Suu Kyi delivers prestigious BBC annual lecture

Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has delivered a prestigious annual BBC radio lecture, telling an international audience that her compatriots are envious of people in Tunisia and Egypt, where long-serving dictators have been toppled.

On recordings smuggled out of Myanmar, also known as Burma, and broadcast Tuesday, Suu Kyi discusses the parallels between the uprisings shaking the Arab world and her own country's struggle under military rule.

In Tunisia, the suicide of a young fruit seller touched off a wave of wider unrest across the Middle East. In Myanmar, it was the death of a student that triggered 1988's uprising against the country's military rulers.

"In Tunis and in Burma, the deaths of two young men were the mirrors that made the people see how unbearable were the burdens of injustice and oppression they had to endure," Suu Kyi said.

But she warned of two big differences: Unlike in Tunisia and Egypt, where soldiers largely stood aside and let their governments fall, Myanmar's military crushed the revolution. And the Internet and social media weren't around to record that revolt in real time.

Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy opposes Myanmar's military-backed government, has spent about 15 of the past 22 years under some form of detention. She was freed from house arrest seven months ago, and has made several public statements since.

Last week she addressed U.S. lawmakers by video, calling for a commission of inquiry into rights abuses in Myanmar.

The Nobel laureate addressed the BBC as part of a long-running lecture series known as the Reith Lectures, which are broadcast annually. Previous speakers have included philosopher Bertrand Russell, historian Arnold Toynbee and nuclear pioneer J. Robert Oppenheimer.



Listen to the lecture:

Read the transcript: