Aung San Suu Kyi

By Bernstein, Danielle | Newsweek, January 3, 2011 | Go to article overview

Aung San Suu Kyi


Bernstein, Danielle, Newsweek


Byline: Danielle Bernstein

After years of detention by Burma's junta, the nobelist speaks of sanctions, karma, and the future.

You spent much of your time under house arrest listening to the radio. What do you like to listen to?

Listening to political programs was a duty, a job. But cultural programs I enjoy. I listen a lot to the BBC World Service, but for some reason they don't seem to have very many music programs these days. Maybe they came on at the times I was listening to Burmese-language BBC and Radio Free Asia. I listen at least six hours every day. There were so many shocking bits of news all the time. There seems to be so much violence and natural disasters all over the world, not just here in Burma. Floods, earthquakes, cyclones--c12/21/1012

How did you feel to hear the news of the monks' uprising [against the Burmese junta] in 2007?

I knew from the very beginning it was not going to end well, so I was very sad. [But] it created change in the minds of lots of people, and that's what's really important. I think there were many people who had felt politics was not their concern [but] were so deeply shocked by how the monks were treated that they began to see you cannot ignore what is going on in the country.

You've been criticized for taking a stubborn stance on sanctions [against Burma's military-dominated regime].

Some people are using economic sanctions as an excuse for the [country's] economic mess. [But] most economists think the main problem is the policies the present regime has imposed. A change in government policies [would] bring about a change in the economic situation. And that's what organizations like the IMF say, as well as economists.

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