Hope for Myanmar. Hope for the World

There is a lot of generally bad things happening in the world today. A bloody crackdown in Syria, the coup in Mali, hunger crisis in the Sahel — just to name a few recent headlines.  Amidst this gloom, there is one amazing story of hope and optimism this week: the ascent of  Aung San Suu Kyi to her country’s parliament.

In case you missed it, there were some parliamentary elections in Myanmar last weekend, and Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party nearly swept them all.   There were only a limited number of seats open for election, so her party is not taking power anytime soon. Still, she has emerged from after 20 years of house arrest to become an agent of change in the political system that once oppressed her.

The National League for Democracy did not just win these elections–they dominated. They took 43 out of 45 open seats. And, perhaps just as remarkably, the establishment did not interfere. They were free and fair and President Thein Shein, who is the hand-picked successor of the loathed military junta leader Than Shwe (and who’s party got trounced)  he is “happy”with the election.

There are obviously still big problems in the country. Ethnic violence, particularly against the Kachin minority is a stain on the country.  But given the events of the past week, it is not unreasonable to think that someday soon — once Burma’s democratic transition is complete — Aung San Suu Kyi may become President of her country.