Myanmar's newly-released opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi delivers a speech to thousands of supporters at her National League for Democracy (NLD) headquarters in Yangon. Image Credit: AFP

Aung San Suu Kyi is the most famous democracy campaigner in the world and now, thanks to you, she is free. Her prolonged period of house arrest has come to an end because of the unremitting pressure applied by millions of people round the world who believe no injustice can last for ever. But her release from house arrest, under which she has spent 15 of the last 21 years, is only a partial victory, because her liberation and that of the Myanmarese people will not be complete until she is able to take up her position as the rightful leader of her country.

The elections on November 7 were an exercise in PR, not in public participation. The constitution, brought in by the generals, enshrines the idea that the president, who is not accountable to parliament, must be either a former or serving soldier, and head a government that need not include a single elected MP. The decision to free Suu Kyi shows the junta realises that having a single iconic focus for resistance is counterproductive, but we have no evidence that they have any intention of weakening their own position or allowing genuine democratic reform.

During two decades I have offered Suu Kyi and her family all the support I could give, and have written to her many times to say that all over Britain there are people who hold her in their thoughts and prayers. I met with her husband, Michael Aris, who later died from cancer without being allowed to see her again, and I promised him that I would do whatever I could do.

For more than 20 years Suu Kyi's family have endured the pain of separation, and their strength is an inspiration to us all. They have been sustained not only by the bravery of monks and other Myanmarese protesters who have defied the repression to swear public allegiance to the democratic cause, but also by the global solidarity that has been marshalled by the Burma Campaign UK, Avaaz.org and others.

Defining cause

When I guest-edited my wife Sarah's Twitter stream to raise awareness of Suu Kyi's plight, I was overwhelmed by how many people from all over the world see this as one of the defining causes of our time. There are, of course, grave injustices elsewhere, and the steady silent loss of life that extreme poverty inflicts on thousands of people every day. But that should never excuse turning our back on such a grotesque abuse of human rights as that inflicted on Myanmar's democracy leader. One tweet from Amnesty was particularly sobering: "No one under 38 — half of ... [Myanmar's] population — has voted before." That an entire population could reach middle age without ever casting a ballot, and then be offered only a voting paper without the country's main opposition party, is a testament to the staying power and brutality of the junta.

The democratisation of Myanmar will be hard, but it is not impossible. The web is our weapon. Through it people of good conscience can organise and apply the sort of pressure that brought about Saturday's release. But, just as important, through it and other new technology activists in Myanmar can tell the world what is happening. That is nowhere more apparent than in the film Burma VJ, made by journalists who smuggled footage out of the country.

In the trailer there is a chilling sequence where somebody on the phone is watching an attack on protesters out of a window and explaining it to his friend: "Who did they shoot?" The reply comes: "A guy with a camera." The generals fear scrutiny, evidence, solidarity. In short, they fear you.

The liberation of Suu Kyi is one of the great victories of people power in our time — let us together ensure that the liberation of her country is the next.

— Guardian