As Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi approaches her 64th birthday on June 19, a number of celebrities and other prominent figures have chimed in to increase the pressure on the military junta to drop the charges against her and release her from detention.
Hollywood actresses Julia Roberts and Demi Moore, artist Yoko Ono, and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown are among those who have recently petitioned for Suu Kyi’s release. On a web-site launched as part of the “64 words for Aung San Suu Kyi” campaign organized to raise awareness of her plight, James Cameron, director of the movies “Titanic” and “The Terminator,” offered the following words for thought: “While my heroes are fictional, Aung San Suu Kyi is a real-life hero and she needs help from you.”
In a parallel campaign, the organizers of “64 words for Aung San Suu Kyi” have also collected signatures from 107 former or current political prisoners from over 20 different countries, as well as signatures from a number of other prominent human rights activists.
These other signatories include Kim Dae-jung, a former president of South Korea and Nobel Peace Prize laureate; Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian human rights campaigner who also won the Nobel Peace Prize; former Czech President Vaclav Havel; and two female Chinese activists currently under house arrest, Yuan Weijing and Zeng Jinyan.
Suu Kyi is being detained on charges of breaking her house arrest when an uninvited American man swam across a lake to visit her home. Her trial is ongoing.