Aung San Suu Kyi has spoken candidly about her years in confinement.
In her first visit to Australia, Ms Suu Kyi addressed a capacity audience at Sydney’s opera house about her struggle and life under surveillance while answering questions and discussing Burma’s road to democracy.
She approached the political “stranglehold” the army currently has on Burma by speaking about a need for constitutional amendment and reform, saying that the change needed would have to be a genuine move towards democracy.
Miss Suu Kyi touched on recent criticism of her failings to take a stance on Rohingya Muslims. “They say why am I not condemning this group or why am I not condemning that group? … And why am I not condemning the military? I am not condemning because I have not found that condemnation brings good results,” she said.
In the question-and-answer component of the night, she was asked if she had ever regretted the decision to leave her husband and children in Britain and suffer nearly 20 years under house arrest in Burma. She said it had been hard to be away from her family for so many years but that it was also “difficult for me to not love the army”, who had kept her under house arrest, because it had been founded by her father General Aung San.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner, leader of Myanmar’s National League for Democracy, wants to run for the country’s presidency in 2015, but a drastic overhaul of the constitution is needed because the current one does not allow her to run.
“The constitution is written to specifically prevent me from being president. I object to this because no constitution should be written with one person in mind. That’s not democratic,” she said.
Ms Suu Kyi is to meet Foreign Affairs minister Julie Bishop and Prime Minister Tony Abbott. She is also to meet members of the Burmese community during her visit. – Gavin Taylor
Top photo of Aung San Suu Kyi with supporters from Aktiv I Oslo.no’s Flickr photostream.