Photo’s of how Myanmar/Burma is slowly liberalizing

Sanne van Oosten

When I visited Yemen in 2008 I couldn’t escape photo’s of the (later ousted) dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh. When I visited Syria in 2009 I couldn’t escape photo’s of the (later severe war criminal and) dictator Bashar Al Assad and his stringy moustache. When I visited Myanmar/Burma in April of 2012… well contrary to the earlier mentioned countries, the pictures of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi were openly hanging in public. These images were by far not as prevalent of the pictures of the earlier mentioned dictators, but we did see some images here and there. In souvenir stalls, on the side of the road and we’ve even seen people walk around in t-shirt of the NLD of Aung San Suu Kyi. Yes, Myanmar/Burma is becoming more liberal and this is visible on the streets. The following pictures will show you some examples.

A banner on the side of the road in Nyaung U – April 2012

A souvenir stall in Mandalay that is devoted exclusively to images of Aung San Suu Kyi – April 2012

Many people wear t-shirts of Aung San Suu Kyi – April 2012

Many photo’s of Aung San Suu Kyi with Hilary Clinton – April 2012

People wearing t-shirts of the National League for Democracy (NLD) everywhere – April 2012

A woodcarving of Aung San Suu Kyi in Nyaung U – April 2012

In contrast to the earlier mentioned dictators, these images of Aung San Suu Kyi were hung up by people who truly adore the unofficial leader of their country. During the elections in which Aung San Suu Kyi won most of the available seats (still only a fraction of the total number of seats) masses took to the streets to celebrate. Openly hanging up her image in public spaces was not deemed possible before, but in Myanmar’s slowly changing political landscape it is becoming increasingly feasible, without too much fear of repercussions.

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