Aung San Suu Kyi

Just to utter her name in Burma is a severe offense.

Aung San Suu Kyi

In Burma, she's known as "The Lady," plainly as "The Lady." Her father, the great General Aung San, sparked the advancement of the Burmese people to create a democratic government. Assassinated in 1947, he left behind unfinished goals and a family with the fighting spirit to fulfill those same dreams. By the time that Aung San Suu Kyi, for the first time since her family left their home country, revisited Burma, it was under one of the world's most oppressive governments. Inspired by her parents' pursuit, Suu Kyi has become a renowned figure to her people and people throughout the world.

On August 13, 2000, Dateline NBC aired "Beyond Rangoon: Life of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi," revealing to us the importance of this 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner. As strong believers in democracy ourselves, we cringe upon seeing the pictures of abuse and injustice in this country. There is no freedom of any kind--murmur "I want freedom" beneath your breath and fear to be imprisoned if caught. Children are deprived of their education. The sick are untreated. The military junta is "slaughtering civilians and jailing an estimated 1000 political prisoners" (NBC). But what is the Burmese government doing to change such a horrible scene? Nothing. Some agree that it is the government that created this setting. Rare photos of laborers in chains, barely able to stand upright, shared via the Internet, scream tyranny.

One of the few courageous enough to speak out and bring about change is Aung San Suu Kyi. Compared to as being a Ghandhi of Burma, she induced her people to peacefully let their needs be heard. But their peaceful demonstrations are silenced by military attacks--innocent blood flow like tears along the streets. Still, Suu Kyi does not give up. Constantly emphasizing peace and benevolence, she teaches Buddhist and Ghandhian principles and practices. She established the National League for Democracy (NLD) and is its general secretary. She continues to make public speeches in support of the democratic ideal. But her efforts are hindered by government restraints--Suu Kyi was released from house arrest in July of 1995, only to be put back a few months later, and is currently faced with the threat of political execution.

But no matter what will happen, Aung San Suu Kyi will be forever remembered as the symbol of courage and hope for her people.

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