The Aung San Syuu Kyi History
Dr IWAN SUWANDY,MHA
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THE AUNG SAN HISTORY COLLECTION
Statue of Aung San on the northern shore of Kandawgyi Lake in Yangon
|Born||13 February 1915
Natmauk, Magwe, British Burma
|Died||19 July 1947 (aged 32)
Rangoon, British Burma
|Allegiance||Burma National Army
Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League
Communist Party of Burma
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|History of Burma|
Bogyoke (General) Aung San (Burmese: အောင်ဆန်း; MLCTS: buil hkyup aung hcan:, pronounced [bòdʑoʊʔ àʊɴ sʰáɴ]); 13 February 1915 – 19 July 1947) was a Burmese revolutionary, nationalist, and founder of the modern Burmese army (Tatmadaw), and considered to be the Father of (modern-day) Burma.
He was a founder of the Communist Party of Burma and was instrumental in bringing about Burma’s independence from British colonial rule in Burma, but was assassinated six months before its final achievement. He is recognized as the leading architect of independence, and the founder of the Union of Burma. Affectionately known as “Bogyoke” (General), Aung San is still widely admired by the Burmese people, and his name is still invoked in Burmese politics to this day.
Aung San was born to U Pha, a lawyer, and his wife Daw Suu in Natmauk, Magway District, in central Burma on 13 February 1915. His family was already well known in the Burmese resistance movement; his great uncle Bo Min Yaung fought against the British annexation of Burma in 1886.
Aung San received his primary education at a Buddhist monastic school in Natmauk, and secondary education at Yenangyaung High School. He went to
Rangoon University (now the University of Yangon) and received a B.A. degree in English Literature, Modern History, and Political Science in 1938.
Names of Aung San
- Name at birth: Htein Lin (ထိန်လင်း)
- As student leader and a thakin: Aung San (သခင်အောင်ဆန်း)
- Nom de guerre: Bo Tayza (ဗိုလ်တေဇ)
- Japanese Name: Omoda Monji (面田紋次)
- Chinese Name: Tan Lu Sho
- Resistance period code name: Myo Aung (မျိုးအောင်), U Naung Cho (ဦးနောင်ချို)
- Contact code name with General Ne Win: Ko Set Pe (ကိုစက်ဖေ)
Struggle for independence
After Aung San entered Rangoon University in 1933, he quickly became a student leader. He was elected to the executive committee of the Rangoon University Students’ Union (RUSU). He then became editor of their magazine Oway (Peacock’s Call).
In February 1936, he was threatened with expulsion from the university, along with U Nu, for refusing to reveal the name of the author of the article Hell Hound At Large, which criticized a senior University official. This led to the Second University Students’ Strike and the university authorities subsequently retracted their expulsion orders. In 1938, Aung San was elected president of both the Rangoon University Student Union (RUSU) and the All-Burma Students Union (ABSU), formed after the strike spread to Mandalay. In the same year, the government appointed him as a student representative on the Rangoon University Act Amendment Committee.
In October 1938, Aung San left his law classes and entered national politics. At this point, he was anti-British, and staunchly anti-imperialist. He became a Thakin (lord or master – a politically motivated title that proclaimed that the Burmese people were the true masters of their country, not the colonial rulers who had usurped the title for their exclusive use) when he joined the Dobama Asiayone (Our Burma Union), and acted as their general secretary until August 1940. While in this role, he helped organize a series of countrywide strikes that became known as ME 1300 Revolution (၁၃၀၀ ပြည့် အရေးတော်ပုံ, Htaung thoun ya byei ayeidawbon), named after the Burmese calendar year.
He also helped found another nationalist organization, the Freedom Bloc (ဗမာ့ထွက်ရပ်ဂိုဏ်း, Bama-htwet-yat Gaing), by forming an alliance between the Dobama, the ABSU, politically active monks and Dr Ba Maw‘s Sinyètha (Poor Man’s) Party, and became its general secretary. What remains relatively unknown is the fact that he also became a founder member and first secretary-general of the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) in August 1939. Shortly afterwards he co-founded the People’s Revolutionary Party, renamed the Socialist Party after the Second World War. In March 1940, he attended the Indian National Congress Assembly in Ramgarh, India. However, the government issued a warrant for his arrest due to Thakin attempts to organize a revolt against the British and he had to flee Burma. He went first to China, seeking assistance from the government there (China was still under nationalist government during World War II), but he was intercepted by the Japanese military occupiers in Amoy, and was convinced by them to go to Japan instead.
World War II period
Whilst Aung San was in Japan, the Blue Print for a Free Burma, which has been widely but mistakenly attributed to him, was drafted. In February 1941, Aung San returned to Burma, with an offer of arms and financial support from the Fumimaro Konoe government. He returned briefly to Japan to receive more military training, along with the first batch of young revolutionaries who came to be known as the Thirty Comrades. On 26 December 1941, with the help of the Minami Kikan, a secret intelligence unit formed to close the Burma Road and to support a national uprising and headed by Colonel Suzuki, he founded the Burma Independence Army (BIA) in Bangkok, Thailand (which was aligned with Japan for most of World War II).
The former capital of Burma, Rangoon (now Yangon), fell to the Japanese in March 1942 (as part of the Burma Campaign in World War II). The BIA formed an administration for the country under Thakin Tun Oke that operated in parallel with the Japanese military administration until the Japanese disbanded it. In July, the disbanded BIA was re-formed as the Burma Defense Army (BDA). Aung San was made a colonel and put in charge of the force. He was later invited to Japan, and was presented with the Order of the Rising Sun by the Emperor.
On 1 August 1943, the Japanese declared Burma to be an independent nation. Aung San was appointed War Minister, and the army was again renamed, this time as the Burma National Army (BNA). Aung San became skeptical of Japanese promises of true independence and of Japan’s ability to win the war. He made plans to organize an uprising in Burma and made contact with the British authorities in India, in cooperation with Communist leaders Thakin Than Tun and Thakin Soe. On 27 March 1945, he led the BNA in a revolt against the Japanese occupiers and helped the Allies defeat the Japanese. 27 March came to be commemorated as ‘Resistance Day’ until the military regime later renamed it ‘Tatmadaw (Armed Forces) Day’.
Post-World War II
After the return of the British, who had established a military administration, the Anti-Fascist Organisation (AFO), formed in August 1944, was transformed into a united front, comprising the BNA, the Communists and the Socialists, and renamed the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League (AFPFL). The Burma National Army was renamed the Patriotic Burmese Forces (PBF) and then gradually disarmed by the British as the Japanese were driven out of various parts of the country. The Patriotic Burmese Forces, while disbanded, were offered positions in the Burma Army under British command according to the Kandy conference agreement with Lord Louis Mountbatten in Ceylon in September 1945. Aung San was offered the rank of Deputy Inspector General of the Burma Army, but he declined it in favor of becoming a civilian political leader and the military leader of the Pyithu yèbaw tat (People’s Volunteer Organisation or PVO).
