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Aung San Suu Kyi: Awaiting her release

By Melissa Bell
Aung San Suu Kyi
U Win Tin, who was at Insein Prison for 19 years, shows his support for Aung San Suu Kyi. (James Mackay/

Burma waits, and the world waits, uncertain whether Burma's most famous political prisoner will be free tomorrow after 15 of the past 21 years spent under house arrest or in jail. Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and leader of the opposition party in Burma, has become a symbol for the Southeast Asian country's democracy movement, protesting against the military rule.

"There is no law to hold (Suu Kyi) for another day. Her detention period expires on Saturday and she will be released," her attorney, Nyan Win, told reporters.

An excerpt from the presentation speech for her 1991 Nobel Peace Prize win says:

In the good fight for peace and reconciliation, we are dependent on persons who set examples, persons who can symbolise what we are seeking and mobilise the best in us. Aung San Suu Kyi is just such a person. She unites deep commitment and tenacity with a vision in which the end and the means form a single unit. Its most important elements are: democracy, respect for human rights, reconciliation between groups, non-violence, and personal and collective discipline.

(Read the full speech here.)

"Some critics have argued that Mrs Suu Kyi's saintly image, her rigid stance and her status as the only Burmese most foreigners have ever heard of has helped create a stalemate which benefits the isolationist junta. Yet by keeping her locked up the generals have shown that -- perhaps more than anything -- they fear Aung San Suu Kyi," Thomas Bell wrote in the Telegraph.

Although Aung San Suu Kyi might be awarded her freedom tomorrow, more than 2,190 political prisoners are incarcerated in Burma's jails. James Mackay is working to build an extensive photography assignment of the Burma's former political prisoners showing their solidarity to the ones still jailed, such as the photograph at the top of this post. On his Web site, he writes:

This simple symbolic gesture of the palm being shown in the Buddhist Abhaya Mudhra with the name of a colleague currently suffering silently in prison written on it, becomes a combined act of silent protest, remembrance and fearlessness.

See the images here.

By Melissa Bell  | November 12, 2010; 9:48 AM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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I hope she makes the most of what will be a brief time of freedom. Good luck.

Posted by: jckdoors | November 12, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Burma has been under a military dictatorship since 1962. Just one more example of how worthless the UN is with regard to promoting freedom and democracy.

Posted by: GWGOLDB | November 13, 2010 5:52 AM | Report abuse

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