The release of Aung San Suu Kyi is one of the more welcome developments of the past few weeks. unfortunately I don’t think that it is as significant in the process of change in Burma as Nelson Mandela’s release was in South Africa’s.
When Mandela was released everyone knew that this showed that the apartheid regime in South Africa had bowed to the inevitable and that this was the start of a process that would lead to full democracy in South Africa. What Aung San Su Kyi’s release signifies in the process of Burma’s progress on the path to democracy and freedom I am so sure.
The military are still in (apparent) full control. The retain their capacity to suppress any form of protest violently and presumably would be able to re-arrest her at a moments notice. Perhaps the Generals are more mindful of international opinion than they used to be, placing her back in detention would inevitably provoke an international outcry, but I fear beyond that there would be no significant action taken. In fact I’m not all that sure that there is any significant action that the West could take. China, of course will take no action what so ever.
“I am so glad to see so many people here and so happy to be free,”
“There is a time to be quiet and a time to talk. People must work in unison. Only then can we achieve our goal.”
These were her words to her supporters who greeted her outside the gates of what is now her house which was until yesterday he prison. She is not going to be leading a violent revolution, she is going to follow the non-violent principles of Gahndi and Martin Luther King and help the people of Burma chip away at the foundations of the whole rotten edifice, then let it collapse under its own weight.