, it is also within human capability to work to reinforce the positive and to minimise or neutralise the negative. Absolute peace in our world is an unattainable goal. But it is one towards which we must continue to journey, our eyes fixed on it as a traveller in a desert fixes his eyes on the one guiding star that will lead him to salvation. Even if we do not achieve perfect peace on earth, because perfect peace is not of this earth, common endeavours to gain peace will unite individuals and nations in trust and friendship and help to make our human community safer and kinder.
Of the sweets of adversity, and let me say that these are not numerous, I have found the sweetest, the most precious of all, is the lesson I learnt on the value of kindness. Every kindness I received, small or big, convinced me that there could never be enough of it in our world. To be kind is to respond with sensitivity and human warmth to the hopes and needs of others. Even the briefest touch of kindness can lighten a heavy heart. Kindness can change the lives of people.
Ultimately our aim should be to create a world free from the displaced, the homeless and the hopeless, a world of which each and every corner is a true sanctuary where the inhabitants will have the freedom and the capacity to live in peace. Every thought, every word, and every action that adds to the positive and the wholesome is a contribution to peace. Each and every one of us is capable of making such a contribution. Let us join hands to try to create a peaceful world where we can sleep in security and wake in happiness.
When I joined the democracy movement in Burma, it never occurred to me that I might ever be the recipient of any prize or honour. The prize we were working for was a free, secure and just society where our people might be able to realise their full potential. The honour lay in our endeavour. History had given us the opportunity to give of our best for a cause in which we believed. When the Nobel Committee chose to honour me, the road I had chosen of my own free will became a less lonely path to follow. For this I thank the committee, the people of Norway and peoples all over the world whose support has strengthened my faith in the common quest for peace.
Telegraph.co.ukAung San Suu Kyi: A lesson in the value of kindnessThe IndependentSpeaking to a packed, hushed hall in Oslo yesterday, Aung San Suu Kyi … The UN’s observer mission in Syria was suspended after the commanding officer … and months we …
Aung San Suu Kyi Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech Gives the World Hope
This is the first step the first time that Aung San Suu Kyi has run for political office and the first time that her party National league for democracy has taken part in elections in twenty years. International observers are in Burma and reports are positive even though the observers did not have a great deal of time to organise everything they wanted to see. Burma makes the first step back into the world even though the elections won’t shift the power of the current rulers it is the first step for Burma to move towards a true democracy.
Pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) were swept into Burma’s parliament on Sunday after 45 by-elections were held across the country amid unprecedented political reforms that could see an end to crippling economic sanctions.
The polls pitted the NLD directly against the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party(USDP), and victory will give the 66 year-old an unprecedented say in Burma’s political life.
More than 170 candidates from 17 political parties contested the by-elections,with early results suggesting Suu Kyi had picked up at least 65 percent of the vote.
An official declaration could take days.
“Suu Kyi remains the symbol of hope for Burmese looking for a change in their fortunes. Her victory could create exaggerated expectations about the pace and scope of change,” says Carl Thayer, Emeritus Professor with the University of New South Wales in Australia.
Thousands turned out in their respective electorates, claiming their right to vote in one of the few polls Burma has held in the last 25 years. For the Nobel laureate, who spent 15 of those years under house arrest, her poor village of Wa Thin Kha in her seat of Kawhmu provided a stunning backdrop for her win.
However, her voice in parliament will be limited as the opposition NLD will hold only a tiny minority in the 664-seat assembly. Another three by-elections were abandoned due to security reasons.
Still, Thayer adds: “What is significant is that the government permitted Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD to register and run in so many constituencies.”
Her victory will also be seen as a plus by Naypyidaw, and in particular President Thein Sein, who is currently in Cambodia for the annual summit of the Association of South East Asia Nations.
Suu Kyi had already criticized the campaign, saying it couldn’t be described as democratic after reports of irregularities involving voting rolls. This continued on the day amid complaints that dead people were still listed and legitimate voters weren’t, despite having registered.
In Shan state, there were complaints ballots had been waxed, preventing voters from marking the papers as they saw fit….More at Aung San Suu Kyi Sweeps to Win
Aung San Suu Kyi declared a “new era” for Burma Monday, after her party claimed a landslide victory in Sunday's parliamentary by-elections.
Media, politicians and people around the world will be watching Burma today.
