Montreal: Inspired by people-power
revolts in Tunisia and Egypt, Myanmar`s long-suffering
opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said she wants to join
other pro-democracy activists by using Twitter and Facebook.
For most of the past 20 years until her release from
house arrest in November, virtually all communication with the
outside world had been denied the Nobel peace laureate by the
military regime that rules the country.
Now she wants to catch up by joining the global online
community, she said in a telephone interview with Canada`s
Globe and Mail newspaper.
The pro-democracy icon said she finally has her first
Internet connection at her Yangon home, and while she has paid
more than USD 1,000 to a junta-controlled company for the
privilege, the connection is too slow to access social
"I think we need to -- what do you call it -- raise
the megabyte?" she told the Mail. "So we`ve applied for a
stronger link-up," she added. "As soon as the conditions are
right, I want to have both Facebook and Twitter."
The two popular US-based social networking sites were
used by anti-government demonstrators to thwart censorship
during demonstrations in Tunisia that led to the ouster of
longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and in Egypt where
strongman president Hosni Mubarak was driven from power.
Facebook and Twitter also continue to be used to get
out the latest information in other Middle Eastern and North
African countries where anti-government demonstrations have
been met with deadly violence.
Aung San Suu Kyi, 65, hailed the role that the
Egyptian army played during that country`s 18-day revolution.
"What everybody noticed is the Egyptian army did not
fire on the people, which is the greatest difference and the
most critical difference" between conditions in Egypt and
those in Myanmar, she said.
The events in Cairo stand in stark contrast to what
happened in her own country in 1988, when protests erupted
against the military and were brutally crushed. Some 3,000
people were killed.
"Because the Burmese army does shoot down the people,
it`s not very likely that people will want to go onto the
streets" now to press for the junta`s ouster, she said.
"But on the other hand, one cannot say that the
Burmese army is always going to shoot at the people."