Myanmar’s Fight For Democracy And Peace

Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winning activist and daughter of independence hero, General Aung San, is working to bring peace and democracy to the Burmese people.

Having faced house arrest, including on-and-off solitary confinement between the years of 1989 and 2010, Suu Kyi has experienced first-hand the oppression of the military-ruled governing style of her country against attempts to have peace and democracy as the new norm.

Her resurface into the political sphere was met with anticipation from pro-peace nationals who applaud her attempts to bring peace, as well as international anticipation for the long-standing push for democratic rule to finally come to power.

Myanmar’s military government has been facing a long battle to try to keep their control over the growing public demand for democracy and peaceful means of government. In order to prevent this, they have barred pro-democracy and pro-peace advocates from entering into power, notably including preventing Suu Kyi from becoming president, using the fact that her children are foreign nationals as their reason. This constitutional clause is largely seen as tailored to prevent her specifically from gaining control.

However, Suu Kyi is not letting that get in the way of achieving her goal for her country. In March of this year, the first civilian president of Myanmar in 53 years was elected, Htin Kyaw. Kyaw is a close friend of Suu Kyi, making his election into the presidency a victory on her behalf; a proxy presidential position.

The president prior to him, Thein Sein, acted as a sound transitionary governor to bring Myanmar away from military dictatorship and toward democracy.

Throughout his time in power, he managed to lessen sanctions against the country through increasing ties with the West and releasing prisoners of war, as well as creating a relationship with Suu Kyi, which solidified his position as working for the people and their collective wishes.

President Sein stated his sole aim was to “respond to the people’s desire for reform” making his “future depend on the people and their wishes.” However, despite this, his stance was that the military will always play a key role in governing the country; a stance that pleased both ends of the spectrum.

Despite a seemingly good relationship, Suu Kyi, his opposition was quick to criticise his reformatory push for coming to a standstill.

With the March election of Htin Kyaw, Aung San Suu Kyi has been sworn in as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister for Education and Energy, and Head of the President’s Office. Kyaw has stated his intention to change the constitution to allow her to run for president, as it is widely acknowledged that she is, in fact, the real head of state at this time.

Peace is not only the absence of war and instability but, also the absence of oppression. Aung San Suu Kyi has brought about a peaceful movement toward democracy, through listening to the people and taking inspiration from figures, such as Mahatma Gandhi. A current project she is working on is peace talks among the various ethnic tribes throughout Myanmar to make amends regarding the insurgencies against the previous government, and any conflicts between said tribes.

Both the international community, and the nationals of Myanmar have been rejoicing at finally having achieved a democratic escape from the military dictatorship that has oppressed them for nearly five decades, and that their ruler is someone who genuinely cares for peace.

Karin Stanojevic
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The Organization for World Peace