Struggles: Freedom

Staring Down Fear

In 1988, she returned to Burma just to take care of her dying mother, but soon found herself deeply involved in Burmese politics. That same years students held mass demonstrations to protest the government. Many of the students carried through the streets portraits of her martyred father, the great independence fighter, Aung San. There is no doubt that such displays must have touched her deeply.

In 1988, the National League for Democracy was found, and Aung San Suu Kyi became General Secretary of Burma's best-organized and largest opposition party to the government. In 1989, prior to the 1990 elections, she defied campaigns bans instituted by the government. She also defied government assembly laws by holding mass rallies. In these rallies, she courageously denounced the regime and called for a democratization of the entire country.

During one famous incident, a squad of soldiers was ordered to fire upon her during a peaceful demonstration conducted by her party. Aung San Suu Kyi calmly ignored the orders to halt. Smiling peacefully and silently, she walked up to the gun barrel of a soldier. She stared at the soldier, whose gun was now visibly shaking. But the the soldier did not dare to open fire on this beautiful woman before him. An officer finally came and ordered the soldiers to leave. (Watch a video clip from Beyond Rangoon, which re-enacts this incident. 137 K. Quicktime Required)

Elected Leader of Burma

Photographs: In 1989, Aung San Suu Kyi defies the government by holding campaign rallies. Source:Freedom from Fear.

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