Monday, December 5, 2011

A historic day: Aung San Suu Kyi meets Hillary Clinton in Yangon

Local and international journalists queue up outside 54 University Avenue, the family residence of Aung San Suu Kyi, where she was detained under house arrest by the military junta for 15 years until her release last November We were told to arrive at least 3 hours before Suu Kyi and Hillary Clinton graced us with their presence for security reasons.

A US Secret Service officer keeps watch while the "uncles" from Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, including 82-year-old U Win Tin, file into her house ahead of the meeting with Clinton.

Western journalists had a good opportunity to top up their tan while waiting for the "two ladies" to appear. The set-up, by Inya lake in the garden of Suu Kyi's house, looks like it would make a good wedding venue if she is ever short of cash.

This member of the traveling Washington press corps appears to be struggling to come to terms with his comically-oversized Burmese mobile phone, the sort of brick-like communication device last seen in the West about 20 years ago. In a country with very poor mobile phone networks, the large aerial helps but not enough to assuage this poor chap's frustrations.

Here come the brides...

They make a great couple, complete with matching hand gestures.

Photographers scramble to get a shot of "the hug".

Surprisingly, for two women with steely reputations, the warmth between them looked genuine.

Some of Burma's private weekly newspapers went big on the Clinton/Suu Kyi meeting. A veteran Burmese journalist told me that sticking The Lady's photo on their front page always boosts sales. The government still does not allow any privately-owned newspapers to publish on a daily basis but has indicated that that may change next year.

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