In January 1946, Aung San became the President of the AFPFL following the return of civil government to Burma the previous October. In September, he was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Executive Council of Burma by the new British Governor Sir Hubert Rance, and was made responsible for defence and external affairs. Rance and Mountbatten took a very different view from the former British Governor, Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith, and also Winston Churchill, who had called Aung San a ‘traitor rebel leader’. A rift had already developed inside the AFPFL between the Communists and Aung San, leading the nationalists and Socialists, which came to a head when Aung San and others accepted seats on the Executive Council, culminating in the expulsion of Thakin Than Tun and the CPB from the AFPFL.
Aung San was to all intents and purposes Prime Minister, although he was still subject to a British veto. On 27 January 1947, Aung San and the British Prime Minister Clement Attlee signed an agreement in London guaranteeing Burma’s independence within a year; Aung San had been responsible for its negotiation. During the stopover in Delhi at a press conference, he stated that the Burmese wanted ‘complete independence’ not dominion status and that they had ‘no inhibitions of any kind’ about ‘contemplating a violent or non-violent struggle or both’ in order to achieve this, and concluded that he hoped for the best but he was prepared for the worst.
Two weeks after the signing of the agreement with Britain, Aung San signed an agreement at the Panglong Conference on 12 February 1947 with leaders from other national groups, expressing solidarity and support for a united Burma. Karen representatives played a relatively minor role in the conference and, as subsequent rebellions revealed, remained alienated from the new state. U Aung Zan Wai, U Pe Khin, Major Aung, Sir Maung Gyi and Dr. Sein Mya Maung and Myoma U Than Kywe were among the negotiators of the historical Panglong Conference negotiated with Bamar representative General Aung San and other ethnic leaders in 1947. All these leaders unanimously decided to join the Union of Burma.
In general elections held in April 1947, the AFPFL won 176 out of 210 seats in the election for a Constituent Assembly, while the Karens won 24, the Communists 6 and Anglo-Burmans winning 4. In July, Aung San convened a series of conferences at Sorrenta Villa in Rangoon to discuss the rehabilitation of Burma.
On 19 July 1947, a gang of armed paramilitaries of former
broke into the Secretariat Building in downtown Rangoon during a meeting of the Executive Council (the shadow government established by the British in preparation for the transfer of power) and assassinated Aung San and six of his cabinet ministers, including his older brother Ba Win, father of Sein Win leader of the government-in-exile, the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB). A cabinet secretary and a bodyguard were also killed. U Saw was subsequently tried and hanged. During his trial a number of middle-ranking British army officers were implicated in the plot; they also were tried and imprisoned. Rumours of higher-level British involvement, and/or involvement by Ne Win, Aung San’s long-term rival for leadership within the AFPFL, are unproven and probably unfounded.
General Aung San, the leader of Burma’s independence movement, was assassinated on 19 July 1947. Burma’s first constitution was established in 1948. Therefore Mr Yeo’s incoherent comments were completely incorrect. The Burmese military did not rule the country “since independence”, as Mr Yeo said.
Chronologically, Burma was a fully democratic republic from 1948 to 1962. On 4 January 1948, the nation became an independent republic, named the Union of Burma, with Sao Shwe Thaik as its first President and U Nu as its first Prime Minister.
Why does Mr Yeo owe an apology to Aung San Suu Kyi? Mr Yeo said “that it was also General Aung San who created the rule that a Burmese who married a foreigner cannot rule the country and that now Aung San Suu Kyi is married to a foreigner.”
Mr Yeo is thoroughly mistaken.
The 1948 Constitution stated: “No person shall be eligible for election to the office of President unless he is a citizen of the Union who was, or both of whose parents were, born in any of the territories included within the Union.” Aung San Suu Kyi’s parents were both Burmese. She was born in Burma and she is still a Burmese citizen. Therefore she can be President of Burma, as stated in the Consitution.
Mr Yeo’s comment is thus a great insult to Aung San Suu Kyi and her family. Also, Mr Yeo, who is Singapore’s Foreign Minister, has insulted over 52 million Burmese who hold the highest respect for General Aung San.
As Burma’s first constitution was established only in 1948, after General Aung San had been murdered, it is impossible for General Aung San to create a rule to ban any Burmese who married a foreigner from ruling the country . The military junta only introduced the rule in 2008, deliberately aimed at preventing Aung San Suu Kyi’s participation in the 2010 elections.
Mr Yeo would have Burmese adhere to the Constitution which was first suspended when General Ne Win came to power through a coup, and which was later amended by the junta for political purposes. Equally, should not Mr Yeo be demanding that the Burmese junta adhere to the results of the 1990 elections which Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD won overwhelmingly?
Mr Yeo’s comments, which shows his ignorance of Burmese history, has added fuel to the fire, especially at a time when Aung San Suu Kyi is in a politically-motivated mock trial for breaking the conditions of her house arrest. The charges were laid after an American man paid an uninvited visit to her home. It is widely expected she will end up in jail. The verdict of her trial is expected to be delivered on Friday.
Mr Yeo said: “It was because her husband is a foreigner and from the ‘western world’ that the ‘western world’ has come to support Aung San Suu Kyi and have failed to recognise the rule of the military”.
In 1972, Aung San Suu Kyi married Dr Michael Aris, a scholar of Tibetan culture, in Bhutan. The following year she gave birth to their first son, Alexander Aris, in London; their second son, Kim, was born in 1977. Following this, she earned a Ph.D. at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in 1985.
Mr Yeo denigrated not only Aung San Suu Kyi’s personal life , his comments also cast aspersions on her family and her supporters. Mr Yeo’s labeling of Dr Aris as someone from the ‘western world” shows his lack of sympathy for Aung San Suu Kyi, her husband and their children.
Dr Aris died of cancer on his 53 birthday on March 27 1999. He had requested to see his wife one last time in Burma but his request was denied by the military junta.
The fact that the ‘western world’ supports Aung San Suu Kyi has nothing to do with her husband being a foreigner . The support for the Burmese cause and for Aung San Suu Kyi comes from all parts of the world, including Asean countries.
Mr Yeo added that “the problem in Burma is actually a very deep family dispute and the road to democracy for Burma is long and that the elections next year is but a small step towards that goal.”
Burma’s political imbroglio is created by neither Aung San Suu Kyi nor her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) . The NLD had won a landslide victory in the 1990 elections organised by the military junta which, till today, has refused to hand power over to the NLD. Burma’s problems are created by the military regime itself such as forcing millions of ethnic minorities to flee to neighboring countries, ignoring humanitarian aid to cyclone Nargis’ victims and killing monks and protesters. The military regime imprisons thousands of political prisoners. News are now emerging that the regime is also seeking to build nuclear reactors with help from North Korea.
Mr Yeo said that “ASEAN has worked well in keeping the peace in this region, in subjecting the member nations to peer pressure and in trying to forge economic integration.”
Ironically, Mr Yeo’s statement is contradicted by Singapore’s Senior Minister, Mr Goh Chok Tong, who had said that “Singapore investors will likely wait until after Myanmar’s elections next year before pouring any more money into the country”. His comment came at the end of a four-day trip to Burma in June where he met with Burma’s top generals, including Senior Gen Than Shwe.
To conclude, Singapore’s Foreign Minister insulted Aung San Suu Kyi, her husband Dr Michael Aris and Burma’s independence leader, General Aung San.
