Who Inspires Us: Aung San Suu Kyi

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Today we’re paying tribute to the strength of women, and what better way than to recognize the bravery of Aung Sann Suu Kyi, a Burmese political opposition leader and Nobel Prize Winner.

Suu Kyi, who was born to Commander Aung San of the Burma Independence Army and Daw Khin Kyi who would later become Burma’s ambassador to India. While she spent most of her childhood in Burma, she went to high school and college in New Delhi while living with her mother during her term as ambassador.

Suu Kyi’s political career did not really start until later in her life, when after living abroad with her husband & two sons, she returned to Burma to visit her mother. While at home, the death of Military Dictator General Ne Win sparked a political uprising that was violently suppressed by the Burmese army. Seeing the political turbulence around her, Suu Kyi started petitioning and giving speeches to promote the importance of democratic elections. When the National League for Democracy (NLD) was formed, Suu Kyi became the General Secretary of the party.

As her popularity with the people of Burma continued to grow, she had more and more run-ins with the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), the Military’s political party. Forbidden by SLORC to run for president, Suu Kyi took more and more risks to continue her political tour and promote her message of non-violent protest and civil disobedience. Finally, in July of 1989, Suu Kyi was placed under arrest, a prisoner in her own home.

For over fifteen years Suu Kyi lived under house arrest by a government that was afraid of the reform movement she was leading. Yesterday, for the first time in over 20 years, Suu Kyi recieved a passport. She will finally be able to fly to Norway to receive her Nobel Prize that she won in 1991.

-Clare

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