In Myanmar, a voice of freedom stirs the people
Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi called yesterday for freedom of speech in army-ruled Myanmar, urged thousands of supporters to stand up for their rights and indicated she may urge the West to end sanctions.
Suu Kyi’s first major speech since being freed from seven years of house arrest a day earlier left little doubt she would resume an influential political role in one of the world’s most isolated and oppressive countries.
The 65-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate offered an olive branch to the military junta, saying she had no antagonism for those who kept her detained for 15 of the past 21 years.
The address illustrated the strength of Suu Kyi’s pro-democracy voice just a week after an election widely condemned as rigged to prolong military power behind a facade of democracy.
Her comment on free speech resonated in a country where every song, book, cartoon and planned piece of art requires approval by censors rooting out political messages and criticisms of Myanmar’s authoritarian system.