Given the fact that Mr Yeo has gotten his facts wrong, Does he not owe Aung San Suu Kyi – and the Burmese people – an apology?
John Moe is a Burmese pro-democracy activist who had lived and worked in Singapore for eleven years. He was expelled from Singapore for his involvement in a protest in Singapore in 2007. John can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
While he was War Minister in 1942, Aung San met and married Khin Kyi, and around the same time her sister met and married Thakin Than Tun, the Communist leader. Aung San and Khin Kyi had four children. Their youngest surviving child, Aung San Suu Kyi, is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and leader of the Burmese Opposition, the National League for Democracy (NLD), and was until 13 November 2010, held under house arrest by the military regime. Their second son, Aung San Lin, died at age eight, when he drowned in an ornamental lake in the grounds of the house. The elder, Aung San Oo, is an engineer working in the United States and has disagreed with his sister’s political activities. Their youngest daughter, Aung San Chit, born in September 1946, died a few days after her birth. Aung San’s wife Daw Khin Kyi died on 27 December 1988.
His place in history as the Architect of Burmese Independence and a national hero is assured both from his own legacy and due to the activities of his daughter. Aung San Suu Kyi was only two when her father died. A martyrs’ mausoleum was built at the foot of the Shwedagon Pagoda and 19 July was designated Martyr’s Day (Azani nei), a public holiday. His literary work entitled “Burma’s Challenge” was likewise popular.
Aung San’s name had been invoked by successive Burmese governments since independence until the military regime in the 1990s tried to eradicate all traces of Aung San’s memory. Nevertheless, several statues of him adorn the former capital Yangon and his portrait still has pride of place in many homes and offices throughout the country. Scott Market, Yangon’s most famous, was renamed Bogyoke Market in his memory, and Commissioner Road was retitled Bogyoke Aung San Road after independence. These names have been retained. Many towns and cities in Burma have thoroughfares and parks named after him. His portrait was held up everywhere during the 8888 Uprising in 1988 and used as a rallying point. Following the 8888 Uprising, the government redesigned the national currency, the kyat, removing his picture and replacing it with scenes of Burmese life.
- ^ Maung Maung (1962). Aung San of Burma. The Hauge: Martinus Nijhoff for Yale University. pp. 22, 23.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Martin Smith (1991). Burma – Insurgency and the Politics of Ethnicity. London and New Jersey: Zed Books. pp. 90, 54, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 65, 69, 66, 68, 62–63, 65, 77, 78, 6.
- ^ a b c d e f g Aung San Suu Kyi (1984). Aung San of Burma. Edinburgh: Kiscadale 1991. pp. 1, 10, 14, 17, 20, 22, 26, 27, 41, 44.
- ^ Stewart, Whitney. (1997). Aung San Suu Kyi: fearless voice of Burma. Twenty-First Century Books. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-8225-4931-4
- ^ Gustaaf Houtman, In Kei Nemoto (ed) – Reconsidering the Japanese military occupation in Burma (1942–45) (30 May 2007). “Aung San’s lan-zin, the Blue Print and the Japanese Occupation of Burma”. Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA), Tokyo: Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. ISBN978-4-87297. pp. 179–227. http://ghoutman.googlepages.com/houtmanAung-sanslan-zintheblueprinta.pdf.
- ^ “The Panglong Agreement, 1947”. Online Burma/Myanmar Library. http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/panglong_agreement.htm.
- ^ Appleton, G. (1947). “Burma Two Years After Liberation”. International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944–) (Blackwell Publishing) 23 (4): 510–521. JSTOR 3016561.
- ^ Kin Oung, “Who killed Aung San?” (Bangkok: White Lotus, 1993)
- ^ Wintle, Justin (2007). Perfect hostage: a life of Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s prisoner of conscience. Skyhorse Publishing. p. 143. ISBN 9781602392663
Books on Burma
|Letters from Burma by Aung San Suu Kyi|
|“In these fifty-two pieces, originally written for a Japanese newspaper and begun soon after her release from house arrest, she paints a vivid, poignant yet fundamentally optimistic picture of her native land.These letters were awarded the prestigious Japanese Newspaper Association’s Award for 1996. They are illustrated with pencil drawings by the Burmese artist Heinn Htet. ” ~ Penguin Books|
|The Voice of Hope by Aung San Suu Kyi and Alan Clements|
|“The Voice of Hope is a rare and intimate journey to the heart of her struggle. Over a period of nine months, Alan Clements, the first American ordained as a Buddhist monk in Burma, met with Aung San Suu Kyi shortly after her release from her first house arrest in July 1995. With her trademark ability to speak directly and compellingly, she presents here her vision of engaged compassion and describes how she has managed to sustain her hope and optimism.” ~ Barnes and Nobel|
|Freedom from Fear by Aung San Suu Kyi|
|“This collection of writings, now revised with substantial new material, including the text of the Nobel Peace Prize speech delivered by her son, reflects Aung San Suu Kyi’s greatest hopes and fears for her people and her concern about the need for international cooperation, and gives poignant and humorous reminiscences as well as independent assessments of her role in politics.” ~ Barnes and Noble|
|Undaunted: My Struggle For Freedom and Survival in Burma by Zoya Phan|
|Named for a courageous Russian freedom fighter of World War II, Zoya Phan was born in the remote jungles of Burma to the Karen ethnic group, who since the 1960’s has struggled for freedom and democracy against the brutal Burmese military dictatorship. Even though her family constantly lived in hiding, her parents educated her and her siblings to understand the importance of resisting the repressive, to hold their dreams of living in a free society, and to survive myriad relentless attacks.|
|Burma: Insurgency and the Politics of Ethnicity by Martin Smith|
|With unparalleled command of largely inaccessible Burmese sources and interviews with many of the leading participants, Martin Smith charts the rise of modern political parties and unravels the complexities of the long-running insurgencies waged by opposition groups, including the Communist Party of Burma, the Karen National Union and a host of other ethnic nationalist movements. In this revised and updated edition, the author vividly explains how one of the most fertile and potentially prosperous countries in Asia has collapsed to become one of the world’s poorest.|
|Than Shwe: Unmasking Burma’s Tyrant by Benedict Rogers – coming soon|
|Than Shwe is one of the world’s most brutal dictators, presiding over a military regime that persists in repressing and brutalizing its own people. Until now, his story has not been told. Than Shwe: Unmasking Burma’s Tyrant provides the first-ever account of Than Shwe’s journey from postal clerk to dictator, analyzing his rise through the ranks of the army, his training in psychological warfare, his belief in astrology, his elimination of rivals, and his ruthless suppression of dissent.|
|The Lizard Cage by Karen Connelly|
|In her long-awaited first novel, Karen Connelly recreates the world of a Burmese prison, and of the country’s tumultuous years in the late 1980’s, when millions of people rose up to protest against the brutality of their military government. This is a story of human resilience, love and humour — a potent act of empathy and witness.|
|The Iron Road by James Mawdsley|
|Twenty-eight-year-old James Mawdsley spent much of the past four years in grim Burmese prisons. The Iron Road is his story, and the story of the regime that jailed him, the way it jails, tortures, and kills hundreds of Burmese each day. Mawdsley was working in New Zealand when he learned about the struggle of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese Nobel laureate who is under house arrest. Outraged, he went to Burma, staged a one-man protest, and was jailed.|
|From the Land of Green Ghosts: A Burmese Odssey by Pascal Khoo Thwe|
|Pascal, a member of the Kayan Padaung tribe, was the first member of his community to study English at a university. Within months of his meeting with Dr. Casey, Pascal’s world lay in ruins. Burma’s military dictatorship forces him to sacrifice his studies, and the regime’s brutal armed forces murder his lover. Fleeing to the jungle, he becomes a guerrilla fighter in the life-or-death struggle against the government. In desperation, he writes a letter to the Englishman he met in Mandalay.
