FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Myanmar’s Struggle Toward Democracy — VIDEO

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks to the media next to U.S. President Barack Obama at her residence in Yangon, Myanmar, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. Obama touched down Monday morning, becoming the first U.S. president to visit the Asian nation also known as Burma. 
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Barrett Holmes Pitner
Nov. 20, 2012, 8:48 a.m.

As Pres­id­ent Obama winds down his his­tor­ic trip to Asia in which he was the first Amer­ic­an head of state to vis­it My­an­mar and Cam­bod­ia, Na­tion­al Journ­al takes a look at ar­gu­ably his most con­tro­ver­sial des­tin­a­tion dur­ing the trip.

My­an­mar, also known as Burma, had been ruled by a mil­it­ary junta from 1962 to 2011 and had re­mained mostly isol­ated from the rest of the world. Dur­ing that time, the mil­it­ary rulers of the na­tion wiel­ded ab­so­lute power over its people and were ac­cused of nu­mer­ous hu­man-rights ab­uses.

However, over the last year or so, that na­tion has made strides to­ward demo­crat­ic rule. In 2010, My­an­mar held its first gen­er­al elec­tion in 20 years and re­leased polit­ic­al pris­on­er and No­bel Peace Prize re­cip­i­ent Aung San Suu Kyi from nearly two dec­ades of house ar­rest.

“When I took of­fice as pres­id­ent, I sent a mes­sage to those gov­ern­ments who ruled by fear,” Obama said con­cern­ing My­an­mar’s demo­crat­ic pro­gress. “I said in my in­aug­ur­a­tion ad­dress: We will ex­tend a hand if you are will­ing to un­clench your fist. And over the last year and a half, a dra­mat­ic trans­ition has be­gun, as a dic­tat­or­ship of five dec­ades has loosened its grip.”

Be­low are three videos doc­u­ment­ing My­an­mar’s struggle with au­thor­it­ari­an rule and demo­cracy.

In the first video, ori­gin­ally aired in Feb­ru­ary 1957, CBS News’ Ed­ward R. Mur­row hosts a broad­cast lay­ing out the struc­ture of then-Burma at the birth of its na­tion­hood.

The second video shows the life of Aung San Suu Kyi and her com­mit­ment to bring demo­cracy to the coun­try.

The last video shows the na­tion only a couple of months after the mil­it­ary sup­pressed peace­ful pro-demo­cracy protests there.

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