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Her Excellency Aung San Suu Kyi: The Lady’s Love of Freedom, Democracy and Peace, Part 1 of 2

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“The Lady” is how most people in Myanmar refer to Aung San Suu Kyi, a democracy icon and leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD). In 2015 the NLD won the general elections to become Myanmar’s first non-military government in 54 years. Aung San Suu Kyi received the Thorolf Rafto Memorial Prize for promoting the fundamental human rights of intellectual and political freedom, the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, the Nobel Peace Prize, and India’s Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding. The US House of Representatives awarded her the Congressional Gold Medal in 2008 and in 2014 she was listed as the 61st most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. To this day, she remains a symbol of human rights and an “indispensable” force for the peace process in Myanmar.

Although her father passed away when she was just two years old, Suu Kyi remains emotionally close to him and his ideologies. She has in some sense extended his legacy of love and dedication to their homeland by virtue of her active role in the pro-democracy events in the country, starting with the 8.8.88 Uprising. Aung San expressed her personal views on democracy in this 1988 speech as follows: “Democracy is the only ideology which is consistent with freedom. It is also an ideology that promotes and strengthens peace. It is therefore the only ideology we should aim for. That is what my father said. It is the reason why I am participating in this struggle for freedom and democracy in the footsteps and traditions of my father. To achieve democracy the people should be united.”

Many are aware that Suu Kyi is deeply inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and opposes violence of any kind. She has a clear mission and vision that nothing can keep her from fulfilling. In 1991, she won the Nobel Prize for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights. Later, after enduring long and repeated struggles and oppression, in June 2012, Suu Kyi was finally able to accept the Nobel Peace Prize in person. The Norwegian Nobel Committee chairman, His Excellency Thorbjørn Jagland, paid tribute to her “awe-inspiring tenacity, sacrifice, and firmness of principle.”
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