Friday, November 12, 2010

Waiting For Release of Aung San Suu Kyi

The world awaits verification on an act of freedom. It is reported that within a matter of hours, Aung San Suu Kyi may be a free woman. Burma's military has held her prisoner in her own home and she has become a symbol for freedom of speech and the desire for democratic reform within oppressive societies.

The much anticipated release overshadows the sham election recently held in Burma.

Speculation surrounding Aung San Suu Kyi, her impending release and just how much freedom she will be allowed, has overshadowed the emerging results of Burma's first general election in 20 years, held last Sunday.

While no official declaration has been made, the military junta appears to have claimed an overwhelming victory for its own party, a result that has surprised no one.

The Union Solidarity and Development Party – bankrolled by military largesse and stacked with generals who have swapped fatigues for suits – has said it has won more than 80% of seats decided so far in a blatantly rigged election.

Attached to her release, the military sought to impose strict conditions, understood to be restrictions on where she could travel within Burma, and with whom she could meet.

It was rumoured that Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's best-known democracy advocate and a Nobel peace laureate, demanded an unconditional release and insisted on negotiating her unfettered freedom with military officials before she would set foot outside her door.

Former First Lady Laura Bush was a strong advocate for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi. Rarely stepping into the arena of foreign policy and diplomacy, she brought the imprisonment of Aung San Suu Kyi to the world's attention.


"I've been interested in Burma for a long time. I hosted a roundtable during the UNGA [United Nations General Assembly] last year. I've been briefed by Ibrahim Gambari [the U.N. Secretary General's special advisor on Burma].

"Like many people, especially women, I got interested because of Aung San Suu Kyi, and I learned about Burma and how she represents the hopes of the people of Burma, and how those hopes were being dashed by her house arrest and the fact that her party won the elections and never had the opportunity to have power at all. I did work with women Senators to make sure we sent out a letter to Ban Ki-Moon. I've also met with ethnic minorities and talked with them.

"One of the things that's really important for the world to know is that the people of Burma do listen to radio — to Radio Free Asia, to the BBC — and when they hear that people around the world are speaking out for their rights, I think it gives them hope.""

Around the world, Aung San Suu Kyi has been honored. Aung San Suu Kyi has won numerous international awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize, the Sakharov Prize from the European Parliament and the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom. She has called on people around the world to join the struggle for freedom in Burma, saying “Please use your liberty to promote ours.”

And, yes. She has a Facebook page:

1 comment:

Lorne said...

She has had to cope with house arrest for so many years but she still keeps her faith in democratic principles. Aung San Suu Kyi really deserves admiration for her valiant efforts to return the country to democratic rule. What is remarkable is that she chose a life full of struggles instead of an easy life outside Burma.