Suu Kyi attends anniversary of Myanmar uprising that made her an icon
Aung San Suu Kyi, center, attends a religious ceremony Monday on the 23rd anniversary of the student uprising in Yangon.
August 8th, 2011
01:05 PM ET

Suu Kyi attends anniversary of Myanmar uprising that made her an icon

Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is tireless in her efforts to bring democracy to her homeland, and on Monday she continued to poke the tiger that is Myanmar's ruling military junta.

The pro-democracy icon led hundreds in a demonstration at a Yangon monastery to commemorate the anniversary of the 1988 uprising that first put Suu Kyi at the forefront of the opposition's call for democratic change, according to The Irrawaddy news magazine.

Several news outlets reported that authorities kept a close eye on the demonstrations but did not harass protesters despite the government's repeated warning to Suu Kyi that she should refrain from political activities. Voice of America reported that Suu Kyi will make a trip to Bago, about 50 miles northeast of Yangon, this weekend to attend the opening of two libraries and to meet with political network groups.

Cho Cho Kyaw Nyein, a leader of the opposition Democratic Party, told The Irrawaddy magazine, “Without democracy in our country, we will work on together under the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi.”

The protesters held a one-minute moment of silence for the estimated 3,000 people killed when Myanmar's army, which staged a coup in September 1988, attacked student-led demonstrators peacefully marching in urban areas to protest the economy and currency devaluation, according to the Democratic Voice of Burma. (Myanmar is also known as Burma.) Opposition groups say about 2,000 student leaders of the movement remain political prisoners.

“The 8888 uprising is the event that spread talk of democracy across the country, and was joined by all members of the public, including students and monks," said Than Aung, a member of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, using the popular shorthand for the August 8, 1988, demonstrations. "After 23 years, the desires of our fallen comrades who sacrificed their lives has not been fulfilled." Aung attended a protest event in Yaynanchaung township, the Democratic Voice of Burma reported.

At the gathering in Yangon, Suu Kyi called for unity among the nation's opposition groups, the magazine reported. Despite drafting a new constitution in 2008 - a document Suu Kyi opposes - Myanmar is run by a nominally civilian government belonging largely to the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party.

Human rights groups used Monday's protests to call for the United Nations to establish a commission that would investigate alleged crimes against humanity by Myanmar's rulers. Fifteen countries - including the United States, Canada and much of Europe - have spoken in support of such a commission, VOA reported.

Suu Kyi has spent most of the last two decades in some form of detention. In November, Myanmar's government released her from house arrest to a throng of supporters who rushed to her lakeside Yangon home after the gates were opened.

"I'm very happy to see you all again," she said after being hidden from the public eye for so long.

Since then, she has hardly shied away from the political statements that have put her at odds with the military government.

She has called for a new military mentality and for the people of Myanmar to be empowered. She urged business and political leaders gathered at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, not to forget Myanmar as they rebuild the global economy.

In June via video link, she addressed U.S. lawmakers for the first time, asking Congress to help enforce a U.N. Human Rights Council resolution calling for political reconciliation, judicial independence, freedom of speech and the release of certain political prisoners, among other things.

Despite her remarks that have riled the government, Suu Kyi met this month with Labor Minister Aung Kyi in an exchange both parties called "positive," according to The Guardian. The British newspaper said the meeting was seen as a sign that the government was eager to improve its international image.

The government has gone to lengths to marginalize Suu Kyi in the past, as her lengthy house arrests can attest. In 2007, the government went so far as to order the entire population, including city dwellers, to grow physic nut, aka Jatropha Curcas, which has limited commercial. According to The Irrawaddy, observers said the mandate came at the behest of President Than Shwe's astrologer, who suggested that planting nut - known in Burmese as kyet suu, the astrological opposite of Suu Kyi - could neutralize the pro-democracy icon.

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Filed under: Civil Rights • Economy • Human rights • Justice • Military • Myanmar • United Nations • World
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. henry

    Is Suu a Juu or Juuish? Im Juuish meself.