From the Land of Green Ghosts unforgettably evokes the realities of life in modern-day Burma and one man’s long journey to freedom despite almost unimaginable odds
THE AUNG SAN SYUU KYI HISTORY COLLECTIONS
Aung San Suu Kyi
|Aung San Suu Kyi
|Leader of the National League for Democracy|
27 September 1988
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Born||(1945-06-19) 19 June 1945 (age 66)
Rangoon, British Burma
|Political party||National League for Democracy|
|Spouse(s)||Michael Aris (1972–1999)|
|Alma mater||University of Delhi
St Hugh’s College, Oxford
University of London
Nobel Peace Prize
Jawaharlal Nehru Award
International Simón Bolívar Prize
Olof Palme Prize
Aung San Suu Kyi, AC (Burmese: အောင်ဆန်းစုကြည်; MLCTS: aung hcan: cu. krany, Burmese pronunciation: [ʔàʊɴ sʰáɴ sṵ tɕì]; born 19 June 1945) is a Burmese opposition politician and the General Secretary of the National League for Democracy. In the 1990 general election, her National League for Democracy party won 59% of the national votes and 81% (392 of 485) of the seats in Parliament. She had, however, already been detained under house arrest before the elections. She remained under house arrest in Burma for almost 15 of the 21 years from 20 July 1989 until her most recent release on 13 November 2010, becoming one of the world’s most prominent (now former) political prisoners.
Suu Kyi received the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. In 1992 she was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding by the government of India and the International Simón Bolívar Prize from the government of Venezuela. In 2007, the Government of Canada made her an honorary citizen of that country, one of only five people ever to receive the honor. In 2011, she was awarded the Wallenberg Medal.
On 1 April 2012, her opposition party, the National League for Democracy, announced that she was elected to the Pyithu Hluttaw, the lower house of the Burmese parliament, representing the constituency of Kawhmu, when the party claimed to have swept the election in a landslide victory; however, the election results must be confirmed by the official electoral commission which has yet to release any outcome, and may not make an official declaration for days.
Suu Kyi is the third child and only daughter of Aung San, considered to be the father of modern-day Burma.
Aung San Suu Kyi derives her name from three relatives: “Aung San” from her father, “Suu” from her paternal grandmother and “Kyi” from her mother Khin Kyi. She is frequently called Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Daw is not part of her name, but is an honorific, similar to madame, for older, revered women, literally meaning “aunt.” She is also often referred to as Daw Suu by the Burmese (or Amay Suu, lit. “Mother Suu,” by some followers), or “Aunty Suu”, and as Dr. Suu Kyi, Ms. Suu Kyi, or Mrs. Suu Kyi by the foreign media. However, like other Burmese, she has no surname (see Burmese names). The pronunciation of her name is approximated as “Awn Sahn Sue Chee,” although the “ch” in “Chee” is unaspirated.
 Personal life
|Part of a series on the|
|Democracy movements in Burma|
The fighting peacock flag
|Internal conflict in Burma|
|Burmese Way to Socialism|
|State Peace and Development Council|
|8888 Uprising · Protests of 2007|
|Concessions and reforms|
|Roadmap to democracy
Reforms of 2011
|1990 · 2010 · 2012|
|National League for Democracy · 88 Generation Students Group · Burma Campaign UK · Free Burma Coalition · U.S. Campaign for Burma · Generation Wave · All Burma Students’ Democratic Front · The Irrawaddy · Democratic Voice of Burma · Mizzima News|
|U Nu · Aung Gyi · Tin Oo · Aung San Suu Kyi · Min Ko Naing · Thein Sein|
|Human rights in Burma · Politics of Burma · Foreign relations of Burma|
Aung San Suu Kyi was born in Rangoon (now named Yangon). Her father, Aung San, founded the modern Burmese army and negotiated Burma’s independence from the British Empire in 1947; he was assassinated by his rivals in the same year. She grew up with her mother, Khin Kyi, and two brothers, Aung San Lin and Aung San Oo, in Rangoon. Aung San Lin died at age eight, when he drowned in an ornamental lake on the grounds of the house. Her elder brother emigrated to San Diego, California, becoming a United States citizen. After Aung San Lin’s death, the family moved to a house by Inya Lake where Suu Kyi met people of very different backgrounds, political views and religions. She was educated in Methodist English High School (now Basic Education High School No. 1 Dagon) for much of her childhood in Burma, where she was noted as having a talent for learning languages. She is a Theravada Buddhist.
Suu Kyi’s mother, Khin Kyi, gained prominence as a political figure in the newly formed Burmese government. She was appointed Burmese ambassador to India and Nepal in 1960, and Aung San Suu Kyi followed her there, she studied in the Convent of Jesus and Mary School, New Delhi and graduated from Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi with a degree in politics in 1964. Suu Kyi continued her education at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, obtaining a B.A. degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in 1969. After graduating, she lived in New York City with a family friend and worked at the UN for three years, primarily on budget matters, writing daily to her future husband, Dr. Michael Aris. In 1972, Aung San Suu Kyi married Aris, a scholar of Tibetan culture, living abroad in Bhutan. The following year she gave birth to their first son, Alexander Aris, in London; their second son, Kim, was born in 1977. Subsequently, she earned a PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in 1985. She was elected as an Honorary Fellow in 1990. For two years she was a Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS) in Shimla, India. She also worked for the government of the Union of Burma.
In 1988 Suu Kyi returned to Burma, at first to tend for her ailing mother but later to lead the pro-democracy movement. Aris’ visit in Christmas 1995 turned out to be the last time that he and Suu Kyi met, as Suu Kyi remained in Burma and the Burmese dictatorship denied him any further entry visas. Aris was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997 which was later found to be terminal. Despite appeals from prominent figures and organizations, including the United States, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Pope John Paul II, the Burmese government would not grant Aris a visa, saying that they did not have the facilities to care for him, and instead urged Aung San Suu Kyi to leave the country to visit him. She was at that time temporarily free from house arrest but was unwilling to depart, fearing that she would be refused re-entry if she left, as she did not trust the military junta‘s assurance that she could return.
Aris died on his 53rd birthday on 27 March 1999. Since 1989, when his wife was first placed under house arrest, he had seen her only five times, the last of which was for Christmas in 1995. She was also separated from her children, who live in the United Kingdom, but starting in 2011, they have visited her in Burma.
On 2 May 2008, after Cyclone Nargis hit Burma, Suu Kyi lost the roof of her house and lived in virtual darkness after losing electricity in her dilapidated lakeside residence. She used candles at night as she was not provided any generator set. Plans to renovate and repair the house were announced in August 2009. Suu Kyi was released from house arrest on 13 November 2010.
