Suu Kyi has been released in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. She had spent the last 7 1/2 years under house arrest. Her supporters, reportedly in the thousands, waited outside her house for the Nobel Peace Prize laureate to come out and speak with them. She has spent 15 of the last 21 years either in jail or under house arrest. She addressed the waiting crowd indicating there was still a lot of work to do. Though the crowd outside her home was overjoyed there are many that feel her struggle is far from over. The current political party did authorize her release but refused to acknowledge it as any kind of concession on their part. Estimates report there are still as many as 2200 still jailed because of their politics. President Obama called her one of his hero’s and was overjoyed at her release.
Suu Kyi said she wants peace, stability and tranquility and the authorities agreed with her that this was their goal too. However, her release came right after the junta’s political party won the elections. Western countries and their leaders have denounced this election as a “sham”. It is designed to continue their authoritarian form of rule. There are many who believe the release of Suu Kyi was timed to use as a smoke screen to cover up the bogus election that was being held at the same time. The country has been ruled by the military since 1962.
It is doubtful hat Suu Kyi will be allowed to continue in her work to bring democracy to this country embroiled by a dictatorship. The European Commissioner urged that she remain restriction free. He also said that she should be allowed and encouraged to participate in the country’s political process.
The current regime may be beginning to soften its stance as after years of ruling in a Soviet manner the country is now heaving under economic poverty. This is a guarded hope though because the countries leaders have operated in a paranoid manner. This paranoia has seen the officials rig elections and ignore the voice of the people all in an attempt to legitimize their military rule. In 1990, the leaders of junta threw out the election results held by a democratic parliamentary election led by Suu Kyi. Obviously, it was in their interest to silence her and imprison her.
Will her release signal a move away from the autocratic style of governing Myanmar? Now that all eyes are on this small southeastern Asian country perhaps there will be some loosening of the tight control that has come to characterize the leaders. There is a small flicker of hope. We can only watch and see how this drama continues to unfold.
Associated Press, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101113/ap_on_re_as/as_myanmar_suu_kyi, Yahoo News Weekend Edition