Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Who is Aung San Suu Kyi, ‘The Lady of No Fear’?

by Layla Link

Aung San Suu Kyi is a Burmese social democratic stateswoman, politician, diplomat and author who serves as the First State Counsellor and Leader of the National League for Democracy. She was born in Yangon, Burma, in 1945. After years of living and studying abroad at Oxford University,England, she returned home to find widespread slaughter of protesters rallying against the brutal rule of dictator  Ne Win.

Ne Win was a brutal dictator. After leading a government from 1958 to 1960, Ne Win deposed Prime Minister Nu two years later with the help of the army, declaring both martial law, which involves a military government suspending ordinary law, and he claimed that: “Parliamentary democracy was not suitable for Burma.”  Ne Win was also prone to violent rages; throwing an ashtray at one wifes throat, assaulting an underling he believed was flirting with his wife, and personally breaking up a Christmas Eve party held by foreign diplomats and tearing a womans dress as he shoved her to the floor.

Suu Kyi bravely spoke out against him and initiated a nonviolent movement toward achieving democracy and human rights. However, in 1989, the government placed Suu Kyi under house arrest, and she spent 15 of the next 21 years in custody. She was finally released from house arrest in November 2010 and subsequently held a seat in parliament for the National League for Democracy party until 2015. That November, the NLD won a landslide victory, giving them a majority control of parliament and allowing them to select the country's next president. In April 2016 Suu Kyi was named the state counsellor of Burma, a position above the presidency that allows her to direct the country's affairs.

Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. This was awarded for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights. Suu Kyi is an inspiration to all women as she challenged dictatorship with grace and suffered fifteen years imprisoned in house arrest. Although under house arrest, Suu Kyi was granted permission to leave Burma under the condition that she never return. Rather than abandon her people, Suu Kyi submitted to house arrest and decided to sacrifice a life with her husband and her two young sons, in order to stand by her people: "As a mother, the greater sacrifice was giving up my sons, but I was always aware of the fact that others had given up more than me.” Suu Kyi is a living example that women can be both giving and powerful and inspires many young girls in dictated countries.

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