Coincident with Aung San Suu Kyi’s return to Burma in 1988, the long-time military leader of Burma and head of the ruling party, General Ne Win, stepped down. Mass demonstrations for democracy followed that event on 8 August 1988 (8–8–88, a day seen as auspicious), which were violently suppressed in what came to be known as the 8888 Uprising. On 26 August 1988, she addressed half a million people at a mass rally in front of the Shwedagon Pagoda in the capital, calling for a democratic government. However in September, a new military junta took power.
Influenced by both Mahatma Gandhi‘s philosophy of non-violence and more specifically by Buddhist concepts, Aung San Suu Kyi entered politics to work for democratization, helped found the National League for Democracy on 27 September 1988, but was put under house arrest on 20 July 1989. Offered freedom if she left the country, she refused.
One of her most famous speeches was “Freedom From Fear”, which began: “It is not power that corrupts, but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”
She also believes fear spurs many world leaders to lose sight of their purpose. “Government leaders are amazing”, she once said. “So often it seems they are the last to know what the people want.”
 Political career
Suu Kyi meets with Edgardo Boeninger of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in 1995.
 1990 general election
In 1990, the military junta called a general election, in which the National League for Democracy (NLD) received 59% of the votes, guaranteeing NLD 80% of the parliament seats. Some claim that Aung San Suu Kyi would have assumed the office of Prime Minister; in fact, however, as she wasn’t permitted, she did not stand as a candidate in the elections (although being a MP isn’t a strict prerequisite for becoming PM in most parliamentary systems). Instead, the results were nullified and the military refused to hand over power, resulting in an international outcry. Aung San Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest at her home on University Avenue (
 1996 attack
On 9 November 1996, the motorcade that she was traveling in with other National League for Democracy leaders Tin Oo and U Kyi Maung, was attacked in Yangon. About 200 men swooped down on the motorcade, wielding metal chains, metal batons, stones and other weapons. The car that Aung San Suu Kyi was in had its rear window smashed, and the car with Tin Oo and U Kyi Maung had its rear window and two backdoor windows shattered. It is believed the offenders were members of the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) who were allegedly paid 500 kyats (@ USD $0.5) each to participate. The NLD lodged an official complaint with the police, and according to reports the government launched an investigation, but no action was taken. (Amnesty International 120297)
 House arrest
Aung San Suu Kyi has been placed under house arrest for 15 of the past 21 years, on different occasions, since she began her political career, during which time she was prevented from meeting her party supporters and international visitors. In an interview, Suu Kyi said that while under house arrest she spent her time reading philosophy, politics and biographies that her husband had sent her. She also passed the time playing the piano, and was occasionally allowed visits from foreign diplomats as well as from her personal physician.
The media were also prevented from visiting Suu Kyi, as occurred in 1998 when journalist Maurizio Giuliano, after photographing her, was stopped by customs officials who then confiscated all the reporter’s films, tapes and some notes. In contrast, Suu Kyi did have visits from government representatives, such as during her autumn 1994 house arrest when she met the leader of Burma, General Than Shwe and General Khin Nyunt on 20 September in the first meeting since she had been placed in detention. On several occasions during Suu Kyi’s house arrest, she had periods of poor health and as a result was hospitalized.
The Burmese government detained and kept Suu Kyi imprisoned because it viewed her as someone “likely to undermine the community peace and stability” of the country, and used both Article 10(a) and 10(b) of the 1975 State Protection Act (granting the government the power to imprison people for up to five years without a trial), and Section 22 of the “Law to Safeguard the State Against the Dangers of Those Desiring to Cause Subversive Acts” as legal tools against her. She continuously appealed her detention, and many nations and figures continued to call for her release and that of 2,100 other political prisoners in the country. On 12 November 2010, days after the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) won elections conducted after a gap of almost 20 years, the junta finally agreed to sign orders allowing Suu Kyi’s release, and Suu Kyi’s house arrest term came to an end on 13 November 2010.
 UN involvement
The UN has attempted to facilitate dialogue between the junta and Suu Kyi. On 6 May 2002, following secret confidence-building negotiations led by the UN, the government released her; a government spokesman said that she was free to move “because we are confident that we can trust each other”. Aung San Suu Kyi proclaimed “a new dawn for the country”. However on 30 May 2003 in an incident similar to the 1996 attack on her, a government-sponsored mob attacked her caravan in the northern village of Depayin, murdering and wounding many of her supporters. Aung San Suu Kyi fled the scene with the help of her driver, Ko Kyaw Soe Lin, but was arrested upon reaching Ye-U. The government imprisoned her at Insein Prison in Rangoon. After she underwent a hysterectomy in September 2003, the government again placed her under house arrest in Rangoon.
The results from the UN facilitation have been mixed; Razali Ismail, UN special envoy to Burma, met with Aung San Suu Kyi. Ismail resigned from his post the following year, partly because he was denied re-entry to Burma on several occasions. Several years later in 2006, Ibrahim Gambari, UN Undersecretary-General (USG) of Department of Political Affairs, met with Aung San Suu Kyi, the first visit by a foreign official since 2004. He also met with Suu Kyi later the same year. On 2 October 2007 Gambari returned to talk to her again after seeing Than Shwe and other members of the senior leadership in Naypyidaw. State television broadcast Suu Kyi with Gambari, stating that they had met twice. This was Suu Kyi’s first appearance in state media in the four years since her current detention began.
The United Nations Working Group for Arbitrary Detention published an Opinion that Aung San Suu Kyi’s deprivation of liberty was arbitrary and in contravention of Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, and requested that the authorities in Burma set her free, but the authorities ignored the request at that time. The U.N. report said that according to the Burmese Government’s reply, “Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has not been arrested, but has only been taken into protective custody, for her own safety”, and while “it could have instituted legal action against her under the country’s domestic legislation … it has preferred to adopt a magnanimous attitude, and is providing her with protection in her own interests.”
Such claims were rejected by Brig-General Khin Yi, Chief of Myanmar Police Force (MPF). On 18 January 2007, the state-run paper New Light of Myanmar accused Suu Kyi of tax evasion for spending her Nobel Prize money outside of the country. The accusation followed the defeat of a US-sponsored United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Burma as a threat to international security; the resolution was defeated because of strong opposition from China, which has strong ties with the military junta (China later voted against the resolution, along with Russia and South Africa).
In November 2007, it was reported that Suu Kyi would meet her political allies National League for Democracy along with a government minister. The ruling junta made the official announcement on state TV and radio just hours after UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari ended his second visit to Burma. The NLD confirmed that it had received the invitation to hold talks with Suu Kyi. However, the process delivered few concrete results.
On 3 July 2009, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon went to Burma to pressure the junta into releasing Suu Kyi and to institute democratic reform. However, on departing from Burma, Ban Ki-moon said he was “disappointed” with the visit after junta leader Than Shwe refused permission for him to visit Suu Kyi, citing her ongoing trial. Ban said he was “deeply disappointed that they have missed a very important opportunity.”
 Periods under detention
- 20 July 1989: Placed under house arrest in Rangoon under martial law that allows for detention without charge or trial for three years.
