Do you know who’s at the door, today?
Yes, one of the most powerful women, Aung San Suu Kyi!
Aung San Suu Kyi was born on 19 June 1945 in Yangon. Her father Aung San, who was the prime minister of Burma when it was under the control of British by that time, was assasinated by the rivals in 1945. Her mother, Khin Kyi, was appointed as the Burmese Ambassador to India and Nepal in 1960. Suu Kyi obtained a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oxford in 1969. She married Aris in 1972 and had two children.
In 1988, Suu Kyi returned from Burma and was shocked to see the iron-fisted rule of the dictator U Ne Win. He had resigned his post of party chairman and had handed over the country to military Junta. Yet, he was secretly behind every action in the country. She began protesting him for democracy and to preserve human rights. The Union of Myanmar, the military government of Burma, identified her and placed her under house arrest, cutting off all the communications she had with the outside world. They gave her an opportunity to be free, if she agreed to leave the country. But, she bravely turned it down, insisting on the release of the country from the Junta government.
In 1990, a parliamentary election was held and the National League for Democracy (NLD), with which Suu Kyi was associated, won more than 80% of the parliamentary seats. But, the Junta government blindly ignored the results. In 1995, Suu Kyi was released from the house arrest and she boldly continued her support for the NLD. She founded a representative committee, three years later, and proclaimed that it is the country’s legitimate ruling body. For her actions, she was once again kept in house arrest from September 2000 to May 2002.
In 2003, the NLD protested the government in the streets and Suu Kyi was again kept in house arrest, this time renewing her sentence every year. In May 2009, when she was about to be released, she was accused with the crime of allowing an intruder into her home and hence her sentence continued. The Myanmar government placed new rules for election, in fear that Suu Kyi would participate in the elections. One of the laws was that convicted criminals are not allowed to participate in elections and another law that barred anyone who has got married to a foreign national (as her husband was an English).
In support of Suu Kyi, the NLD refused to register for the elections and hence the government won it without any opposition. Six days later when she was released, the NLD re-registered as a political party. In January 2012, she registered for a seat in parliament and successfully won it on April 1, 2012.
She has won a number of awards including the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1991. Aung San Suu Kyi was no normal person. She didn’t have much chance to live a normal life, as most of her lifetime had been in a house arrest. There are so many things, we could learn from her – Boldness, Determination and Perseverance. A woman, really, can do anything!
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