Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi's (leaked) TV address


Burma (Myanmar) opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi listens as UNESCO officials speak during a press conference at her residence February 10, 2012 in Yangon, Burma. Suu Kyi is continuing a very public campaign ahead of April 1 by-elections. Her decision to stand for a seat in parliament is the latest sign of dramatic political changes taking place in the country.


Paula Bronstein

Two decades after Burma's army crushed her campaign rallies and voided her election to the premier's seat, Aung San Suu Kyi is campaigning on Burmese television.

Don't expect theatrics: the pro-democracy icon is straightforward and stiff throughout her televised speech.

That the government is offering the pro-democracy icon her 15 allotted minutes of air time at all signals a sharp reversal. Just one year ago, publicly displaying her image or the image of her party -- which is contesting April 1 by-elections -- would have invited abuse and confinement.

Depending on when you're reading this, you may be viewing her speech before the Burmese public. It's a leaked take of a pre-recorded speech, which was partly censored, according to the BBC.

The speech is, of course, in Burmese. But the Associated Press reports that she offered a "stiff criticism of the status quo" and spoke of rolling back oppressive laws.

According to an AP translation, she even acknowledged that the "military must play a role for the development of the country ... I also believe that the military, which was founded by my father, General Aung San, is always ready to serve in the interest of the country."