Friday, October 5, 2012

Suu Kyi home after whirlwind US tour

Friday, 05 October 2012 12:06 Mizzima News

Aung San Suu Kyi was welcomed home by thousands of emotional supporters on Thursday after a triumphant trip to the United States where she also had an emotional reunion with one of her sons, whom she had not seen in years.

Suu Kyi, garnered the US Congressional Gold Medal, the country’s highest honour, and spread the story of Burma’s emerging democracy – and the hurdles and challenges that remain – in a cross-country journey, where she was feted, praised and honored in city after city.

Aung San Suu Kyi is greeted by thousands of supporters as she arrives back in Burma at the Yangon International Airport late on Thursday, October 4, 2012, after a triumphant trip to the United States where she was also given a hero's welcome. Photo: Mizzima

She left Los Angeles on Wednesday, but beforehand she met with her eldest son Alexander Aris, who reportedly lives in a Buddhist community in the US, whom she had not visited with in years. A younger son, Kim, travelled to Burma in 2010 for the first time in 12 years to visit Suu Kyi, who when not under house arrest could not leave the country for fear of not being allowed to return.

Suu Kyi demonstrated a tireless energy and spirit on her US tour, speaking to dozens of audiences while giving scores of interviews, clearly recognizing the trip as a pivotal moment in Burma’s democracy movement. The pro-democracy, opposition leader travelled to Washington, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Indiana, San Francisco and Los Angeles during her two-week tour.

Several thousand supporters cheered Suu Kyi at Rangoon International Airport, chanting “Long live Mother Suu” and held signs sings reading, “Welcome home Mother Suu.”

Outside her home, she told reporters, “We have to remain united during hard times and cannot rest.”

Her historic trip coincided with a US visit by Burma’s President Thein Sein during which Washington announced it would ease a ban on imports from Burma. Thein Sein and Suu Kyi met informally in New York, and mutually praised each other for their contribution to Burma’s evolving democracy movement.

During her tour, Suu Kyi, 67, received rare criticism from some human rights activists who want her to speak out more on behalf of Burma’s 800,000-strong Rohingya population, viewed by the UN as one of the world's most persecuted minorities, many of whom have been displaced by community violence in western Rakhine State. Most Rohingya lack Burmese citizenship and are living under harsh conditions.

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