- 10 July 1995: Released from house arrest.
- 23 September 2000: Placed under house arrest.
- 6 May 2002: Released after 19 months.
- 30 May 2003: Arrested following the Depayin massacre, she was held in secret detention for more than three months before being returned to house arrest.
- 25 May 2007: House arrest extended by one year despite a direct appeal from U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to General Than Shwe.
- 24 October 2007: Reached 12 years under house arrest, solidarity protests held at 12 cities around the world.
- 27 May 2008: House arrest extended for another year, which is illegal under both international law and Burma’s own law.
- 11 August 2009: House arrest extended for 18 more months because of “violation” arising from the May 2009 trespass incident.
- 13 November 2010: Released from house arrest.
 2007 anti-government protests
Protests led by Buddhist monks began on 19 August 2007 following steep fuel price increases, and continued each day, despite the threat of a crackdown by the military.
On 22 September 2007, although still under house arrest, Suu Kyi made a brief public appearance at the gate of her residence in Yangon to accept the blessings of Buddhist monks who were marching in support of human rights. It was reported that she had been moved the following day to Insein Prison (where she had been detained in 2003), but meetings with UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari near her Rangoon home on 30 September and 2 October established that she remained under house arrest.
 2009 trespass incident
U.S. Senator Jim Webb visiting Suu Kyi in 2009. Webb negotiated the release of John Yettaw, the man who trespassed in Suu Kyi’s home, resulting in her arrest and conviction with three years’ hard labour.
On 3 May 2009, an American man, identified as John Yettaw, swam across Inya Lake to her house uninvited and was arrested when he made his return trip three days later. He had attempted to make a similar trip two years earlier, but for unknown reasons was turned away. He later claimed at trial that he was motivated by a divine vision requiring him to notify her of an impending terrorist assassination attempt. On 13 May, Suu Kyi was arrested for violating the terms of her house arrest because the swimmer, who pleaded exhaustion, was allowed to stay in her house for two days before he attempted the swim back. Suu Kyi was later taken to Insein Prison, where she could have faced up to five years confinement for the intrusion. The trial of Suu Kyi and her two maids began on 18 May and a small number of protesters gathered outside. Diplomats and journalists were barred from attending the trial; however, on one occasion, several diplomats from Russia, Thailand and Singapore and journalists were allowed to meet Suu Kyi. The prosecution had originally planned to call 22 witnesses. It also accused John Yettaw of embarrassing the country. During the ongoing defence case, Suu Kyi said she was innocent. The defence was allowed to call only one witness (out of four), while the prosecution was permitted to call 14 witnesses. The court rejected two character witnesses, NLD members Tin Oo and Win Tin, and permitted the defense to call only a legal expert. According to one unconfirmed report, the junta was planning to, once again, place her in detention, this time in a military base outside the city. In a separate trial, Yettaw said he swam to Suu Kyi’s house to warn her that her life was “in danger”. The national police chief later confirmed that Yettaw was the “main culprit” in the case filed against Suu Kyi. According to aides, Suu Kyi spent her 64th birthday in jail sharing biryani rice and chocolate cake with her guards.
Her arrest and subsequent trial received worldwide condemnation by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Security Council, Western governments, South Africa, Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which Burma is a member. The Burmese government strongly condemned the statement, as it created an “unsound tradition” and criticised Thailand for meddling in its internal affairs. The Burmese Foreign Minister Nyan Win was quoted in the state-run newspaper New Light of Myanmar as saying that the incident “was trumped up to intensify international pressure on Burma by internal and external anti-government elements who do not wish to see the positive changes in those countries’ policies toward Burma”. Ban responded to an international campaign by flying to Burma to negotiate, but Than Shwe rejected all of his requests.
On 11 August 2009 the trial concluded with Suu Kyi being sentenced to imprisonment for three years with hard labour. This sentence was commuted by the military rulers to further house arrest of 18 months. On 14 August, U.S. Senator Jim Webb visited Burma, visiting with junta leader Gen. Than Shwe and later with Suu Kyi. During the visit, Webb negotiated Yettaw’s release and deportation from Burma. Following the verdict of the trial, lawyers of Suu Kyi said they would appeal against the 18-month sentence. On 18 August, United States President Barack Obama asked the country’s military leadership to set free all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi. In her appeal, Aung San Suu Kyi had argued that the conviction was unwarranted. However, her appeal against the August sentence was rejected by a Burmese court on 2 October 2009. Although the court accepted the argument that the 1974 constitution, under which she had been charged, was null and void, it also said the provisions of the 1975 security law, under which she has been kept under house arrest, remained in force. The verdict effectively meant that she would be unable to participate in the elections scheduled to take place in 2010 – the first in Burma in two decades. Her lawyer stated that her legal team would pursue a new appeal within 60 days.
 2009: International pressure for release, and Burmese general election 2010
It was announced prior to the Burmese general election that Aung San Suu Kyi may be released “so she can organize her party,” However, Suu Kyi was not allowed to run. On 1 October 2010 the government announced that she would be released on 13 November 2010.
Burma’s relaxing stance, such as releasing political prisoners, was influenced in the wake of successful recent diplomatic visits by the US and other democratic governments, urging or encouraging the Burmese towards democratic reform. U.S. President Barack Obama personally advocated for the release of all political prisoners, especially Aung San Suu Kyi, during the US-ASEAN Summit of 2009.
Democratic governments[which?] hoped that successful general elections would be an optimistic indicator of the Burmese government’s sincerity towards eventual democracy. The Hatoyama government which spent 2.82 billion yen in 2008, has promised more Japanese foreign aid to encourage Burma to release Aung San Suu Kyi in time for the elections; and to continue moving towards democracy and the rule of law.
In a personal letter to Suu Kyi, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown cautioned the Burmese government of the potential consequences of rigging elections as “condemning Burma to more years of diplomatic isolation and economic stagnation”.
The Burmese government has been granting Suu Kyi varying degrees of freedom throughout late 2009, in response to international pressure. She has met with many heads of state, and opened a dialog with the Minister of Labor Aung Kyi (not to be confused with Aung San Suu Kyi).
 2010 release
On the evening of 13 November 2010, Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest. This was the date her detention had been set to expire according to a court ruling in August 2009 and came six days after a widely criticized general election. She appeared in front of a crowd of her supporters, who rushed to her house in Rangoon when nearby barricades were removed by the security forces. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate had been detained for 15 of the past 21 years. The government newspaper New Light of Myanmar reported the release positively, saying she had been granted a pardon after serving her sentence “in good conduct”. The New York Times suggested that the military government may have released Suu Kyi because it felt it was in a confident position to control her supporters after the election. The role that Aung San Suu Kyi will play in the future of democracy in Burma remains a subject of much debate.
Her son Kim Aris was granted a visa in November 2010 to see his mother, Aung San Suu Kyi, shortly after her release, for the first time in 10 years. He visited again in 5 July 2011, to accompany her on a trip to Bagan, her first trip outside Yangon since 2003. Her son visited again in 8 August 2011, to accompany her on a trip to Pegu, her second trip.
