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Aung San Suu Kyi

The woman who defeated the generals

Aung San Suu Kyi

Until quite recently, this seemed impossible: the military junta did not want to share power, and thousands of political prisoners languished in the country's prisons. The first parliamentary elections in 2010 years in November 20 did not change the balance of power: the main opposition party, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, who was freed a week after the results were announced, boycotted the vote. The rapid development of further events probably came as a shock to the Lady herself - at the end of March 2011, the junta unexpectedly self-destructed, transferring power to President Thein Sein.

The new president is the flesh of the old authorities. General Sein has served as the country's prime minister since 2007. Many believe that he is influenced by the former head of the country's Peace and Development Council, Than Shwe. However, the massive release of prisoners of conscience and the April 1, 2012 by-election, in which the debuting National League for Democracy won 44 of the 45 vacant seats, signaled that Myanmar will never be the same. And Aung San Suu Kyi, now in the role of deputy, will make every effort to this. For the first time in many years, fate seems to be showing favor to the Lady.

Father's daughter

Aung San Suu Kyi was born 19 June 1945 year in Rangoon, the capital then still dependent on Britain Burma. Her father, General Aung San, stood at the origins of the Burmese statehood. Equally respected by all the ethnic groups of the multinational country, he was able to persuade the British to convene the Constituent Assembly of Myanmar to resolve the issue of the future of the state and the drafting of a constitution. Aung San Suu Kyi's mother, Zhin Zhi, also played a significant role in shaping the political system of Burma - she was an active member of women's political unions before marriage, and subsequently political meetings often took place right in the house of the patriotic couple.

The life of the general ended tragically - in July of 1947 he and several other members of the transitional government were killed by right-wing conspirators. Aung San never saw the fruits of his work - Burma's independence was proclaimed six months later, 4 January 1948. It is noteworthy that the general is in fact the only person whose importance is not disputed by different parts of Myanmar's torn societies: the day of his death was declared a national holiday, while Aung San's figure is appealed both by official propaganda and by opposition forces led by his daughter. And you can hardly argue with the fact that she has more rights to do this.

After spending the first years of her life in a young republic, in 1960, Aung San Suu Kyi went to India, where she completed her primary education. Then there was Oxford, where the young Burmese studied politics, economics and philosophy. Here she met her future husband, it was the authoritative tibetologist Michael Eiris. 

They were married in 1972 year, and Lady took from Michael a promise that he would treat with understanding if she was needed at home and returned to Rangoon. While in her life there was a lull, she and her husband settled in England, where they had two sons, Alexander and Kim. Aung San Suu Kyi in those years was actively engaged in educational activities, lecturing as a visiting teacher first at Kyoto University, and then at the Indian Institute for Advanced Studies in the city of Shimla.

In 1988, Aung San Suu Kyi returns to Rangoon, but not to join the political struggle: her mother suffers a stroke, and a caring daughter, forgetting about ambitions, devotes all her time to caring for her. However, it was just at this time that a rebellion against the dictatorship of the ruling Burmese party of the socialist program broke out in the country. Starting as student speeches, the unrest resulted in bloody clashes with the military - during the “8888 riot” alone (the name comes from the date of the tragedy - August 8 1988) about 200 thousand people died. The lady could not remain indifferent to such events and soon enough accepted the offer to head the National League for Democracy. And this decision brought her many trials.

Love and struggle "aunt Soo"

In 1988, the timid hopes for establishing democracy in Burma were not destined to come true. In September, the military creates the State Council for Peace and Development and, having overthrown the Socialists, establish their dictatorship for the next 23 years. So Burma becomes Myanmar, and the capital is renamed to Yangon. On this, however, the changes end.

In late December, Lady realizes a new blow - her mother dies. At a mourning rally on 2 January 1989, she swears to serve her country at the cost of her own life. The authorities are aware of the danger posed by it, and 20 July 1989 The lady is placed under house arrest - under the law on state protection from 1975, authorities can detain citizens threatening "peace and stability in society" for up to five years without charge. Despite this, her party wins the election of 1990 year in parliament with a stunning result - 82%. The military refuse to recognize the results and dissolve the parliament.

Aung San Suu Kyi's first imprisonment will last six years. During this time, her activities have received international recognition - the European Parliament awards her the Sakharov Prize, a year later Lady becomes a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Her sons have to receive awards, because the junta did not even let representatives of the Nobel Committee visit her. In an attempt to break the will of Aung San Suu Kyi, the military, led by General Tan Shwe, go to ridiculous extremes: once again, she finds herself in the dock for tax evasion ... with the Nobel Prize. And this despite the fact that all the money received by the Lady will be transferred to the Fund for Assistance to the Burmese People in Healthcare and Education.

Freed from arrest, the Lady immediately joins the political process, traveling a lot around the country with her colleagues. Foreign journalists and relatives are not allowed to see her, while she herself is actively being pushed to emigrate. When her husband, Michael Aries, is diagnosed with cancer, he asks the Burmese authorities to allow him to see his wife for the last time. Pope John Paul II and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan join the request. However, the junta is adamant - if Aung San Suu Kyi misses her relatives so much, she can fly to London herself. Realizing that they would not let her back to Burma, the Lady deliberately refuses this opportunity. Ayris dies in the 1999 year, never saying goodbye to his wife. And Aung San Suu Kyi was soon under house arrest again - for the systematic violation of the ban to visit Yangon.

This time, "Aunt Su", as the Burmese call her lovingly, will be imprisoned for a long 10 years - a woman released in 2002 a year later was again isolated "for her own safety" when a crowd of supporters of the junta arranged an armed provocation near the city Depayin, wounding and killing more than a hundred of her companions.

Pick up your Nobel

In recent years, changes have begun in Burma. The military handed over the power of the new civil administration, which decided to win over the opposition, in order to achieve its legitimacy in the eyes of the world community. Last August, Aung San Suu Kyi held the first meeting with President Thein Sein, and this was a turning point. After this meeting, Aung San Suu Kyi said that she believes the president that he is an honest person and she believes in the irreversibility of reform. In May, she applied for a passport and was issued to her.

In July, 66-year-old Aung San Suu Kyi will visit five European countries, including Norway, where, after 20 years, the Lady will personally receive a high award, the Nobel Prize. It seems that a new chapter in the vivid life story of "Aunt Soo" is just beginning. 

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