“The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear.”- Aung San Suu Kyi
Few people will be held against their will for over 15 years and still have the courage to talk against those who lord it over them. This has been the story of Aung San Suu Kyi, a woman who inspired millions of her country men and women to resist and ultimately overcome a brutal military dictatorship.
Aung San Suu Kyi was born on June 19, 1945, in Yangon in the then Burma, today is known as Myanmar. Her father had been a prime minister while her mother was a diplomat. The young Aung San Suu Kyi spent her learning years in India studying politics and graduating in 1964. She then went on to study at Oxford finishing her studies in 1968. She took up a job with the UN and moved to New York. She married in 1971.
Aung San Suu Kyi run-ins with the government began in 1988 when she returned to Myanmar to look after her ill mother. She also found her native country under an oppressive military dictatorship. She started speaking out against the injustices of the regime and started a movement to oppose it and champion the return of democracy. The military junta was quick to put her under house arrest.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s house arrest was brutal as the military cut off all communication between her and the outside world. Her husband fell ill from cancer and was pronounced terminal in 1995. The military would not let him visit her but instead told her she was free to leave. She refused to leave her country knowing that she would not be allowed back if she left. Her husband died in 1999 having only seen her 5 times since 1989.
Despite these challenges Aung San Suu Kyi continued pressing for democratic change when she could. She was released in 1995. She participated in her party, the National League of Democracy’s congress. She was arrested again in 2000 for declaring her party the rightful voice of the people. She was released in 2002 but re-arrested in 2003.
Aung San Suu Kyi was finally released in 2010 and went on to become a Member of Parliament in Myanmar’s parliament in 2012. After her party took the government in 2015, Aung San Suu Kyi was appointed the minister for foreign affairs and State Counsellor.
For her great work, Aung San Suu Kyi has received numerous awards including the US Congressional Medal of Freedom, Simon Bolivar Prize, and the Jawaharlal Nehru Award.
Affirmations for today:
Every moment of every day I am becoming more and more courageous.