Discussions were held between Suu Kyi and the Burmese government during 2011, which led to a number of official gestures to meet her demands. In October, around a tenth of Burma’s political prisoners were freed in an amnesty and trade unions were legalised.
In November 2011, following a meeting of its leaders, the NLD announced its intention to re-register as a political party in order contend 48 by-elections necessitated by the promotion of parliamentarians to ministerial rank. Following the decision, Suu Kyi held a telephone conference with U.S. President Barack Obama, in which it was agreed that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would make a visit to Burma, a move received with caution by Burma’s ally China. On 1 December 2011, Suu Kyi met with Hillary Clinton at the residence of the top-ranking US diplomat in Yangon. Suu Kyi also held an hour long interview for a class of 3000 students at Virginia Tech via Skype on 5 December 2011. During the interview, Suu Kyi answered questions from students, sharing her wisdom in her fight for democracy.
On 21 December 2011, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra met Suu Kyi in Yangoon, becoming Suu Kyi’s first-ever meeting with the leader of a foreign country after her release from house arrest.
On 5 January 2012, British Foreign Minister William Hague met Aung San Suu Kyi and his Burmese counterpart. This represented a significant visit for Suu Kyi and Burma. Suu Kyi studied in the UK and maintains many ties there, whilst Britain is Burma’s largest bilateral donor.
 2012 by-elections
In December 2011, there was speculation that Suu Kyi would run in the 2012 national by-elections to fill vacant seats. On 18 January 2012, Suu Kyi formally registered to contest a Pyithu Hluttaw (lower house) seat in the Kawhmu Township constituency in special parliamentary elections to be held on 1 April 2012. The seat was previously held by Soe Tint, who vacated it after being appointed Construction Deputy Minister, in the 2010 election. She is running against Union Solidarity and Development Party candidate Soe Min, a retired army physician and native of Twante Township.
In an official campaign speech broadcast on Burmese state television’s MRTV on 14 March 2012, Suu Kyi publicly campaigned for reform of the 2008 Constitution, removal of restrictive laws, more adequate protections for people’s democratic rights, and establishment of an independent judiciary. The speech was leaked online a day before it was broadcast. A paragraph in the speech, focusing on the Tatmadaw‘s repression by means of law, was censored by authorities.
Suu Kyi has also called for international media to monitor the upcoming by-elections, while publicly pointing out irregularities in official voter lists, which include deceased individuals and exclude other eligible voters in the contested constituencies. On 21 March 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi was quoted as saying “Fraud and rule violations are continuing and we can even say they are increasing.”
When asked whether she would assume a ministerial post if given the opportunity, she said the following:
|“||I can tell you one thing – that under the present constitution, if you become a member of the government you have to vacate your seat in the national assembly. And I am not working so hard to get into parliament simply to vacate my seat.||”|
On 26 March 2012, Suu Kyi suspended her nationwide campaign tour early, after a campaign rally in Myeik (Mergui), a coastal town in the south, citing health problems due to exhaustion and hot weather.
On 1 April 2012, the NLD announced that Suu Kyi had “easily” won the vote for a seat in Parliament, though the official counting had not yet finished.
 International support
Aung San Suu Kyi has received vocal support from Western nations in Europe, Australia and North and South America, as well as India, Israel, Japan the Philippines and South Korea. In December 2007, the US House of Representatives voted unanimously 400–0 to award Aung San Suu Kyi the Congressional Gold Medal; the Senate concurred on 25 April 2008. On 6 May 2008, President George Bush signed legislation awarding Suu Kyi the Congressional Gold Medal. She is the first recipient in American history to receive the prize while imprisoned. More recently, there has been growing criticism of her detention by Burma’s neighbours in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, particularly from Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Singapore. At one point Malaysia warned Burma that it faced expulsion from ASEAN as a result of the detention of Suu Kyi. Other nations including South Africa, Bangladesh and the Maldives have also called for her release. The United Nations has urged the country to move towards inclusive national reconciliation, the restoration of democracy, and full respect for human rights. In December 2008, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution condemning the human rights situation in Burma and calling for Suu Kyi’s release—80 countries voting for the resolution, 25 against and 45 abstentions. Other nations, such as China and Russia, are less critical of the regime and prefer to cooperate only on economic matters. Indonesia has urged China to push Burma for reforms. However, Samak Sundaravej, former Prime Minister of Thailand, criticised the amount of support for Suu Kyi, saying that “Europe uses Aung San Suu Kyi as a tool. If it’s not related to Aung San Suu Kyi, you can have deeper discussions with Myanmar.”
Vietnam, however, does not support calls by other ASEAN member states for Myanmar to free Aung San Suu Kyi, state media reported Friday, 14 August 2009. The state-run Việt Nam News said Vietnam had no criticism of Myanmar’s decision 11 August 2009 to place Suu Kyi under house arrest for the next 18 months, effectively barring her from elections scheduled for 2010. “It is our view that the Aung San Suu Kyi trial is an internal affair of Myanmar”, Vietnamese government spokesman Le Dung stated on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In contrast with other ASEAN member states, Dung said Vietnam has always supported Myanmar and hopes it will continue to implement the “roadmap to democracy” outlined by its government.
 Nobel Peace Prize
Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. The decision of the Nobel Committee mentions:
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 1991 to Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar (Burma) for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights….Suu Kyi’s struggle is one of the most extraordinary examples of civil courage in Asia in recent decades. She has become an important symbol in the struggle against oppression……In awarding the Nobel Peace Prize for 1991 to Aung San Suu Kyi, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to honour this woman for her unflagging efforts and to show its support for the many people throughout the world who are striving to attain democracy, human rights and ethnic conciliation by peaceful means.—Oslo, 14 October 1991
Nobel Peace Prize winners (Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, Shirin Ebadi, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Mairead Corrigan, Rigoberta Menchú, Prof. Elie Wiesel, U.S. President Barack Obama, Betty Williams, Jody Williams and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter) called for the rulers of Burma to release Suu Kyi in order to “create the necessary conditions for a genuine dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all concerned parties and ethnic groups in order to achieve an inclusive national reconciliation with the direct support of the United Nations.” Some of the money she received as part of the award helps fund London-based charity Prospect Burma, which provides higher education grants to Burmese students.
- Freedom Now, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization, was retained in 2006 by a member of her family to help secure Aung San Suu Kyi’s release from house arrest. The organization secured several opinions from the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that her detention was in violation of international law; engaged in political advocacy such as spearheading a letter from 112 former Presidents and Prime Ministers to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urging him to go to Burma to seek her release, which he did six weeks later; and published numerous opeds and spoke widely to the media about her ongoing detention. Its representation of her ended when she was released from house arrest on 13 November 2010.
- Aung San Suu Kyi has been an honorary board member of International IDEA and ARTICLE 19 since her detention, and has received support from these organisations.
- The Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Université catholique de Louvain, both located in Belgium, have granted her the title of Doctor Honoris Causa.
- In 2003, the Freedom Forum recognized Suu Kyi’s efforts to promote democracy peacefully with the Al Neuharth Free Spirit of the Year Award, in which she was presented over satellite because she was under house arrest. She was awarded one million dollars.
