Yesterday, June 19th, was Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s 66th birthday and many celebrations were held to honor her and her freedom. She used this occasion to remind people that even though she is free, we all still need to be working for freedom for all Burma. There must be freedom for all political prisoners, there must be peace, there must be true measures to respect human rights.
In a speech she gave at a ceremony in her honor at the National League for Democracy’s headquarters, she recognized that though she was free there are still massive challenges to bringing real democratic change to Burma. Her birthday wish was strong and clear – “If I were asked what I would wish on my birthday, I wish for peace, stability and prosperity in the country.” You can watch the speech in Burmese here.
For her birthday, there was a music competition for Burmese artists around the country and she awarded the winners prizes. There were around 500 party members at the birthday celebration, holding candles as they wished her well.
Celebrations were also held across the country, not just in Rangoon, in places such as Rakhine State and Magwe Division.
She also had another special birthday gift with her youngest son Kim Aris, visiting her from Britain.
– In the United States, dozens of supporters held ‘Arrest Yourself’ events in their home. Celebrating Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s birthday by following her plead to push for the release of all political prisoners. There were also special gatherings in Washington DC, New York, San Francisco, Fort Wayne, and other cities.
– Canada‘s Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, issued a special statement for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s birthday. “I would like to extend my heartfelt best wishes to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in celebration of her 66th birthday.” read more . There were also special events held by communities in Toronto, Vancouver, and other locations.
– In the Czech Republic, several dozen supporters gathered in Prague to commemorate her birthday. The organizers of the event, People in Need and the Burma Centre Prague, used political cartoons by the popular exiled Burmese artist Harn Lay to familiarize participants with last year´s political development in Burma. See photos here
– In the Philippines hundreds of Filipino solidarity activists from the group the Free Burma Coalition – Philipines held a demonstration in front of the Burmese Embassy.
– In the United Kingdom rallies and special demonstrations were held in London. The city of Newcastle granted Daw Aung San Suu Kyi a special award. Burma Campaign UK’s Wai Hnin accepted the award on the Lady’s behalf. See video here
Also Burma Campaign UK’s released a new briefing paper on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi calling for a revived UN effort to secure dialogue to solve the political problems in Burma. Read it here.
– An event was held in New Delhi, India with Burmese democracy activists and the women’s magazine MANUSHI. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi sent a special video message. She noted the important friendships she has had with Indian women. She says that it isn’t enough to remember her, but to remember to help all the people in Burma who are fighting for human rights and democracy in Burma. She especially calls for help in releasing all of Burma’s political prisoners. See the video below
– Several events were held in Thailand, especially Chiang Mai and Mae Sot. Read the Women’s League of Burma’s statement. Daw Aung Suu Kyi also sent a special greeting to the Burmese activists working on the Thai-Burma border. Watch the video here