Big news: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi released

On Saturday morning US time, Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader was released from house arrest. Her most recent confinement lasted seven years; she has been under house arrest for 15 of the last 21 years. According to the New York Times, the decision to release the Nobel Peace laureate just a few days after Myanmar’s election “suggested that the generals were confident of their position and ready to face down the devotion she still commands both in her country and abroad.”

Suu Kyi addressed a crowd of several thousand supporters, saying that she plans to continue working to bring democracy to Myanmar, establishing networks within and outside of the country to do so. She called for freedom of speech and told the crowd that she would need their continued support, “I’m not going to be able to do it alone,” she said. “One person alone can’t do anything as important as bringing genuine democracy to a country.”

The Times has a video that includes some of her speech here.

Many world leaders have paid tribute to Suu Kyi following her release, including President Obama, the Dalai Lama and UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon. Bono is reportedly also “very thrilled.”

Latest reports indicate that Suu Kyi is now in talks to reform her party, the National League for Democracy, which was recently forced to disband, and she has indicated her willingness to engage in dialogue with the military junta that controls the country.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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  • Jessica “Jess” Victoria Carillo

    Finally! I remember reading about her in a book by Kathleen Odean, back when I was a kid. They said that she was still imprisoned as of that writing. I had often wondered when she’ll be released. Now fast forward to November 2010 and she’s free!