Internet is key to success of uprisings, says Suu Kyi

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The Independent Online

The Nobel peace laureate and human rights campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi spoke yesterday in a BBC lecture of the vital role played by communications technology in modern democratic uprisings and said she was not morally opposed to the use of violence in exceptional circumstances.

The Burmese opposition leader and general secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD) has recorded two speeches for the annual BBC Reith Lectures, which were smuggled out of Burma last week.

In the first, to be broadcast on Radio 4 next Tuesday, Ms Suu Kyi compared the 23-year struggle to win democracy in Burma to the fast-moving revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.

She said that the widespread availability of internet-based technology in the Arab world had been crucial to success there. The communications revolution enabled Arab protesters to co-ordinate their movements and kept the attention of the whole world focused on them.

"Not just every single death but every single [person] wounded (thanks to the internet) can be made known to the world within minutes."

Speaking from a secret location in Rangoon, Ms Suu Kyi said: "I have said in the lectures I do not hold to non-violence for moral reasons but practical and political reasons."

Ms Suu Kyi, who had her 66th birthday last Sunday, said Burmese people hoped to emulate the success of Arab democratic movements.

In Tunisia and Burma, young people played a pivotal role in the uprisings, she said, applauding the influence of "young rappers" in Burma.

"For those who believe in freedom, young rappers represent a future unbowed by... oppression and injustice," Ms Suu Kyi added.