Aung San Suu Kyi released.
May 6, 2002 7:33 AM   Subscribe

Aung San Suu Kyi released. "My release should not be looked at as a major breakthrough for democracy. For all people in Burma to enjoy basic freedom - that would be the major breakthrough," she said. I know, but it's a start.
posted by feelinglistless (3 comments total)
It is a start. She's a pretty amazing person, from what I've gathered.

Some basics about Aung San Suu Kyi are here. Also, rent Beyond Rangoon (1995) -- it's a pretty good movie that touches on her story and the conditions at that time (probably not much different than now) in Burma.
posted by gohlkus at 4:01 PM on May 6, 2002

This piece from the 1991 Nobel annual is really readable, in explaining Suu Kyi's history and influence, and that of her family as well. And here's a scary summary of human rights conditions in Burma today.

It'll be interesting to see what she's permitted to get away with, in coming days, in terms of public assemblies and being otherwise overtly troublesome.
posted by Sapphireblue at 6:02 PM on May 6, 2002

I am cautiously optimistic. From the Free Burma Coalition:

World’s Most Prominent Political Prisoner Released from House Arrest

Free Burma Coalition Urges International Supporters to Monitor “Progress” Closely

(Washington, DC) ­ Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi was released today from a 19-month house arrest. Known for her fiery charisma and Gandhi-like essays on nonviolence and active resistance, Aung San Suu Kyi was the only Nobel Peace Prize recipient in the world under long-term house arrest.

The U.S.-based Free Burma Coalition welcomes the news of the release, and while the Coalition is cautiously optimistic about the latest development(s), it urges activists and governments around the world to continue monitoring the country’s human rights situation and political

“Free Burma Coalition is pleased by the release news. We sincerely hope this is the first genuine step (by the Burmese generals) towards national reconciliation and nation-building,” said Dr. Zar Ni, a Burmese political exile and founding director of the Coalition.

Aung Din, a prominent student leader in Burma’s 1988 popular uprising who was tortured and jailed by the regime for 5 years, stresses, “There are currently about 2,000 pro-democracy activists behind bars (in Burma). Some are aging and some are ailing. The international community must call on the regime to release these political prisoners as well.”

The European Union, United States and Canada, as well as grassroots “Free Burma” activists internationally, have put consistent pressure on the Burmese regime through consumer boycotts and diplomatic and economic sanctions for a genuine political change including her release. Since
1995, over 50 multinational corporations including PepsiCo, Wal-Mart, Texaco and ARCO cut ties to Burma, owing to citizens’ campaigns led by the Free Burma Coalition and its allies. In 2000, the International Labor Organization, an agency of the United Nations, paved the way for further
economic sanctions after discovering the pervasive use of "forced labor" throughout the country by the Burmese regime. It is believed that Aung San Suu Kyi’s release came about as a result of these multi-layered efforts.

“We re-affirm our solidarity with Aung San Suu Kyi and her people by carrying on with our citizens’ efforts until and unless Burma’s democratic leadership calls for the end of international sanctions,” said Larry Dohrs, longtime Burma supporter and Vice-President of Seattle’s Newground
Investment Services.

Aung San Suu Kyi rose to prominence during a nationwide uprising in 1988. Despite being placed under a previous house arrest in 1989, her popularity and charisma led her National League for Democracy party to a landslide victory in the 1990 multiparty elections. The military has refused to
honor the election results.

One of the world’s poorest nations, Burma under the current military regime is in economic ruin with a high rate of HIV infection amongst its populace. The regime has been shaken by a recent abortive coup attempt by former
General Ne Win (and family), who officially ruled the country from 1962-88. Unable to address the country’s economic and HIV crises, the Burmese regime appears desperate for international assistance and collaboration with the opposition.
posted by buddha9090 at 8:07 AM on May 7, 2002

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