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Myanmar: A Year After Suu Kyi's Release

The Burmese people in Myanmar and the whole world rejoiced after Aung San Suu Kyi's release last year on November 13, 2010. Now it has almost been a year since she had been released.

Maydarwii wrote on her blog as soon as Suu Kyi was released:

I thought that I will blog again only after I finished my exams, but today, I will blog because of a happy occassion. Because of the vague news I've been hearing, my mind was in a limbo since yesterday. For this kind of news is heard all the time, but they sometimes turned out to be false. I wished that this news was correct but not feeling too positive about it. While eating breakfast that morning before going out, my uncle told me that the news I heard yesterday was still unconfirmed so I was feeling a bit let down. After coming back home at 1pm, I was hungry so was preparing lunch when my uncle came into the kitchen happily announcing, “She's been released!” We left our lunches at the table, and came in front of the TV watching the news for a long time. We forgot that we were hungry. After all, we have been waiting to hear this news for many years.

I was feeling so overjoyed to see the joyous crowd in front of Daw Suu's house which made me feel goosebumps and tears were forming in my eyes. I couldn't stop looking at Daw Suu's blurry face on TV. I feel so happy and sad at the same time. Indescribable feelings overwhelmed my heart.

Aung San Suu Kyi, 8 October, 2011. Image by Flickr user Utenriksdept (CC BY-ND 2.0).

Aung San Suu Kyi, 8 October, 2011. Image by Flickr user Utenriksdept (CC BY-ND 2.0).

Htoo Tayzar was one of the Burmese bloggers who went to NLD Headquarters  to listen to her speech to the Burmese people the next day after release. He wrote:

At 10:30am, there was a lot of people already, and many of them was holding “We Love Su” posters. I noticed that there was no uniformed men around there, except for the traffic police. There are also a lot of people at the betel nut shops and tea shops which were directly in front of the headquarters. I saw that many grand dads and grand moms came, holding little kids by the hand. People who came were from different generations

He took many photos at the event, even though “it was too crowded to even stand properly and had to be stand on tip-toe to take these photos.”

Meanwhile, Kyaw Thu, a Burmese actor who has also won many hearts because of his Free Funeral Service Society, gave paintings he drew to Suu Kyi. When asked how he feels about Suu Kyi's release, he said:

We now have a warm light in our lives. I don't want us to lose our goals. I don't want us to have a life that prevents us from working because of fear. Now “Mother” Suu can lead and guide us on our way. We can't just be happy for her release. It is important that we will follow her guidance.

Many local news journals were not allowed to put her release as headline and reporting about her release was heavily censored. However, a local sports journal was reportedly suspended for two weeks due to its headline which read, “Sunderland Freeze Chelsea,” “United Stunned by Villa” & “Arsenal Advance to Grab Their Hope”, but with light-colour letters in the headline can be read out as “Su Free. Unite & Advance to Grab The Hope.”

Furthermore, nine other local journals were suspended for a week for putting Suu Kyi's release news on front page.

However, after the new government has been inaugurated in 2011, there were relaxations of press censorship on news about Aung San Su Kyi. An article written by her, called “My Holidays” was featured on Pyi Thu Khit Journal.

She traveled to Bagan with her son in July 2011. It was her first trip outside Yangon after being released from house arrest. She greeted hundreds of local residents, and many were elated to be able to meet her.

A resident said:

“I'm so happy to see our country's daughter,” said a 70-year old flower seller at the pagoda. “Nobody but Suu Kyi can unite this country.”

She was also against the implementation of Myitsone Dam Project in Kachin State. She also seemed to be catching up with social and cultural events after having been imprisoned for  years. She attended several events, such as “Sketch of A River Art Exhibition“, 150th Anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore at the Indian Embassy, a football match and the recent opening of Baydar Library. She will also be sponsoring the Art of Freedom Film Festival, where she took financial responsibilities for awarding the entries.

In August 2011, she met with Myanmar's President U Thein Sein for the first time, and said she was “satisfied” with the talks.

She also met with other foreign dignitaries, such as United States Senator John McCain.

Meanwhile, Suu Kyi said that she wil make a decision about re-registering her party National League for Democracy (NLD) after parliament amends the election laws. She said:

Whether we re-register our NLD party depends on the law. That is the reason why we will need to wait until that law has been endorsed to decide about this. When this law has been endorsed, we will hold a meeting according to party laws and decide on this issue. We are very precise. We only do things according to the law. That is why I cannot decide yet because I haven't seen the law.”

On November 13, 2011, she will be holding a press conference in the NLD headquarters in celebration of her one-year freedom.

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