Thursday, 2 May 2013

Inspirational Woman #1 Aung San Suu Kyi

I am starting an Inspirational Women series on this blog and on Pintrest because women are great and sometimes we forget that and try to act like men, which we suck at.

I have admired Aung San Suu Kyi for a long time.  I remember watching the tv (probably in 1989) and thinking how beautiful she was. I loved the flowers in her hair and although i didn't understand the political situation (I was only 7) she stuck in my mind.

Aung San Suu Kyi was born in Burma in 1945.  Her father, Aung San was involved in founding the modern Burmese army and in negotiating Burma's independence from Great Britain in 1947.  Her mother, Khin Kyi was a prominent political figure and was appointed Ambassador to India and Nepal in 1960.  Aung San Suu Kyi went on to live in New Delhi, Oxford and New York and gained degrees in politics and philosophy, politics and economics.

She returned to Burma in 1988 to take care of her mother who was sick. Around the same time the long time military leader, General Ne Win, stepped down from power.  There were mass demonstrations calling for democracy but these were violently suppressed and a new military leader, Than Shwe, took control.  Aung San Suu Kyi called for a democratic government and entered politics to work for it.  On the 20th Sept 1989 she was placed under house arrest, though told she would be freed if she left the country.  She refused.

The government called a general election in 1990 but then refused to hand over power.  In 1991 she won the Nobel Peace prize though was unable to collect her award.  Aung San Suu Kyi remained under house arrest until July 1995.  After this her movements remained restricted.  Her husband died in England in 1999.  He had seen his wife only 5 times since 1989 when she was put under house arrest.  The last time had been in 1995.  In 2000 she was again placed under house arrest and released in 2002.  In 2003 she was detained after clashes between the National League for Democracy and Junta forces.  This lead to another period of house arrest.  She was finally freed in 2010.

While under house arrest Aung San Suu Kyi kept herself busy studying and exercising.  She meditated, worked on her French and Japanese language skills, and relaxed by playing Bach on the piano.At times she was able to meet other NLD officials and selected diplomats.  But during her early years of detention, she was often in solitary confinement. She was not allowed to see her two sons or her husband.

In April 2012 She stood for parliament for the first time and became leader of the the opposition.

Despite political oppression Aung San Suu Kyi remained an advocate that peaceful protests were the only way to gain democracy.  She is a remarkable woman.


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