Update Saturday: A video of Aung San Suu Kyi’s appearance at USF has been posted on YouTube. Before she spoke, Mayor Ed Lee presented Suu Kyi with the key to the city, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who said San Francisco was home to the largest Burmese-American population in the country, introduced her. Many from that community were on hand to hear Suu Kyi speak to them in Burmese after a short address in English. Suu Kyi said she wanted to speak in Burmese because she “did not want our people here to forget their roots, to forget their old language…”
Later, she answered questions from the audience in both Burmese and English.
Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Price in 1991 “for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights.” She spent nearly 15 years under house arrest under the former military regime in Myanmar, until she was released in 2010. She now heads the main opposition group in parliament, which is dominated by allies of the former regime.
Aung San Suu Kyi speaks Sept. 28 at the Asia Foundation. If you don’t already have a ticket, you may have trouble getting into the building when Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks at University of San Francisco on Saturday.
USF says you can also watch her speak Saturday on streaming video (you will need QuickTime to watch) and an organizer of that event says she will visit an overflow building for people who want to see her after her address. (Update Saturday, 1:40 p.m. The web site says the video of the community meeting will be available here later.)
During a tour of the United States, Suu Kyi is calling for further liberalization in Myanmar, where she spent about 15 years under house arrest until November 2010, during the former military regime. She now heads the main opposition group with 43 seats in parliament, which is dominated by allies of the former regime.
She met last week with President Barack Obama and was presented with Congress’ highest award. On Wednesday, she attended a meeting on global education on the sidelines of the General Assembly.
The organizing committee hosting the Nobel Prize-winner in San Francisco has already passed out most of the tickets to the event at the University of San Francisco’s War Memorial Gymnasium on Saturday, Sept. 29 from 9:15-10:45 a.m, 2335 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco.
But organizer Wai Phyo tells me you may be able to get a ticket if you show up early. Doors open at 7 a.m. If tickets for that are gone, you can wait with the overflow crowd next door.
Suu Kyi also spoke Friday at the Asia Foundation to diplomats, executives, aid and development specialists, analysts and journalists.
Update 4:37 p.m. Suu Kyi spoke at the Merchants Exchange building in San Francisco today, hosted by The Asia Foundation, in her first Bay Area address. Asia Foundation President David Arnold led a Q & A after her remarks. Some selected quotes, reported by KQED’s Aarti Shahani:
- “I’m not one of the military, so I may stick to my guns and say there is a need for healthy skepticism…it is not a bad idea for friends to look at us with a critical eye.”
- “Over the years, the caliber of our judges as well as our lawyers has fallen…many of our people have ceased to know what their rights really are. so we have to start from scratch. “
- “Our people must understand what we mean by the rule of law. And our people must understand what part they have to play in upholding the rule of law.”
- “When Burma was taken over by the military regime, we were practicing democracy…we can never say any process is irreversible. But we can work to reach a point when it would be difficult, and even painful, to reverse the process. “
- “I would like you to help with caution, with intelligence…please help us, but thoughtfully. Please help us with proper sequencing, the right speed. “
- “I think only 0.2% of Burmese have access to the Internet. We will have to make progress in that area. I understand that young Burmese have a particular aptitude for IT. I don’t know if they were born this way!….I don’t know if we’ll see another Silicon valley…I would settle for cell phones. “
- “Our people do not feel change at the ground level, at the grassroots level. We will need to strengthen local government.”
- And on her long house arrest:”Since I’m not the type of person who goes out too much, it wasn’t very difficult…and no I didn’t get a dog. The dog might have found it rather difficult.”