- In June of each year, the U.S. Campaign for Burma organizes hundreds of “Arrest Yourself” house parties around the world in support of Aung San Suu Kyi. At these parties, the organizers keep themselves under house arrest for 24 hours, invite their friends, and learn more about Burma and Aung San Suu Kyi.
- The Freedom Campaign, a joint effort between the Human Rights Action Center and US Campaign for Burma, looks to raise worldwide attention to the struggles of Aung San Suu Kyi and the people of Burma.
- The Burma Campaign UK is a UK based NGO (Non Governmental Organisation) that aims to raise awareness of Burma’s struggles and follow the guidelines established by the NLD and Aung San Suu Kyi.
- St. Hugh’s College, Oxford, where she studied, had a Burmese theme for their annual ball in support of her in 2006.
- Aung San Suu Kyi is the official patron of The Rafto Human Rights House in Bergen, Norway. She received the Thorolf Rafto Memorial Prize in 1990.
- She was made an honorary free person of the City of Dublin, Ireland in November 1999, although a space had been left on the roll of signatures to symbolize her continued detention.
- In November 2005 the human rights group Equality Now proposed Aung Sun Suu Kyi as a potential candidate, among other qualifying women, for the position of U.N. Secretary General. In the proposed list of qualified women Suu Kyi is recognised by Equality Now as the Prime Minister-Elect of Burma.
- The UN’ special envoy to Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari, met Aung San Suu Kyi on 10 March 2008 before wrapping up his trip to the military-ruled country.
- Aung San Suu Kyi is an honorary member of The Elders, a group of eminent global leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela. Her ongoing detention means that she is unable to take an active role in the group, so The Elders place an empty chair for her at their meetings. The Elders have consistently called for the release of all political prisoners in Burma.
- In 2008, Burma’s devoted human rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize, was welcomed as Club of Madrid Honorary Member.
- In 2011 Aung San Suu Kyi is the Guest Director of the 45th Brighton Festival
- In June 2011, the BBC announced that Aung San Suu Kyi was to deliver the 2011 Reith Lectures. The BBC covertly recorded two lectures with Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma, which were then smuggled out of the country and brought back to London. The lectures were broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service on 28 June 2011 and 5 July 2011.
- In November 2011, Suu Kyi received Francois Zimeray, France’s Ambassador for Human Rights.
- Der Weg zur Freiheit (1999) with U Kyi Maung, U Tin Oo, ISBN 978-3404614356
- Letters from Burma (1998) with Fergal Keane ISBN 978-0140264036
- The Voice of Hope (1998) with Alan Clements, ISBN 978-1888363838, fully updated and re-issued in October 2008 by Rider Books, ISBN 978-1846041433
- Letter to Daniel: Despatches from the Heart (1996) by Fergal Keane, foreword by Aung San Suu Kyi, edited by Tony Grant ISBN 978-0140262896
- Freedom from Fear and other Writings (1995) with Václav Havel, Desmond M. Tutu, and Michael Aris, ISBN 978-0140253177
- Burma’s Revolution of the Spirit: The Struggle for Democratic Freedom and Dignity (1994) with Alan Clements, Leslie Kean, the Dalai Lama, Sein Win, ISBN 978-0893815806
- Aung San of Burma: A Biographical Portrait by His Daughter (1991) ISBN 978-1870838801, 2nd edition 1995
- Aung San (Leaders of Asia Series) (1990) ISBN 978-9990288834
- Burma and India: Some aspects of intellectual life under colonialism (1990) ISBN 978-8170231349
- Bhutan (Let’s Visit Series) (1986) ISBN 978-0222010995
- Nepal (Let’s Visit Series) (1985) ISBN 978-0222009814
- Burma (Let’s Visit Series) (1985) ISBN 978-0222009791
- Tibetan Studies in Honour of Hugh Richardson. Edited by Michael Aris and Aung San Suu Kyi. (1979). Vikas Publishing house, New Delhi.
- Thorolf Rafto Memorial Prize (1990)
- Sakharov Prize (1990)
- Nobel Peace Prize (1991)
- Simón Bolívar International Prize (1992)
- Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding (1993)
- Prize For Freedom of the Liberal International (1995)
- Honorary Companion of the Order of Australia (1996)
- National Democratic Institute for International Affairs W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award (1996)
- Doctor of Laws Honorary degree from the University of Bath (1998)
- Freedom of Dublin City,Ireland (1999)
- Presidential Medal of Freedom (2000)
- UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence (2002)
- Gwangju Prize for Human Rights (2004)
- Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) from Memorial University of Newfoundland (2004)
- Olof Palme Prize (2005)
- Freedom from Fear award (2006)
- Honorary Canadian citizenship (2007)
- Honorary President of the LSESU (2007)
- Doctorate of Letters (honoris causa) from Colgate University (2008)
- Congressional Gold Medal (2008)
- Premi Internacional Catalunya (2008)
- Honorary Member of the Club of Madrid (2008)
- Freedom Of Glasgow (2009)
- Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Peace and Reconciliation (2009)
- Honorary Doctor of Laws from University of Ulster in recognition of her services to human rights (2009)
- Ambassador of Conscience Award (2009) from Amnesty International
- Freedom of Newcastle Upon Tyne (2011)
- Chatham House Prize (2011)
- Commandeur of the Légion d’Honneur (2012)
- Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Award for Democracy (2012)
- Doctor of Laws Honorary degree from The University of Hong Kong (2012)
 Popular media
- She was portrayed by Adelle Lutz in John Boorman‘s 1995 motion picture Beyond Rangoon, which takes place during the 8888 Uprising.
- Jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter composed in her honor the piece “Aung San Suu Kyi”, which appeared on 1+1 (1997), a duet album with pianist Herbie Hancock.
- In a list compiled by New Statesman in 2006, she was voted as number one among the “50 Heroes of Our Time”.
- The 2000 song “Walk On” by U2 is about her, according to Bono. Suu Kyi was regularly mentioned as the song was played during 2001’s Elevation Tour. During the 2009 leg of the 360° Tour, the band invited fans to wear masks of Suu Kyi’s face (printable from their website) during the song “Walk On”.
- The Lady Of Burma, a play written by Richard Shannon and staged in the London Old Vic, dealt with the life of Aung San Suu Kyi and received rave reviews in the UK press, including The Independent.
- She was voted as number 34 among “The World’s 50 Most Influential Figures 2010” by the British magazine New Statesman.
- “Unplayed Piano” by Damien Rice was released in Ireland on 17 June 2005 and in the UK on 20 June 2005 to coincide with Aung San Suu Kyi’s 60th birthday. The song was written for Suu Kyi following a visit by Damien to Burma in July 2004. Proceeds from the sale of the single go to the Burma Campaign UK. Rice and Hannigan recorded a charity song, campaigning for her release, called “Unplayed Piano”, which they performed at the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo.
- Actress Michelle Yeoh portrays Aung San Suu Kyi in the 2011 film The Lady, directed by Luc Besson.
- A 2m x 2m portrait of her was painted for the 54th Venice Biennale by Gavin Rain, working with the Burma Campaign UK in an attempt to highlight her current plight. The painting was also on display at the Italian premier of the 2011 film The Lady in Rome in October 2011, attended by both Yeoh and Besson.
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