Aung San Suu Kyi was released in November after seven years of house arrest in Burma. The Nobel Peace Prize winner was elected Prime Minister of Burma in 1990, and detained off and on since then for defying Burma's military junta. She became a global symbol, a poised and quiet champion of democracy. Her release brought an outpouring of praise from Western leaders, and crowds of ecstatic, chanting and singing supporters gathered in the streets of Rangoon near her home.
China, which saw one of its jailed dissidents awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this year, was notably mute.
As Monitor correspondent Simon Montlake wrote: "For many ordinary Burmese, Suu Kyi is a symbol of injustice and a link to a more hopeful past: her father, Gen. Aung San, was an independence hero in the 1940s. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 in recognition of her nonviolent struggle... Whether she tries to test any limits set by the [military] junta or takes a more cautious approach could have far-reaching repercussions on Burma’s political landscape.
Suu Kyi emerged into a strange, new world, where she used a cellphone for the first time. Next up, email.
After her release, she said: "Humor is one of the best ingredients of survival."