Monday, September 24, 2007

Aung San Suu Kyi

Suu Kyi (pronounced "soo chi") is the daughter of the man who negotiated Burma's independence from the U.K. in 1947. He was assassinated shortly after the negotiations by one of his rivals. Suu Kyi was just two years old at the time. Despite the tragedy, her mother gained prominence in the new government. As a result, Suu Kyi received a top-notch education including university degrees in philosophy, politics and economics. Her family is revered in Burmese society. They have a, sort of, first-family type of respect because of the work of her parents.

She lived abroad until 1988, when her mother became ill. 1988 proved to be a pivotal year in Burma. The ruling socialist party fell apart and the military rose to power quelling the growing desire for a democratic Burma. Suu Kyi formed the National League for Democracy in response to the despotic military junta. The generals in charge saw her as a threat and placed her under house arrest on July 20th, 1989. She has spent most of the time since then imprisoned in her home. The junta's leadership is willing to release her if she will leave Burma and never return, she has refused to comply.

In 1991, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Her sons accepted the prize on her behalf. She took the $1.3 million prize money and started a health and education trust for the Burmese people.

This past month has seen the most concerted effort in 20 years to overthrow the military rule. If the resistance prevails, Suu Kyi is sure to be the leader of a free and democratic Burma.

I think British Prime Minister Gordon Brown sums it up best:
"So Suu Kyi's courage is the courage to sacrifice her own happiness and a comfortable life so that, through her struggle, she might win the right of an entire nation to seek happy and comfortable lives. It is the absolute expression of selflessness. Paradoxically, in sacrificing her own liberty, she strengthens its cry and bolsters its claim for the people she represents."


Anonymous said...

Hey David, this is Chris Giblin. I've been trying to get your email, but I can't find it anywhere! I hope you're doing well in Taiwan. I have a big email coming your way, so if you could send it to that would be great! Hope to hear from ya!

Anonymous said...

hey david, this the best summed up story of soo kyi ever thnx its helpin me a lot in my project
luv arshiya{u dont noe me}

David said...

Thanks Arshiya. It's a situation i care deeply about. I don't think there is much chance of success for her and those fighting for freedom, but I remain hopeful.