Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi born in Rangoon, is a pro-democracy activist and leader of the National League for Democracy in Burma, and a noted prisoner of conscience and advocate of nonviolent resistance. Aung San Suu Kyi was the third child in her family. Her name is derived from three relatives; "Aung San" from her father, "Kyi" from her mother and "Suu" from her grandmother.[6] Suu Kyi won the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. In 1992 she was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru peace prize by the Government of India for her peaceful and non-violent struggle under a military dictatorship. She is currently under detention, with the Burmese junta repeatedly extending her detention. According to the results of the 1990 general election, Suu Kyi earned the right to be Prime Minister, as leader of the winning National League for Democracy party, but her detention by the military junta prevented her from assuming that role.

She is frequently called Daw Aung San Suu Kyi; Daw is not part of her name, but an honorific similar to madam for older, revered women, literally meaning "aunt".[7] Strictly speaking, she has only the one name, though it is acceptable to refer to her as "Ms. Suu Kyi" or Dr. Suu Kyi, since those syllables serve to distinguish her from her father, General Aung San, who is considered to be the father of modern-day Burma.

Aung San Suu Kyi was born on 19 June 1945. Her father, Aung San, was a general in the Burmese army and negotiated Burma's independence from the United Kingdom in 1947; he was assassinated by his rivals in the same year. She grew up with her mother, Khin Kyi, and two brothers, Aung San Lin and Aung San Oo in Yangon. Her favourite brother Aung San Lin drowned in a pool accident when Suu Kyi was eight.[6] Her elder brother migrated to San Diego, California, becoming a United States citizen.[6] Suu Kyi was educated in English Catholic schools for much of her childhood in Burma.

Khin Kyi (Ma Khin Kyi) gained prominence as a political figure in the newly-formed Burmese government. Khin Kyi was appointed as Burmese ambassador to India in 1960, and Aung San Suu Kyi followed her there, graduating from Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi in 1964.[8]

She continued her education at St Hugh's College, Oxford, obtaining a B.A. degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics in 1969 and a Ph.D. at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in 1985. She also worked for the government of the Union of Myanmar. In 1972, Aung San Suu Kyi married Dr. Michael Aris, a scholar of Tibetan culture, living abroad in Bhutan. The following year she gave birth to her first son, Alexander, in London; and in 1977 she had her second son, Kim.

She is a Theravada Buddhist.

In May 2, 2008, after Cyclone Nargis hit Burma, Suu Kyi lost her roof and was living in virtual darkness after she lost electricity in her dilapidated lakeside bungalow. She used candles at night because she did not have a generator.

Aung San Suu Kyi returned to Burma in 1988 to take care of her ailing mother. By coincidence, in that year, the long-time leader of the socialist ruling party, General heh Ne Win, stepped down, leading to mass demonstrations for democratization on August 8, 1988 (8-8-88, a day seen as auspicious), which were violently suppressed. A new military junta took power.

Influenced by both Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy of non-violence[10][11] and by more specifically Buddhist concepts,[12] Aung San Suu Kyi entered politics to work for democratisation, helped found the National League for Democracy on 27 September 1988, and was put under house arrest on 20 July 1989. She was offered freedom if she left the country, but she refused.

One of her most famous speeches is the "Freedom From Fear" speech, which begins:“ It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.

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