Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi house arrest was quietly extended for another year by the military dictatorship of Myanmar, a southeast asian country formerly known as Burma. It was “quiet” in the sense that there was little to no media coverage of this event. In the early 90’s I remember hearing about Suu Kyi’s ordeal, hunger strikes and the violent crackdown on her supporters by the military regime, but lately nothing. I would bet that most people today, especially in the west, have never heard of her continued struggle and sacrifice for democracy.
Born in 1945, Aung San Suu Kyi was first imprisoned by the military (that is really what her house arrest is) in 1989 after entering politics and forming the political party National Leauge for Democracy. Although banned from campaigning, in a 1990 general election her party won 82% of the parlimentary seats, however the military junta refused to recognize the results. She was released in 1995 and placed under house arrest again in 2000. Suu Kyi was released in 2002, but was again imprisoned (house arrest) in 2003 until now. In 1991 while imprisoned, she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace for her non-violent struggle against the military dictatorship of Myanmar.
Although the U.S. and European Union have recently renewed sanctions against the military regime, they have little effect as Russia, India and (yes…. you guessed it), China have oil, gas, pipeline and military weapons development deals in the works with the dictatorship. In January of this year, both Russia and China vetoed an American proposed censure of the regime in the U.N. Security Council.
The regime has stated that they would gladly release Suu Kyi if she promises to leave the country. She refuses to leave…. to abandon her people and so Aung San Suu Kyi continues to be imprisoned for her beliefs. Her 1990 “Freedom from Fear” speech is awe inspiring.
Let’s remember this forgotten heroine and sign any petitions that come your way which advocates for her release.