Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese pro-democracy, opposition leader and a former General Secretary of National League for Democracy (NLD), compared the December revolution in Tunisia with the 1988 political upheaval in Myanmar while delivering a speech for BBC’s Radio 4 channel.
Suu Kyi pointed out that both uprisings originated with small events, gradually gathering mass and nationwide support to become national protests demanding freedom with the only difference lying in how they ended.
While the 1988 uprising by Burmese students was crushed by the military, the Tunisian revolution marked an end to the dictatorial reign of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.
Suu Kyi, who has been excluded from politics since 1989, lauded the communications revolution for the success of Tunisian pursuit of freedom. She said that unlike the uprising in Myanmar, this political movement was better coordinated and the whole world’s attention was riveted on it, thanks to the leaps in communication technology.
It is likely that the authorities will not be pleased with Suu Kyi’s comparison of the two movements. Suu Kyi, who has spent 15 of the last 21 years in detainment and was released last November from house arrest, was threatened by the authorities of ‘tragic consequences’ if she and her party NLD did not change their opposition positions because NLD had approved of the Western sanctions on Myanmar.