Today’s landmark election may send Aung San Suu Kyi into parliament after decades of struggling of against the military-dominated government. Aung San Suu Kyi had to put a hold on her campaign last week as she suffered from exhaustion. Now the world waits to see and hear the results of all her efforts and commitments to the country that she loves.
National PostEU may ease sanctions on burma in AprilDeccan ChronicleThe European Union looks set to ease some sanctions on Burma in April if Sunday’s byelections go smoothly, but the EU trade commissioner said the bloc would not rush to lift key trad …
Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi says her party will continue to campaign for the forthcoming election, despite what she called “irregular” and “illegal” activities in the military-crafted political system.
Burma's economy could emerge as the next ASEAN Tiger economy, despite the political and economic challenges, if the Burmese government continues to pursue its reform agenda. This will be a significant positive boost to the ASEAN region and to realizing the long-term objectives of the ASEAN Economic Community.
Myanmar beaches are not jampacked like many other Asian shores and tourists can easily have some long stretches of white silver sands to themselves at many of the major resorts.
Among all Myanmar beach destinations, Ngapali Beachfront is among the most established and most popular of Myanmar beaches with almost everything from contemporary five-star resort hotels to bungalows for “back pack” tourists. Today several of Myanmar shorelines are now wide open to sightseers. Stunning, non-crowded Myanmar shores in the western side and the spotless Myanmar Andaman Island destinations in the south are open for new business in 2011.
Many New resorts are now opening up on all Myanmar seashores. As already noted Ngapali is said to be the most gorgeous of Myanmar beaches, and certainly it is pristine, clean and relaxing, even though it is showing signs of advancement.
Myanmar suffered terribly when the world famous Nargis cyclone struck a few years ago. However the most essential tourist sites were not impacted and continue to improve. If your looking for beaches that are beautiful and undeveloped, uncrowded and undiscovered, then Myanmar will fit your requirements.
Many of Myanmar beautiful beaches are spread out along the coast towards the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea. It seems that all Myanmar beaches have breathtaking sunsets where the sun’s rays settle little by little until it finally descends into the sea each night.
Fresh resorts are now opening up on all Myanmar shorelines There are also some 800 pristine exotic islands dotted off the southern tip of the country in the Andaman Sea.
Myanmar beach holidays are perfect add-on tours to unwind after your cultural and other venture trips in Myanmar. It is the excellent idea to finish off your Myanmar voyage with a relaxing beach holiday
If you are visiting Myanmar in the near future, you surely want your visit to be luxurious and comfortable. The hotel you stay in has a great deal to do with how comfortable your visit is. There are a few top Myanmar hotels that will be detailed here. Each one is a five-state hotel, delivering the finest in luxury and relaxation. The first, Dusit Inya Lake Resort, is located in the capitol city of Yangon (Rangoon) and charges only $60 USD per room per night. The astounding natural beauty of Myanmar has been preserved around this resort for your enjoyment. Located only 15 minutes from Yangon International Airport as well as the central business district, this hotel has a prime location for your convenience.
The Strand Hotel Yangon is also located in Yangon and has many excellent features for your benefit. When you choose this over the other Myanmar hotels, you will enjoy great amounts of recreation, in-house massages, all sorts of business services, and a grand ballroom for special events, celebrations and dinners. Your room features a satellite color TV, a safe to keep your personal possessions secure, and 24-hour professional room service. Enjoy shopping at the Strand Boutique for handicrafts and textiles. The cost to stay in this hotel is $245 USD.
In Mandalay, there are several Myanmar hotels, including one called the Sedona Hotel Mandalay. The ideal location is set right in the heart of the city. In fact, City Center is only three minutes from this gorgeously-landscaped getaway and a short 12 minutes from the Mandalay airport. There are 247 rooms and suites to choose from, each featuring attractive ethnic and modern fused decoration. Recreational facilities include a spa center, tennis courts, a swimming pool, fitness center and body beauty facility. The cost to stay in this luxurious location is $115 USD.
In Bagan (Pagan), there is a hotel called the Aureum Palace Bagan Hotel. This has been described by some as a tranquil paradise, the perfect place to escape to. Tropically-landscaped gardens surround the hotel, which offers a luxurious stay to all its guests. Authentic antiques beautify each villa, adding to the exotic Myanmar atmosphere. Private terraces, Jacuzzis and plunge pools are accessible in many villas. To stay here will cost you $70 USD. Clearly, there are many top-notch Myanmar hotels to choose from on your next visit with varying benefits in amenities, sites and location.
