International Women’s Day 2012 was a special one in Burma. Celebrations of the holiday had been banned or restricted for nearly a half century, but the 2012 festivities took place in at least five locations: Rangoon, Tavoy, Moulmein, Loikaw and Namsan in northern Shan state.
The Women’s League of Burma said turnouts of more than 1,000 were expected in most places when the day was observed March 8.
Burma’s most prominent woman leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has worked to establish greater freedoms in her nation. In her “Freedom from Fear” speech, delivered in 1990 while under house arrest, she said, “The quintessential revolution is that of the spirit, born of an intellectual conviction of the need for change in those mental attitudes and values which shape the course of a nation’s development.”
Her words, spoken in the darkness of oppression, were prescient.