because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Aung San Suu Kyi

Called "an outstanding example of the power of the powerless," Aung San Suu Kyi has been working to free Burma from the stranglehold of one military tyrant after another for more than two decades.  And she's been doing this while being detained for most of that time.

The daughter of General Aung San, who also championed the struggle for democracy in Burma, left her native land as a small child after her father was assassinated.  Raised and educated in India and England, Aung San Suu Kyi didn't return to Burma until 1988, when she discovered that the political upheaval that had claimed her father's life was still raging. And she could not resist joining the revolutionary effort, traveling through the countryside, encouraging anyone who would listen that they must participate in non-violent direct action against the power structure of the country.

Despite brutal and terrorizing attacks on her followers, Aung San Suu Kyi's party won a 1990 national election by a strong majority, but the military junta refused to give up their power, placing her on house arrest instead until six years later, when she was released, but with travel restrictions which she, of course, defied.  Placed back on house arrest in 2000, then released in 2002, only to be incarcerated in prison in 2003 after a scuffle between her supporters and a government-backed mob, Aung San Suu Kyi sat quietly, meditating, reading, exercising  -- not allowed to see her sons or her husband, even when he was dying -- until she was released once more to pick up her world-changing activities where she left off.

All during these years, she has garnered some of the most prestigious awards in the world, including the Nobel Peace Prize.  And ultimately released yet again in 2010, Aung San Suu Kyi immediately demanded the release of other political prisoners and the legalization of trade unions, both of which have occurred.  Elected to a position in the Burmese Parliament on April 1, 2012, many in the world believe that Aung San Suu Kyi will eventually wind up Prime Minister of Burma.  Meeting with world leaders who are happy to come to this reserved, yet insistent international hero, Aung San Suu Kyi demonstrates that in-your-face women are not always loud, but they never back down. Her message to other in-your-face women: "You should never let your fears prevent you from doing what you know is right."

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