Aung San Suu Kyi is ready to take back her country, Myanmar.
After almost 15 years under house arrest, between July 1989 and her eventual release on November 13, 2010, the celebrated pro-democracy leader and General Secretary of the National League for Democracy is not only still breathing, but also ready to fight for the rights of her people.
Under House Arrest For 15 Years
It was in the 1990 general election that her National League for Democracy party won 59% of the national votes and 81% (392 of 485) of the seats in Parliament. However, the military junta refused to recognize her victory, and she was once more† placed under house arrest. Now things have changed.
From The Guardian:
Crowds of supporters have greeted the Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi with thunderous applause as she embarks on her first campaign trip since becoming an official candidate for the April elections.
The Nobel peace laureate travelled for the first time in two decades to the Irrawaddy delta, Burma’s rice bowl and the region most devastated by Cyclone Nargis in 2008.
Crowds lined the roads to shout support to Aung San Suu Kyi at every large town along her four-hour drive south from Rangoon to Pathein, the regional capital. More than 10,000 people packed into a sports stadium under a sweltering sun to hear her speak.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s return to politics is another test of the reforms of the new nominally civilian government, headed by President Thein Sein that took power last year after decades of military control. Her latest trip came a day after the election commission formally accepted her candidacy for an April parliamentary byelection.
Scores Of Political Prisoners Released In Myanmar
Since taking power last year, Myanmar’s new government has released scores of political prisoners and pursued other reforms aimed at making the country more attractive to foreign investors, raising hopes that Western leaders will lift economic sanctions that block most American and many other companies from doing business there.
On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed a waiver that should make it easier for Myanmar to get help from the World Bank and other multilateral institutions, by lifting some U.S. opposition to the groups’ work there. The U.S. has kept most of its other sanctions in place, holding out for the results of the April 1 vote.
That vote won’t appreciably change Myanmar’s political landscape, since it involves only 48 parliamentary seats vacated since 2010, out of a total of 664. Even if opposition leaders sweep the polls, they will remain a small minority in a parliament dominated by current and former soldiers and other allies of the current administration.
And yet, it is a start, after the military junta that violently repressed political opposition in this impoverished country in 1988.
Hilary Clinton Meets Aung San Suu Kyi
Last December, U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton made a landmark visit to Myanmar, also known as Burma, whose government has been subject to ever-tightening U.S. sanctions since 1988.
They held their first meeting at the lakeside home of the ranking U.S. official in Yangon, where, in addition to sharing dinner, they talked about their lives and about Suu Kyi’s plans to run for the parliament.
From The Los Angeles Times:
“I am very happy to meet you, finally,” said Clinton, who described the Nobel Peace Prize laureate as a personal inspiration.
Yes, Aung San Suu Kyi is a modern-day hero and an inspiration to many of us.
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