After 15 years of house arrest, the liberation of Aung San Suu Kyi, the 65-year-old pro-democracy leader of Burma, was celebrated around the world last Saturday. Her steadfast promotion of freedom and liberty against the forces of repression is admirable.
World leaders were not the only ones in jubilance. There are reports that foot soldiers among the Burmese military’s lower ranks, view Suu Kyi as a gateway to changing the oppressive nation for the better.
According to the BBC News service in Burma, several hundred disgruntled soldiers from battalions in Rangoon and Bago divisions, along with their families went to see the release of Aung San Suu Kyi’s house on November 13, in hopes that Suu Kyi might be the solution to their woes.
“We went there to greet her because we believe the hardships the lower rank and file are facing can be solved if Ms Suu Kyi and the military commanders work together.
“We have high hopes for Ms Suu Kyi,” a soldier told the BBC Burmese service.
It follows reports in September that soldiers in many areas were refusing to carry out routine tasks in protest at short rations and lack of access to their pay.
A split among the military may be a good sign for Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party. This can only enhance the movement. But Suu Kyi told supporters not to expect miracles with her release. This is going to be a long process.
Two weeks ago, Burma had elections which most of the world’s leaders agree, was a sham. Suu Kyi filed paperwork to reinstate her party and possibly challenge the legitimacy of these elections, although such a challenge could result in prison time.
The election commission has threatened harsh legal penalties for those filing complaints about the election results deemed fraudulent. Individuals can be jailed for three years and fined up to £200.
Within hours of being released from house arrest after seven years Ms Suu Kyi announced that she would stand with NLD party officials in their investigation of electoral fraud and issue a report into the findings.
Cross-posted at www.Cubachi.com