Monday, July 13, 2009

Aung San Suu Kyi and John William Yettaw

An article in yesterday's Times says that Myanmar/Burma's young population is increasingly disconnected (by virtue of time and her imprisonment) from Aung San Suu Kyi and, therefore, her trial is not attracting as much attention there as you might expect.

Aung is the daughter of U Aung San, described by the Times as "the Burmese independence hero." U was assassinated about 60 years ago. Aung became prominent in 1988 when she led a series of democracy protests, and then she was elected president (or prime minster?) in 1990. She never assumed power because the military junta (which is now led by Than Shwe) didn't let her, and she has spent most of the past two decades in prison or under house arrest.

Interestingly, the article points out that Aung -- unlike most of Myanmar's 2,100 imprisoned political dissidents -- could leave the country if she chose to. She has chosen not to because once she leaves she'll never be allowed back.

John William Yettaw is the American who swam to Aung's house claiming that he would save her from an assassination plot. This led to the current trial, in which Aung is charged with violating the terms of her house arrest.

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