The outsider is Foreign Correspondent’s Zoe Daniel who had spent months negotiating an interview with Burma’s most famous figure and then planning how to pull it off. Since Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest she’s been under constant covert and overt surveillance by the authorities, so sealing a time and place for this exchange is one thing - getting there and getting it done is another.
Zoe has slipped into Burma posing as a tourist – if she’s caught trying to interview the Democracy League leader or filming and reporting other apsects of life in Burma then she could be arrested, deported or jailed. The final few kilometers to Aung San Suu Kyi’s house is a nailbiting flurry of phone calls, advanced scouting sorties and finally a scurry through the front gates of the home that until recently has been a prison for a decade-and-a-half.
‘I believe that in the end real change has to come inside, that the really essential work must be done by those who are in the country. I’m not frustrated by it. I’ve been under house arrest for the 15 of the last 20 years, and I have discovered that I’m not really a gadabout!’ AUNG SAN SUU KYI
The pressing question though is can she and her ageing party colleagues prevail and see genuine democratic change ushered into Burma? Her ageing party co-founder Win Tin is now in his 80s, increasingly frail but just as patient.
‘I always think that I cannot see the real change in Burma, but when she was released in November I got some spirit you see. I believe that I will see some change. But now I’m
82, maybe I will have to stay for maybe 20 years.’ WIN TIN Co-Founder Democracy League
In this extensive, candid, expansive and exclusive conversation, Aung San Suu Kyi appears as dedicated and resolute as she did when she won a landside election victory 20 years ago – a result that’s never been officially recognised by Burma’s intractable rulers.
And we get a revealing glimpse of life inside Burma. Of the struggle of those battling HIV in a Rangoon clinic and to the ebullience and optimism of youth, meeting the next wave of democracy agitators in the guise of hip-hop star Zayar Thaw, back on stage performing after three years in prison. Yep – Burma has a bubbling hip-hop scene.
By: Reporter: Zoe Daniel