    August 8, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Don't be silly. Her name is SuuKyi Aris as her English husband's name is Michael Aris. formally, she is Mrs. Michael Aris. Her brother who disowned her for marrying an Englishman has the name AungSan Oo. Orientals have their names back to front. AungSan is his father.
      Mrs. Aris lived only a few years in Burma. she went to school in India, to Oxford later. She never did anything for Burma or Burmese people. In 1988 she was already 43, as a housewife in Oxford. She became famous because of English media, having done nothing for Burma when the socialist/communist regime was torturing and killing people.
      Funny the whole world has been fooled by leading newspapers and televisons of England. Weird. She is no Mandela, just a widow.

      August 8, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. cesar

    Her full name is Suu Kyi Yaki. There is a famous chinese restaurant dish named after her.

    August 8, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |

    i like suu kyi, suu kyi,..

    August 8, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |

    is it true that oriental people name their kids by throwing a pail down an alley and listen to the noise it makes???

    August 8, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy


    My day isn't complete unless I do that at least *once* to Ruffie...

    August 8, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. fernace

    Y'all so silly! But 'fraid Party Poop cavalry is riding in! Sukiyaki is a dish, Cesar! But you knew that, right! Suu Kyi (pronounced kee-yee) is a woman to be admired! We think we have problems here,ha, we don't know from problems! This chick is single handedly trying to change a regime that is decicedly human unfriendly & she's been at it for over 20 years! She's the Nelson Mandela of Burma(Myanmar)! I say more power to you Aung San Suu Kyi & may you see the change you've been working for before your last breath!!

    August 8, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jazzzzzzzz

      well said Fernace...Wonder how many people can say they have done that much with their life, to effectively change the lives of so many!

      August 8, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      you are really funny, fernace. she can keep on dreaming.

      August 8, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Victoria

      Well said fernace, would the rest of you muppets such as 'no problems' stand up to a miliatary dictatorship, I think not, to busy been self absorbed in your own little world, get a life, and is there any need for such foul languge, if you worked for me and I read your post, I would fire you on the spot. you may have lost your job and your house, but have you ever seen a family butchered, because the junta told them to move so they could build a pipeline for shell, Burma is hell on earth, Suu Kyi is one of the most inspiring women in the world.

      August 9, 2011 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
  7. No Problems?

    @fernace: so you don't think that if the dow looses 1,200 points there's no problem here. What kind of stupid ass are you. Who the fuk cares about that b!tch. Must be you are a rich guy that doesn't care about the 97% of our people. I lost my home and I lost my job, and you think we don't have any problems. Grow up and listen to the news you rich ass.

    August 8, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. andy

    Well said "No problems"

    August 8, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jazzzzzzzz

    @ No Problems... I'm so sorry to hear that you are among so many Americans who have been effected by the Bush-Carylee deal...ohhh so long ago bush the Bin landens and Bush made sure with 911 we would all be on that train to Georgia (full throtle) baby!

    August 8, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mad Hatter

    I lost my home and job and am fighting to stay alive however you "no problems have a lot of anger and resentment that is felt by many. Some of us have better control on "venting" those feelings. Chill out. Go to the gym and take your frustrations out there.

    August 8, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mad Hatter

    Before you develop a n anal fistula.

    August 8, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dim

    I am Burmese and I am offended by some of these comments. Not all, but enough to make me want to write a comment. We don't have the same last names in Burma, and every name style is different because there are 8 main ethnic groups, that all have their own traditions. Kachin, Kaya, Kayin, Chin, Mon, Rakhine, Burma, Shan. I'm from the Chin ethnic group, but I really don't see why the spelling of her name matters. She's an inspirational woman that is fighting for her/my country and I am proud to be Burmese because of her.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
  13. Mohammad Salam

    Oh,dear Suu Kyi ! I have no word to express your honesty and also your honorable think of true for our Rohingyas.So much thank for you.I wish to success your life in Myanmar in future

    August 28, 2011 at 4:40 am | Report abuse |