Aung San Suu Kyi

By: Mick Yates

On May 30 2003, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, international symbol of peace, was taken into "protective custody" in Myanmar, after violence had threatened her - no one is sure who started it. She was released only last year from a long spell of house arrest, enabling her at last to travel the country and raise hopes of peace. Her latest detention has drawn huge criticism and threats of sanctions from around the world.

During her long period of detention, she was offered the opportunity to visit the UK for her husband's funeral, but chose to remain under house-arrest, rather than risk being refused re- entry into Myanmar.

The winner of both the Nobel peace prize and the Sakharov Prize, neither of which she was able to receive personally, Suu Kyi has been inspired by the non-violent resistance of Mohandas Ghandi and Martin Luther King. She has consistently called for democratic reform.

The military junta seized power in 1988. Her party, the National League for Democracy, won national elections in 1990, while she was still under house arrest, but the junta refused to recognise the results. Suu Kyi's "protective custody", remains unresolved despite intervention from the UN.

She is a leader of immense personal courage, whose work is not yet over.

Zoë Williams

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Read THE VOICE OF HOPE - by Aung San Suu Kyi, Alan Clements (1998)

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