An update to a story I mentioned yesterday: pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi has been released from house arrest years by the government in Myanmar. Yesterday morning, CNN had reported the outlook for her release was grim, and supporters gathered outside her house were being told to go home by the leadership of her National League for Democracy party. Today the government finally removed the barbed-wire barriers it had thoughtfully installed around her house, and she emerged to address a rapidly growing crowd of supporters.
“If we work in unity, we will achieve our goal. We have a lot of things to do,” Suu Kyi said in a brief statement. The military junta that rules Burma is probably not looking forward to learning what is on her to-do list. Fox News reports one of her goals is to investigate voter fraud in the recent elections, which international observers denounce as a sham. Such an investigation is unlikely to be warmly received by the junta. The last elections were held two decades ago, and the government refused to abide by the results.
She’s been under arrest for most of the last 20 years, and was in confinement when she won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. The Myanmar government is feeling increasingly isolated, as a snobbish international community turns up its noses at their human-rights abuses, and mad scramble to obtain nuclear weapons. Releasing the famous democracy activist is widely seen as a bid to improve their standing, but it’s also bound to rally their domestic political opponents. Fox quotes exiled dissident Muang Zarni, now a research fellow in London, as saying “There is no formal opposition, so her release is going to represent an opportunity to re-energize and reorganize this opposition. So in that sense, of revitalizing the opposition in some concrete way, Suu Kyi’s release is going to be very pivotal.”
Freedom of speech is the acid that dissolves totalitarian rule. Aung San Suu Kyi is a tireless voice against the tyranny that has been running her nation into the ground. Hopefully, her leadership will help to bring about change before the junta unwraps its atomic Christmas presents from North Korea, and figures out the assembly instructions. President Obama and other world leaders have rightfully hailed her release. The Myanmar government expects good behavior, but if her past history is any indication, Suu Kyi aims to misbehave.
A fine collection of information about her can be found here, if you’re interested in learning more about this courageous woman. Everyone who loves freedom should be interested in people like her.