A Day of Hope Dawns

Photograph by James Nachtwey for TIME

Expectant faces Youthful Aung San Suu Kyi supporters wait to greet her on the campaign trail at Kawhmu in the Irrawaddy Delta

They waited for hours in the merciless tropical sun for their Lady to come. On this sweltering day in the height of the dry season, when even dusty palm fronds failed to catch a breeze, tens of thousands of Burmese lined roads and fields to openly venerate Aung San Suu Kyi, the democracy icon who inspires devotion that is nearly spiritual in its intensity. For the first time in her life, the veteran opposition leader is directly participating in Burma's political process by running for a seat in April 1 by-elections, which will fill fewer than 50 vacancies in...

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