min ga la ba


President Obama visited Burma on the second leg of his Asian trip.  The third and final leg will be Brisbane, Australia for talks with G20 leaders.
After talks on November 13, 2014 with his counterpart Thein Sein; President Obama expressed cautious optimism for the once-cloistered nation that balanced out earlier warnings on the risks of “backsliding” on the transition.

“We recognize change is hard and you do not always move in a straight line but I’m optimistic,” Obama said.

Meeting between two Heads of State 
President Barack Obama & President Thein Sein
of Myanmar meet in the Presidential Palace in
Naypyitaw Myanmar November 13, 2014

President Obama started his visit attending a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which Myanmar is hosting this year.

In remarks to the summit’ President Obama said he is looking forward to building on what he said is a strong partnership between the U.S. and ASEAN.

“We are very much invested in building the capacity not just of individual nations but between nations so that together we can become stronger more capable partners of each other and meet the regional and global challenges ahead,” President Obama said.

U.S. President Barack Obama urged Myanmar to hold “free, fair and inclusive” elections as he threw his weight behind a bid by opposition leader Aung San SuuKyi to change a constitution that bars her from the presidency.
Reform Process Talks
President Barack Obama speaks to Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and members of parliament and civil society regarding
Myanmar’s reform process on November 13, 2014
True life story of Aung San Suu Kyi 
Actress Michelle Yeoh starred 
as Aung San Suu Kyi in “the Lady”_2011
Camille’s Note:  Aung San Suu Kyi’s father was assassinated in 1947 by his rivals after negotiating Independence from the British Empire that same year.  Ms.Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest in 1989 before Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi became chairperson of the National League for Democracy in Burma.  This lasted for more than 15 years over a 21 year period even while she was hospitalized on several times and had several attempts on her life.

Michael Aris, her husband was only allowed to see her five times during that time.  Her husband died in 1999 from cancer during her house arrest and her children were not allowed to visit their mother for more than 10 years.  In 1991; Ms. Suu Kyi became the first Asian woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; however, she was not allowed to attend the ceremony even though the international community has awarded her over a dozen of it’s highest honors and has  pressured the Burmese military to release her for years.

President Obama & the Lady:                                                     –President Obama personally advocated the release of all political prisoners, especially Aung San Suu Kyi, during the 2009 US-ASEAN Summit and one year later in November 2010; during the filming of the movie “the Lady”;  Ms. Suu Kyi’shouse arrest was lifted.

Director Luc Besson had accepted the script for the Lady immediately as an opportunity for him to finally present a real life heroine, a female fighter who wields no other weapons than her human virtues.

Actress Michelle Yeoh who had always wanted to play Aung San Suu Kyi called the film “a labour of love” and was deported from Burma reportedly because of her portrayal of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Secretary Hillary Clinton:                                                  —Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton have became friends in December 2011 when she visited “the Lady” (Hillary saw the movie before she met the Aung San Suu Kyi) and subsequently Ms. Suu Kyi won a Burma Parliamentary seat in April 2012.

On 16 June 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi was finally able to deliver her Nobel acceptance speech (Nobel lecture) at Oslo’s City Hall, two decades after being awarded the peace prize. In September 2012 she received in person the United States Congressional Gold Medal, which is the highest Congressional honour in the United States.  She met President Barack Obama at the White House for the first time saying it was “one of the most moving days of my life”.

Fellow Novel Laureates:                                                      —President Obama held talks with fellow Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi at her home in Myanmar’s commercial capital Yangon, after arriving from the capital Naypyidaw where he discussed the nation’s troubled reform process the day before with President Thein Sein.

Speaking at a joint press conference President Obama warned Myanmar’s reforms since shedding outright military rule in 2011 were by “no means complete or irreversible” and called for “free, fair and inclusive” elections in the nation, where Aung San Suu Kyi and her party are set to contest crucial polls next year.

Suu Kyi, who has publicly stated her desire to be president, is barred from the top office by a constitutional clause ruling out anyone with foreign spouse or children from the presidency.

Her late husband and two sons are British and the democracy champion is seeking an amendment.

Using strong language, President Obama took up the issue telling reporters that“the amendment process needs to reflect inclusion rather than exclusion.”

“I don’t understand the provision that would bar somebody from running for president because of who his (someone’s) children are.”

Aung SanSuu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy (NLD) party is expected to sweep polls in late 2015, branded the contentious clause as “unfair, unjust and undemocratic” adding “it is not right to discriminate against one particular citizen”.

The issue is currently being debated in parliament, where 25 percent of the seats are ring-fenced for the military.

“The majority of our people understand that this constitution cannot stand as it is, if democracy is to be achieved”, the Democracy chairperson (Suu Kyi) added.

The pair spoke in the garden of Suu Kyi’s villa in a reprise of their landmark meeting in 2012, which saw President Obama throw his political might behind Myanmar’s transition from junta rule.

During his two-day trip to Myanmar; President Obama has also raised alarm over the direction of reforms, however, citing the cramping of freedom of expression, ongoing conflicts and the treatment of Myanmar’s minority groups — especially the Muslim Rohingya.

Their talks at Suu Kyi’s lakeside family home came almost four years to the day after she was released from years of house arrest.

But the atmosphere has slowly soured, with many observers saying reforms have stalled.

Joint news conference held in the Garden
President Barack Obama & Chairperson, Burma’s National League for Democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi
Yangon, Myanmar Friday, Nov. 14, 2014
Michelle Yeoh stars as Aung San Suu Kyi_2011

One of Aung San Suu Kyi’s most famous speeches is from her essay Freedom From Fear, which began:  
“It is not power that corrupts, but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”
~Aung San Suu Kyi
NCM Blog
November 13. 2014 – China, the first leg of President Obama’s Asian trip
mengla nya nay khin ba
(Good Evening)
Camille Mitchell

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