Learning the names of the leaders of other nations is a great place to start studing up on international politics. Quick! Who is the prime minister of the UK? Who is the president of France?
What about the prime minister of Burma?
It's a difficult question to answer because whereas other presidents and prime ministers and governors of countries are treated with respect, in Burma, the country's rightful leader is treated as a criminal. In fact, for the past 14 years of the last two decades Burma's Prime Minister, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been jailed in her own home. Her crime? Winning her country's election back in 1990. Aung San Suu Kyi's detention came almost immediately after the 1990 elections. After her party fairly and legitimately won the election, the newly elected prime minister was escorted not to an office but to jail on the orders of military authorities. For the past 19 years both the citizens of Burma and Daw Suu Kyi have been held hostage by the illegitimate junta. And when last year it appeared that Aung San Suu Kyi was about to be released from captivity, meaning an obvious attempt at claiming what is hers and her country's, the junta found another way to keep Ms. Suu Kyi imprisoned. This time she was brought up on charges of illegal swimming.
At her trial, where she was convicted, Aung San Suu Kyi was accused of violating the terms of her house arrest by allowing an uninvited man to swim in her pool. The man, John William Yettaw, had came to Ms. Suu Kyi to warn her of assassination plots that had been revealed to him in visions. Her case is currently under appeal.
Despite being the focus of a number of human rights groups, Burma remains unmoved to right the wrongs being done to its Prime Minister and its people, callously ignoring political and popular pressure to allow the legitimate government to function.
One group who has been long involved in Aung San Suu Kyi's struggle is the Irish rock band, U2. U2's song, Walk On, was dedicated to Daw Suu Kyi when it was originally released. This summer and fall, the rockers are taking the protest a step further by encouraging fans to print copies of Aung San Suu Kyi masks designer by The Edge and wear them in public and at their concerts as a show of solidarity.
*~Aisling Ireland~* is long time human rights activist, an active member of Amnesty International, a One Campaign supporter, writer, and an ordained Interfaith Minister and Spiritual Counselor.