Our friend Allan Badiner sends along the following, a guest blogpost from a campaigner for the US Campaign for Burma named Patrick Cook-Deegan.
Each day for the past seven years, Burma’s imprisoned Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi started her morning by practicing meditation alone in her dilapidated house in Rangoon. But last month, Suu Kyi’s schedule changed markedly when she was freed from house arrest after seven and a half continuous years of detention. As she walked out to the gate of her home, she smiled at the thousands of followers who had flocked to her house to show their support. As she addressed them, she promised to continue Burma’s “non-violent revolution.”For Free Burma campaigners like myself, it brought tears to our eyes to see “The Lady” back where she belongs: amidst the people of Burma. Usually even the roads to reach her house are blocked by soldiers—I witnessed that first-hand this past summer in Rangoon. In fact, this is the first time I have seen Suu Kyi free since becoming a part of the Burma solidarity movement four years ago.I first got involved in Burma after going on a solo bicycle trip 1,000 miles through the country in the summer of 2006. During my month long trip, I was frequently followed by Burma’s military police, and I played the good tourist most of the time to prevent endangering the locals around me. But there were times I could slip away from my followers and find Burmese people who were willing to tell me about their lives.
Often I ended up at monasteries talking with monks. Many of Burma’s younger monks are politically active and eager to talk to foreigners. In Mandalay, I spent a few days befriending one young monk named U Zwingar. We were about the same age—21—and we shared many of the same values. I had just completed my first 10-day mediation sit and I was interested in learning more about Buddhism. And we were both interested in politics.