Nobel Peace prize winner, pro-democracy leader in Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi is on her first trip abroad in 24 years.
The last time the government allowed her to travel outside of Myanmar (also known as Burma) was in April 1988, one year before the Berlin Wall fell.
That's a long time to be trapped in your own country without a passport.
The military junta that rules the country kept Suu Kyi under house arrest for 21 years. Now in it's attempt to gain world respect (and get Western economic sanctions lifted), it is implementing sweeping democratic reforms. The government freed thousands of political prisoners (though they were not pardoned and they can be re-arrested at any time) and recently held a parliamentary election in which Suu Kyi won a seat.
Now "The Lady" -- as many people in Myanmar have referred to her over the years--is on her first trip abroad, visiting Thailand where she will speak at the World Economic Forum on East Asia. She'l travel to Europe in mid-June, including Oslo, Norway, where she will formally accept the Nobel Prize she won in 1991.
Let's pray the Burmese government fully embraces democracy, that the political reforms will move forward.
Many journalists, Buddhist monks and nuns, opposition members, and pro-democracy activists still suffer behind bars in Burmese prisons simply because they peacefully protested or spoke out against their government.
It's time they be granted the same freedoms as the high-profile Aung San Suu Kyi.
Click on the video below to view Suu Kyi boarding her Thai Airlines flight, her arrival before massive crowds in Bangkok and a comment from excited, 40-year-old Burmese refugee Lap Wichai.