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from Andrew R.C. Marshall:

Reporting history in Myanmar’s new era

By Andrew R.C. Marshall

Hundreds of foreign journalists are preparing to leave Myanmar after covering the by-elections that Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) won by a landslide. Suu Kyi's victory was historic, and so was the media interest: we represent the largest, legal deployment of foreign media to ever descend upon this long-isolated country.

I say "legal," because scores of undercover journalists reported on the monk-led Saffron Revolution in 2007, which was brutally crushed by the military. That bloody event now seems impossibly distant.

Over the past few days, we journalists have waited in the sweltering, pre-monsoon heat to record Suu Kyi's every word. We have moaned about the tourists whose cameras have blocked our view of history. ("Democracy tourism" is booming in Yangon: backpackers in NLD T-shirts are everywhere.) We have, in the case of a photographer from The Times, slipped into a muddy ditch outside a polling station, prompting Suu Kyi to stop, peer down and politely inquire, "Are you okay?"

And some of us — particularly those who have been covering Myanmar for many years — have pinched ourselves at what we've witnessed. I stood a few metres from Suu Kyi as she addressed hundreds of cheering supporters outside the NLD's headquarters on Monday morning. Was it really only five years ago that soldiers were shooting protesters and beating monks?

from Andrew R.C. Marshall:

ANALYSIS: Big win for Suu Kyi’s party in Myanmar election? Maybe not

By Andrew R.C. Marshall

MAWLAMYAING, Myanmar (Reuters) - Cho Cho May knows who she will vote for in next month's Myanmar by-elections: the candidate for the party created by the former military junta. "No need to ask me that question," she says. The Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) candidate is her boss.

Finding another USDP supporter elsewhere in this normally sleepy river town is harder. When Aung San Suu Kyi, who leads the rival National League for Democracy (NLD), is on a two-day campaign tour of the region, Mawlamyaing's streets throng with people waving NLD flags and shouting "Long live Mother Suu!" Watch Suu Kyi's huge convoy go past -- it includes a truck just to carry the flowers that people give her -- and you wonder how anyone could beat her party at the polls.

from The Great Debate UK:

Political motives behind the trial of Suu Kyi

Soe Paing- Soe Paing is Director of the Office of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, based in the U.S. The opinions expressed are his own. -

The arrest and the filing of criminal charges against Aung San Suu Kyi for alleged violation of house arrest rules under Section 22 of the 1975 State Protection Law or "Law to Safeguard the State Against the Dangers of Those Desiring to Cause Subversive Acts" indicate that the incumbent military regime in Burma is not interested in the offer of Aung San Suu Kyi's party -- National League for Democracy (NLD) -- to join the elections scheduled for 2010 if certain conditions are met.

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