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Aung San Suu Kyi: a fragile heroine and a great symbol

By People in Need  •  June 19, 2010

On Friday 18th June 2010 several dozens of supporters of the Burmese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi gathered in the center of Prague to commemorate her birthday and to condemn her house arrest lasting for the past fifteen years. The organizers of the event, People in Need organization, created a graffiti picture of Suu Kyi on a wall in the city center and invited the public to come and leave a birthday message on the wall. Photos and a short video from the event will be sent to Czech, European and Burmese exile media and to the independent civil society organizations as an expression of the Czech support.

Several important public figures came to hold a short speech at the event. „Aung San Suu Kyi is a fragile woman but for me she is an extraordinary heroine, bigger heroine than many of people that are trying to get into people’s memory in today’s world. I wish her all the best on her birthday and with God’s help she will live to see freedom not only for herself but for all the Burmese people“, stated Karel Schwarzenberg, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.

Currently the only detained Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Suu Kyi is a leading figure of fight for democracy in Burma for already several decades. She won a landslide victory in Burmese elections in 1990 as a leader of a political party National League for Demcoracy (NLD). But the results of these elections were never recognized by the Burmese junta and the members of NLD and the democratic opposition are since then persecuted and even imprisoned.

Member of the Czech Parliament Marek Benda and a member of a Czech Parliamentary Caucus for Democracy in Burma has shortly mentioned the upcoming elections in Burma. „The elections which are now being prepared in Burma, have so little in common with elections like those held in our country before 1989.“ He also wished to all the people in Burma to become free soon. The legal framework of Burma – new constitution issued by the junta in 2008 and the election laws issued in March 2010 – discriminate the opposition political representatives. For example they do not allow running for the elections of those who are under prosecution or imprisoned which is a tool against Suu Kyi and other imprisoned opposition members. They also do not allow the candidacy of more then 400 000 of Buddhist monks and other members of religious groups.

What Suu Kyi is doing is a great example and it is a victory of the spirit over the totalitarian power of the regime. I think the Czech Republic is one of the countries which has lived its history, has learnt its lesson and rightly is among those who are trying to help where it is needed…in those places where democracy has not set its roots yet.“ This was the message of Petr Bratský, former Member of Parliament and member of a Czech Parliamentary Caucus for Democracy in Burma. Cyril Svoboda, former Minister of Foreign Affairs came to express his congratulations: „Knowing that somewhere in the world there is someone thinking of those who suffer – that is a strong signal of solidarity and it is very important to them.“

A greeting to Suu Kyi was also said by Anna Šabatová, former dissident and chairwoman of the Czech Helsinki Committee. „I admire her for her bravery, patience and persistance… I also admire her as a woman because she has dedicated her personal family life for the struggle for free Burma.“ Jiří Šitler, director of the Department of Asia and Pacific from the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs brought a message from the other side. „About a month ago I met with the Executive Committee of the NLD and through them a message from Suu Kyi to the Czech Republic was passed. She knows what our country is doing for her and she would like to express her gratitude to the Czech public, the civil society and also to the Czech diplomacy.“ The series of speeches was closed by a greeting by youn Burmese activist Aung Htun, member of the NLD who is visiting the Czech Republic. „Thank you for what the Czech Republic is doing for Burma.

Photos from the event can be found here http://www.clovekvtisni.cz/index2en.php?id=409&id_gallery=131.

Similar public gatherings are being held recently in many places around the world such as London, Dublin, New York, Washington, New Delhi, Bangkok, Johannedburg, Makati (Philipines) and others. Even inside Burma small events are organized. An interesting expression of solidarity is a blood donation by young Burmese activists, about 60 of them have donated blood to commemorate Suu Kyi’s birthday.

For more information please contact: Kristina Prunerová, coordinator of Burmese projects, People in need. cell: 420 777 787 917, mail: kristina.prunerova@clovekvtisni.cz

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This post is in: 2010 Elections, Press Release

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