Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Suu Kyi winds up US tour in LA

Wednesday, 03 October 2012 11:35 Mizzima News

Aung San Suu Kyi told the Burmese community in Los Angeles on Tuesday that Burma would develop its own democracy in its own way, as she prepared to end her US tour and return home.

Burma's democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi speaks to supporters at the Convention Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday, October 2, 2012, where she wrapped up a two-week landmark trip to the United States. Photo: AFP

“It can't be like America's democracy because Burma is not America,” she told supporters. “Each country develops its own type of democracy, not something that should be imposed from above. I've always been against so called disciplined democracy, which has been advocated by the military regime.”

Suu Kyi, who spent 15 years under house arrest until her 2010 release, arrived in the United States on September 17 for a nationwide landmark visit, which included a meeting with President Barack Obama in the White House. After leaving Washington, where she received the US Congressional Medal award, the country’s highest civilian honor, she traveled to New York City, speaking in many locations, and meeting informally with Burmese President Thein Sein, who was in town to speak to the UN General Assembly. She then travelled to Kentucky, Fort Wayne, Indiana, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

During her visit to the United States, President Thein Sein said in a BBC interview that he would accept Suu Kyi as president if elected, although he added he could not alone amend rules that bar her from power.

Suu Kyi was asked in Los Angeles what she would do if she were Burma's president.

“You should consider how the present president of Burma is handling the situation rather than asking me how I would handle it if I were the president of Burma. ... Let's be practical,” she said.

Asked what democratic models Burma could look to, she said: “We have many, many lessons to learn from various places, not just the Asian countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Mongolia and Indonesia.”

She mentioned “Eastern European countries which made the transition from communist autocracy to democracy in the 1980s and 1990s, and the Latin American countries which made the transition from military governments.”

“And we cannot of course forget South Africa, because although it wasn't a military regime, it was certainly an authoritarian regime,” she said.

When she arrived at the LA Convention Center for Tuesday's event, security was tight and a small group of Muslims protested outside against “genocide” in Burma.

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