On Your Next Burma Vacation, Stay Out of Aung San Suu Kyi’s Lake

Burma's Suu Kyi taken to prison
Burma's opposition leader charged
Lawyer: Trial imminent for Myanmar's Suu Kyi
Burmese Opposition says Aung San Suu Kyi to Face Trial

The opposition leader's latest house arrest was due to expire at the end of this month, so this shoe was surely poised to drop. It's been a long, very slow, very unhappy road for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. From our visit to Burma, way back in 1995:

513182250_burma08-1 Chan turned down University Avenue. This was where The Lady lived, behind a yellow and green picket fence at #54. She's the daughter of the national hero Aung San, and her National League for Democracy was elected in 1990. The State Law and Order Restoration Council, or SLORC, admitted the results but wouldn't hand over power. (The SLORC was later renamed the State Peace and Development Council, SLORC apparently sounding too evil even for SLORC.)

To say "freely elected" would be misleading. In the run-up to the election whole towns were dislocated, in an attempt to untrack the steamroller. Even through all this, the NLD won convincingly.

So now instead of fleeing to join her husband in London with the forced promise she'd never return, Aung San Suu Kyi lived alone, surrounded by military at #54 University Avenue – across the lake from the military leader.

Chan pointed out there was no military outside.

"Inside the gate," he said.

About the dislocations:

We met a man named Kyaw who finished school in '77 as a geologist but had always been a tour guide. Clear-eyed and soft-spoken with an open face, Kyaw was easy to like, and it didn't take much prodding to hear his whole story.

When he first started his tour guide job he was posted to Pagan, optimistically eight hours drive to the northwest and full of ancient pagodas.

He met and married a country girl, built a house with his own hands and settled back, he thought, to live out his life there. The sunsets were beautiful, he smiled.

They had a daughter.

Then a man he'd met in his tour guide job invited him to visit the U.S. After saving enough to care for his family in his absence, he did. For six months he stayed in the U.S. He saw his first snow in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

One day in 1988 he heard on Christian Science Monitor radio that his entire village had to move. The military government was trying to disrupt the elections in March of that year. They lost anyhow, but didn’t turn over power.

A week later Kyaw got a letter from his wife saying she had a week to tear down the house he'd built and move, along with everybody else in town, ten kilometers away.

(Photo from the Burma Gallery at EarthPhotos.com.)

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