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Suu Kyi urges U.S. Boycott
Suu Kyi Urges U.S. Boycott
By GENE KRAMER
Associated Press Writer
Sunday, January 26, 1997 6:19 pm EST
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Burma's leader for democracy
and a winner of the 1991 Nobel
Peace Prize asked students Sunday to ``please
use your liberty to promote ours'' and urged
them to discourage corporate America from doing
business in ``the shadowlands of lost
American University awarded Aung San Suu Kyi an
honorary doctorate of laws. But it was
her husband, British scholar Michael Aris, who
accepted it and delivered her message at the
university's winter commencement ceremony.
Burma's military rulers released Suu Kyi from
six years of solitary confinement house arrest
in July, 1995. She has not traveled abroad out
of concern that the regime would deny
re-entry to her Southeast Asian homeland and
cancel her Burmese citizenship.
American University President Benjamin Ladner
conferred the degree, declaring it ``public
confirmation that you have friends and
supporters ... throughout the world'' in the nonviolent
pursuit of human rights, democratic ideals and
Universities in several countries have awarded
degrees and other honors to the Burmese
freedom fighter. This was her first U.S.
doctorate, officials said.
In the brief address read by Aris, Suu Kyi
invited roughly 400 new degree recipients ``to
cast their eyes beyond their own frontiers
towards the shadowlands of lost rights ...to assist
our fight for a Burma where young people can
(also) know the joys of hope and
Her plea for graduates to ``take a principled
stand against companies which are doing
business with the military regime of Burma''
and to ``please use your liberty to promote
ours,'' drew brief applause followed by a
half-minute standing ovation from the audience of
more than 4,000 professors, students and family
members assembled in the sports arena.
The appearance was sponsored by the Free Burma
Coalition which is coordinating efforts to
restore democracy in Burma at more than 150
universities and through human rights groups
around the world.
Suu Kyi disagreed with the argument that a
corporate presence in Burma would foster
democratization. ``Investment that only goes to
enrich an already wealthy elite bent on
monopolizing both economic and political power
cannot contribute towards equality and
justice, the foundation stones for a sound
democracy,'' her message said.
The National League for Democracy Party that
she heads won Burma's 1990 national
election but its results remain unrecognized by
The United States cut off economic aid to Burma
after the military crushed a 1988 popular
uprising and renamed the former British colony
Myanmar, its pre-colonial name.
President Clinton last year barred the
government's officials from U.S. visits, but some
American companies operate there.
The state of Massachusetts and a growing number
of local governments have begun denying
tax concessions or otherwise penalizing
corporations doing business in Burma, prompting
some to shut down there or transfer operations
to foreign subsidiaries.
[The Associated Press, 26 January 1997].