Aung San Suu Kyi Cites ‘Arab Spring’ as Inspiration for Burmese

Posted June 28th, 2011 at 6:45 am (UTC-5)
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Burmese democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi has compared the Arab Spring protests to developments in her own country in a lecture aired on the British network Tuesday.

The BBC says the speech was the first of two lectures that were secretly filmed in Burma and smuggled to Britain, where they were played before a studio audience in London. The second lecture will be broadcast on July 5.

In Tuesday's lecture, titled Liberty, Aung San Suu Kyi compared the self-immolation of a fruit-vendor that sparked last December's revolution in Tunisia to the death of a Burmese student during a protest in 1988.

The Nobel laureate called the Middle East uprisings an “inspiration” to her people and said the Burmese envy the people of Tunisia and Egypt their “quick and peaceful” transitions. The second lecture is titled Dissent.

In Tuesday's lecture, Aung San Suu Kyi also said the universal human aspiration to be free has been brought home to the Burmese by the developments in the Middle East. She said the similarities between Tunisia and Burma are the similarities that bind people all over the world who long for freedom.

Aung San Suu Kyi was released in November after seven years of house arrest. Since then, she has been carefully testing how far she can go in criticizing the Burmese government without being arrested again.