Myanmar is a country located in Southeast Asia with China to its north along with Laos and Thailand to the east and southeast. It is the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia, being a little smaller than the state of Texas. It was once referred to as Burma, but the name was changed in 1989. The first of the many interesting Myanmar facts is that it is rich in many natural resources. These include but are not limited to zinc, copper, lumber, tungsten, coal, limestone, natural gas, marble and precious stones. The climate in Myanmar is humid, though it receives relatively little rainfall, but the temperatures are pleasant all year round. Three distinct seasons still exist, which are the hot season, rainy season and cold season.
The largest export out of Myanmar is rice, despite the plethora of other valuable natural resources. Just as the United States has a section known as the “breadbasket” because of its fertile soil and ability to grow grain, Myanmar is part of the “rice basket” of Southeast Asia. Another of the interesting Myanmar facts is that it exports million of tons of rice per year to other countries around the world. Also like the United States, Myanmar has an independence day, but they celebrate their independence on January fourth.
Some more interesting Myanmar facts include that it is not divided in the same way that the United States is. There are states, but the divisions also include townships, wards and villages. There has not always been one set capitol city, either. In 2006, the capitol changed from Yangon, which was formerly known as Rangoon, to Nay Pyi Taw. Before that, Mandalay was the capitol when the country was referred to as the Myanmar Kingdom. Today, Mandalay is still considered the cultural center of the country.
If you are visiting the country soon, important Myanmar facts for you include the reality that many major credit cards are not accepted there, so it is always wise to have some cash on you. The United States dollar is often accepted, but the national currency of Myanmar is Kyat. If you are concerned about how you will get around Myanmar, know that taxis are available almost everywhere. Also, more than 250 bus lines run through Yangon daily. If you want another form of transportation, you could always rent a car from one of the many rental services available to you in Myanmar.
If you are visiting Myanmar, there are many excellent and exciting sites you will want to see. However, if you do not have the proper tips for getting around, you will never get to the different places you have in mind. The first tip to know for successful Myanmar travel is that the main international airport is located in Yangon. It is called Yangon International Airport and has direct flights to Bangkok, Taipei, Singapore, Calcutta, Hanoi, Chiang Mai, Kuala Lumpur, Kunming, Chiang Mai, and Guangzhou. Look into updated flight schedules well in advance before booking your flight.
As a foreigner hoping to enter Myanmar, you are required to possess a valid passport and a Myanmar visa. You can obtain your needed visa with three photos and your valid passport at any Myanmar Embassy or Consulate. As of May 1, 2010, foreigners to Myanmar can apply for their visa when arriving at Yangon or Mandalay international airports. No prior arrangements with travel agencies are necessary anymore. There are different kinds of visas you can purchase at varying prices. For example, one is a 28-day tourist visa available for $30 USD per person. A 70-day business visa can be purchased for $40 USD and is extendable. Children under the age of seven do not require a visa for Myanmar travel.
Money is an important topic to discuss when you are planning a trip to Myanmar. The currency used there is called the Kyat, pronounced “chat.” The exchange rate is six Kyats for one US dollar. Authorized money changers in Yangon will help you obtain the official currency of the country during your Myanmar travel. Meanwhile, restaurants and hotels also accept Euros and the exchange rate is 1440 Kyats for one Euro. Exchanging back into US dollars at the airport is not advisable. The exchangers there will only give you one US dollar for every 450 Kyats. Keep in mind that banks in Myanmar are closed on Sundays.
The cost of your hotel and dining experiences during your Myanmar travel will depend very much upon what part of the country you are in. Prices can double if you are in certain areas. For example, a hotel stay can cost $30 USD per person in one place while the same service can be obtained in a different location for $15 USD. When it comes to tipping, local restaurants expect about 200 Kyats per person.
Bagan, also known as Pagan, is an ancient location in Myanmar. More than 2,000 pagodas and temples are open for you to visit during your trip to Bagan, Myanmar. These beautiful sites date back more than 1500 years, enriched with fascinating history and beautiful architecture. This makes for excellent sightseeing. Any time of year you wish to visit is ideal for viewing the sites at Bagan. In lower Myanmar, there is a rainy season, making this area of the country wetter. In upper Myanmar, however, where Bagan is located, there is no real rainy season. Locals called it Sommer Season.
