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Burma’s dolls house

It is seven years since the Burmese military put elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest. Alistair Horne meets her in Rangoon, and asks whether the west should follow the US and impose sanctions

By Alistair Horne   June 1997

At every other intersection in Rangoon there stands a giant, multi-coloured doll, with the inscription “Welcome to Myanmar.” The doll is the only plump thing I encountered in former Burma (now called Myanmar). There is something rather sinister about it; perhaps it is by association with the military regime known by the bizarre, Ian Fleming-like acronym of SLORC, which stands for “State Law and Order Restoration Council.”

The doll represents SLORC’s endeavours to promote tourism in Burma in the face of opposition from the Oxford-trained Nobel prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, who won four fifths of the votes in…

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