The military government of Myanmar finally released its arch rival, democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi today marking the expiration of her detention. She was cheered on and supported by several thousand admirers.
She is a 65-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate, whose latest period of detention covered 7 1/2 years. She has become a role-model for the struggle for democracy in Myanmar (formerly Burma) which has been ruled by the military since 1962. She is considered one of the world’s most prominent political prisoners. However, her release from house arrest came only a week after an election that was swept by the military’s proxy political party and decried by Western nations as a sham designed to perpetuate authoritarian control.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said the release was long overdue.
It is unlikely the military will allow Suu Kyi to actively and publicly pursue her goal of bringing democracy to Myanmar.
Kim Aris, the younger of her two sons was awaiting her release in Thailand and is seeking the chance to see his mother for the first time in 10 years. Aris lives in Britain and has been repeatedly denied visas. Her elsest son, Alexander Aris, accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on his mother’s behalf in 1991 and lives in the United States.
Her late husband, Michael Aris died of cancer in 1999 at age 53 after having been denied several attempts to see his wife for the three years before his death. Suu Kyi could have left Myanmar to see her family but decided not to, fearing the junta would not allow her back in.