The meltdown in perspective…

Win Tin being received by friends after his release from Insein Prison

Tremendous news from Burma about the release of Win Tin, the country’s longest-serving political prisoner. Freed after 19 years, he promised to continue his fight “until the emergence of democracy in this country.”

He makes the fuss over the sub-prime bail-out look like so much chin-wobbling opera.

He is now 79 but was first sentenced to jail when he was 60 – for looking after a girl suspected of having an illegal abortion.

Win Tin was one of 9002 prisoners set free, most ordinary criminals allowed out for good behavior.

He once wrote a poem which he gave to a UN envoy who visited him in prison. “Will death be my release? As long as democracy and human rights are not within reach, I decline my release. I am prepared to stay.”

I once reviewed an incredible novel about Burma’s political prisoners called The Lizard Cage by Karen Connelly for the Wall Street Journal…

PEN is hosting a fundraiser tonight in New York for victims of the cyclone which hit Burma earlier this year. The most interesting sounding speaker is U Gawsita, a 28-year-old monk who helped lead the uprising against the government last year and is now in exile.

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