News / Asia

    Rangoon Diary: Burmese Reunite with Beloved Democracy Leader

    Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, flanked by her party officials, talks to the supporters at the gate of her home in Rangoon, 13 Nov 2010
    Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, flanked by her party officials, talks to the supporters at the gate of her home in Rangoon, 13 Nov 2010

    This is a special report from a journalist inside Rangoon, who has been covering Burma's political developments for VOA despite the threat of deportation. The journalist's identity is being withheld so that they may continue reporting. We bring you their notes from the field.

    On Saturday evening in Rangoon, Aung San Suu Kyi peered over the top of the gate that has separated her from the rest of Burma for the past seven years.

    "It's been so long since I've seen the people," she said to hundreds, if not thousands, of cheering supporters. "I won't say more now, because you can't hear what I'm saying, but I will hold a speech with a loudspeaker tomorrow at the NLD office."

    The pushing crowd, which had been crying and sweating, was charmed and let out a collective laugh as they caught their first glimpse of the pro-democracy leader. Dressed in t-shirts bearing Aung San Suu Kyi's image, her supporters held cameras and phones in the air to record the moment, chanting her name and singing the theme song of the National League for Democracy.

    Supporters of Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi run towards her home in celebration of her release from house arrest in Rangoon, 13 Nov 2010
    Supporters of Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi run towards her home in celebration of her release from house arrest in Rangoon, 13 Nov 2010

    It was a highly emotional day for so many people of Burma. The road in front of Aung San Suu Kyi's house has been blockaded on and off for several years, but as soon as the blockades were removed Saturday, streams of people rushed toward her home. In a country with no freedom of assembly, the massive gathering alone was a feat. And Aung San Suu Kyi's release, a triumph.

    "We don't know what will happen to her now," said one man who came to show his support with his wife and children. "Because after the elections, we still don't know who is the winner, and what she can do."

    "She will do what she can," his wife said. "She will know what to do."

    Burma held its first election in 20 years on November 7. The military government branded the vote a move towards democracy. But the opposition and Western governments have called the election a sham, pointing to rampant fraud at the polls and vote counting stations. Final results have not been released. Still, the government's proxy party is claiming to have won some 80 percent of the seats.

    1990 election results annuled

    The last party to win 80 percent of the votes in a Burmese election was the National League for Democracy in 1990. The opposition's victory against the military government solidified Aung San Suu Kyi's place in the people's hearts, but it also sealed her fate as an enemy of the state. The government annulled the election results, and has held the politician in some form of detention for 15 of the past 21 years.

    Despite a recent split in her party, Aung San Suu Kyi remains a unifying force in the political arena and has maintained her ability to bring a crowd together.

    "She rules the people's hearts," said a member of the opposition splinter group the National Democratic Force outside Aung San Suu Kyi's house on Saturday. "We are so happy she is out."

    Cho Cho Kyaw Nyein, a member of the recently formed Democratic Party, said the opposition parties are making plans together as to how to proceed after the elections, including a plan to cooperate with ethnic parties in border areas.

    While Aung San Suu Kyi has won her freedom, more than 2,000 political prisoners remain behind bars in Burma. And the conditions of "The Lady's" release are still unknown.

    Timeline of Major Political Events in Burma

    on Dipity.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora