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Aung San Suu Kyi, the voice of nonviolence

Burmese politician and Nobel Peace Prize winner who has committed herself to bring freedom to her country, Myanmar. Here is her story. The Lady, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Born in 1945, daughter of general Aung San, the National hero who negotiated Burma’s independence from the British Empire, and of Ma Khin Kyi, ex-ambassador to India, Aung San Suu Kyi’s story begins with a phone call in an evening of March 1988 while she was at home in Oxford. When she hangs up, her fate is sealed: her mother is ailing and she has to go back to Rangoon to tend her.

In her country, that since 1962 is under the yoke of military dictatorship, Aung San Suu Kyi she sees terrible things happening. In a little time she becomes leader of the democratic movement that stands up for freedom and against the violation of human rights.

In 1990 she is a candidate with her party for the opposition, the National League for Democracy, and despite the army’s violence, threats and election riggings, “The Lady”, as she is called by her supporters, wins the elections. However, the military junta invalidates the verdict and Aung San Suu Kyi is detained under house arrest at her home in Rangoon, during which time she was prevented from meeting her party supporters.

For all the time she is deprived of freedom the Burmese dissident’s tireless and brave actions draw the attention of Western countries.

In 1991 she is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her non-violent struggle, but she can’t leave Burma to collect it. One of her two sons accepts it on her behalf. She tries to escape military control twice but she is stopped a few kilometres away from the capital. To protest, she locks herself into the car for nine days, before deciding to go back home.

In 1999 her husband Michael Aris, scholar of Tibetan literature, dies of cancer without being able to see her and she doesn’t leave her country, being afraid not to be able to come back. On 6th May 2002, as a result of the strong pressure of the world’s public opinion, the support of the Burmese population, and secret confidence-building negotiations led by the UN, Aung San Suu Kyi is released. Finally free to move, her commitment to democracy and human rights continues with her struggles against deportation and ethnic cleansing by the army, but, most of all, against the opposition to tourism to Burma and drug trafficking, which was completely in the hands of the generals.

On 30th May 2003, in north Myanmar, i.e. ex Burma, during a political meeting of the leader of the opposition, a government-sponsored mob of policemen murders a hundred of people and arrest her. During the assault many women are raped.

Translated by

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