Where do you want to stay in Bagan, Myanmar? There are many different hotels to choose from, ranging in both price and amenities from economical to four-star hotels. A wide variety of culinary options abound in Bagan, including Western food, traditional Myanmar dishes, Chinese, and other Asian cuisine. How will you choose to get around Bagan? You can arrange to do your sightseeing by car, horse cart, on your own bicycle, or even by foot. A popular attraction for visitors to this part of the country is the sunset boat trip on the Ayeyarwaddy River. Enjoy a cold drink, great food and good entertainment as you enjoy the stunning, color-changing sunset.
During the day, your sightseeing might take you to the top of Mount Popa where you can view the monastery constructed there. To set foot inside, you only need to climb 777 steps to the top! This and many other sacred sites dot the landscape of Bagan, Myanmar. The ruins of Bagan extend over 16 square miles of land, where most of the ruined buildings were constructed in the 11th to 13th centuries. Even when you are not touring a mountain top monastery or the ruins of an ancient civilization, you can still enjoy beautiful ancient architectural designs everywhere you go. Murals, valuable frescoes, stone carving and inscriptions are all available even within the city itself.
During your next journey to Bagan, Myanmar, you can enjoy both ancient religious sites and modern comfort with the selection of the right accommodations. The eclectic combination of towering architecture and humble ruins make for a unique vacation and touring experience. Be sure to try a new kind of food and give a ride in a horse cart a try! You will be disappointed by what you find in wonderful region of northern Myanmar.
The history of Myanmar dates back to 3,000 B.C. when the Mon people settled the area. Much later, about 628 AD, the Pyu civilization established a capitol in the vicinity of modern-day Prome. The area of Myanmar became a unified state during the Pagan Kingdom from 1044 – 1077. The kingdom was supported by household taxes and therefore fell into decline because of over-spending on pagodas. In 1287, Kublai Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan, ransacked Pagan, ushering in a time of conflict that would last for centuries. However, the presence of European countries had little effect on Myanmar until the infringement on the Raj in Bengal. This led directly to the British occupation of the borders of these countries. After 60 years, the British had complete control over Myanmar.
On a positive note, the British occupation transformed Myanmar into the world’s most prominent rice exporter. However, there was also a flood of Indian and Chinese immigrants who often enjoyed exploiting the Burman people. World War II was a time of political change in Myanmar. When the war ended, the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League (AFPFL) attempted to gain independence for Myanmar and succeeded in their attempts in 1947. Only three months later, the leader of AFPFL and most of his cabinet were assassinated.
The condition of Myanmar really began to go downhill in 1962 when General Ne Win overthrew the government and began establishing a socialist government. The economy crumbled as the black market soared. Many citizens lost their status if their ancestors were not part of the “original” Myanmar populations. After the populous had had enough, what with the devaluation of their currency, they revolted with riots and public letters. Finally, Ne Win stepped down in 1988. Months of turmoil followed with protests, looting and a brutal police force. Thousands died in Yangon and other areas of the country.
Later in 1988, the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) was formed to bring law and order back to Myanmar. In 1993, the SLORC chose a national convention to draft a new constitution for the country, requesting that the military be given a main government role. The convention was not conducted democratically, so the members that were also part of the National League for Democracy (NLD) literally walked away. In 1998, the new constitution was still unfinished. Despite the country’s significant resources, its development is hindered today by the continually unsettled politics there.
Freedom beckons as Myanmar votes are being counted and a new chapter begins for a country that could become the most prosperous of all Southeast Asia.
Even though the military have reserved 25% of the seats in Government if all parties work together the country will be in a prime position to trade and prosper with the world once again. Bringing freedom and life’s back to the people of Myanmar.
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Monday hinted at a victory by her party in the country’s historic elections, and urged supporters not to provoke their losing rivals who are backed by the military.
In her first comments after Sunday’s elections, Suu Kyi told a crowd gathered at the National League for Democracy party that the results won’t be announced soon, “but I think you all have the idea of the results.”
“It is still a bit early to congratulate our candidates who will be the winners,” the 70-year-old leader said. “I want to remind you all that even candidates who didn’t win have to accept the winners but it is important not to provoke the candidates who didn’t win to make them feel bad.”
Vote counting is underway in Myanmar where turnout was more than 80 percent for the nation’s first free general election in a quarter of a century.
Some 32 million people were registered to vote to select from more than 6,000 candidates for both houses of the national parliament and regional assemblies.
The country’s most famous voter and candidate, National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi, was surrounded Sunday by hundreds of supporters and journalists at the polling station near her home in Bahan township in Yangon.