Aung San Suu Kyi

Like the South African leader Nelson Mandela before her, Aung San Suu Kyi, has come to be seen internationally as a symbol of heroic and peaceful resistance in the face of oppression in her struggle for democracy in Myanmar.

Aung San Suu Kyi first came to prominence when she returned to Myanmar in August 1988, with her husband and their two sons remaining in Britain.  She led a political movement to bring democracy to Myanmar and succeeded to win an overwhelming majority of 82% in national elections in 1990, after which she was put under house arrest for a year.  The military regime refused to relinquished power and still rules to this day.

She was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1991, while still under house arrest. During her house arrest,  Suu Kyi was encouraged by the military regime  to leave Myanmar but she refused opting instead to continue the struggle from within the country.  Her decision was personally heavy as her husband died of a long illness in the UK while she was under house arrest and her children have not seen her face-to-face since.

Asked recently by the BBC about the personal sacrifices she made for the cause of democracy,  Aung San Suu Kyi replied, ‘ I did not make sacrifices, I made decisions. I had options and choose.’

Asked once how can one person convince others to change.  She said

‘I think you could start by convincing a friend. You have to start with the first step, and there are many ways of starting. ……………… It’s an old-fashioned thing to say, but I think it is still valid to say, “Where there is a will, there is a way.”  Every movement, ultimately, was started by one person. ‘

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