I am delighted that the Burmese military junta has seen fit to release Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest.
But how long will the junta's benevolence last?
Let us not forget that Suu Kyi was twice previously released from house arrest only to be placed back into detention. After spending nearly six years under house arrest, Suu Kyi was released in July 1995 and remained free for more than five years until she was detained in September 2000. Suu Kyi was released again in May 2002 but was re-arrested a year later and would remain in captivity until this morning.
As of now the conditions of Suu Kyi's release are unknown. If Suu Kyi opts to travel abroad will she be allowed to return to Burma? During her previous stints of "freedom," the military junta has made it clear that she would not be permitted to re-enter the country if she left.
Life in a totalitarian state is arbitrary and capricious. While we should rejoice in Suu Kyi's release we must also recognize that as long as the military junta remains she, as well as the people of Burma, will never truly be free.
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