Aung San Suu Kyi is one of the world’s most renown freedom fighters and advocates of nonviolence, having served as the figurehead for Burma’s struggle for democracy since 1988.
Born on June 19th, 1945 to Burma’s independence hero, Aung san, Aung San Suu Kyi was educated in Burma, India, and the United Kingdom. Her father was assassinated when she was only two years old.
In 1988, while living in London, she returned to Burma to nurse her dying mother,and was plunged into the country’s nationwide uprising that had just begun. Joining the newly-forming National League for Democracy political party, Suu Kyi gave numerous speeches calling for freedom and democracy.
The military regime responede to the uprising with brute force, shooting and otherwise killing up to 10,000 demonstrators student, women, children, and others-in a mater of months. Unable to maintain its grip on power, the regime was forced to call for a general election in 1990.
As Suu Kyi began to campaign for the NLD, she and many others were detained by the regime. Despite being held under house arrest, the NLD went on to win a staggering 82% of the seats in parliament. The regime never recognized the results.
Suu Kyi has been in and out of arrest ever since. She was held from 1989-1995, and again from 2000-2002. She was again arrested and placed behind bars in May 2003 after the Depayin massacre, during which up to 100 of her supporters were beaten to death by the regime’s cronies. She has moved from prison back into house arrest in late 2003 and has been held there ever since.
She has won numerous international awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize, Sakharov Prize from the European Parliament, United States Presidential Medal of Freedom, and Jawaharlal Nehru Award from India.
She has called on people around the world to join the struggle for freedom in Burma, saying “Please use your liberty to promote ours.”