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

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

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.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs