Freedom took its time

Aung San Suu KyiWhile it’s amazing that Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is finally free it’s also sad that it took so damn long.

And that the push to have her freedom restored hasn’t really been as strong as it could have been on a global level.

Yes, there has been a bit of hand-wringing and some formal appeals but there hasn’t been the level of international outrage there should have been. When Nelson Mandela was imprisoned over equally dodgy trumped up charges the world was quite rightly pissed off and made plenty of noise about it.

I know that even as a not-always-well-informed-on-world-events teenager I was well aware of Mandela and his plight. That certainly hasn’t been the case with Suu Kyi.

I’m not sure why, perhaps because Burma isn’t a nation that plays sport with other countries, perhaps because her cause wasn’t trendy enough for anyone to write a chart-topping song about.

Whatever the reason, it’s great to see that she has her freedom, although with the way things are in Burma it’s likely she’ll be detained again by the authorities.

Suu Kyi’s politics have rattled the powers-that-be in Burma over the years and I’m sure her level of support from voters has also caused them some worry.

The 65-year-old Nobel peace laureate has spend 15 of the past 21 years being detained.

  • July 10, 1995: Released from house arrest
  • September 23, 2000: Placed under house arrest
  • May 6, 2002: Released from house arrest
  • May 30, 2003: Arrested following the Depayin massacre, she was held in secret detention for more than three months before being returned to house arrest
  • May 25, 2007: House arrest extended by one year despite a direct appeal from UN Secretary-General Kifi Annan
  • May 27, 2008: House arrest extended for another year, which is illegal under both international law and under Burma’s own laws
  • August 11, 2009: House arrest extended for 18 more months because of “violation” arising from a 2009 trespass incident
  • November 13, 2010: Released from house arrest

Probably the most amazing thing about all of this is that she has come out of it with a desire to continue to fight for freedom.

A very classy lady.


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