Image via WikipediaThe past week has been telling – for the simple yet long overdue reason that Aung San Suu Kyi now walks free from her house arrest of more than 20 years. She is to Asia what Mandela was to Africa. But perhaps there is more to the unconditional release than meets the eye.
There are reports filtering in the international media that anybody who thinks Suu Kyi has been ‘given’ “freedom”, has their head in the sand. As soon as the hubbub dies down, Suu Kyi will be rearrested, or worse. And her crime and the basis of that pessimism is ‘free speech’.
But Suu Kyi’s beauty is that she is blameless, incorruptible and steadfast in her dedication to the Burmese people’s struggle for a government that is of, for and by the people - an example one can only aspire to and perhaps, emulate. Just the day after the day the 65 year-old icon for freedom was released, she told a large crowd outside her party’s offices in Rangoon that “The basis of democratic freedom is freedom of speech.”
She also told them: “If we want to get what we want, we have to do it in the right way.
The veteran human rights campaigner, who has been detained for 15 of the last 21 years, said that she had “no antagonism” towards her captors and that she had been well treated during her captivity.
Upon her release, Aung Sann Suu Kyi was greeted by thousands of cheering supporters as she arrived at the headquarters of her political party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) after being set free at last by the country’s military junta with world leaders everywhere hailing the move.
Right after her release, she told supporters: “Democracy is when the people keep a government in check.”
She added: “Please do not give up hope. There is no reason to lose heart.
“Even if you are not political, politics will come to you.”
Ms Suu Kyi’s NLD party won the election in 1990 but was never allowed to take
She took up the democracy struggle in 1998 and was thrust into a leadership role primarily because she was the daughter of martyred independence leader General Aung San.
Perhaps there are parallels in what she has done and what we should be grateful for in Bhutan for the peaceful and harmonious way our own democracy was conducted.
Aung Sann Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.