FROM THE MIGHT OF THE PEN WEBSITE
Like the South African leader Nelson Mandela before her, Aung San Suu Kyi, has come to be seen internationally as a symbol of heroic and peaceful resistance in the face of oppression. For the Burmese people, Aung San Suu Kyi represents their best and perhaps sole hope that one day there will be an end to the country’s military repression.
She was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1991. Her sons went to Oslo to accept the award on her behalf. At the presentation, the Chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, Francis Sejested, called her “an outstanding example of the power of the powerless”. “Aung San Suu Kyi cannot be silenced because she speaks the truth,” he said.
Now aged 64, Suu Kyi is the daughter of the late Burmese nationalist leader, General Aung San, whose resistance to British colonial rule culminated in Burma’s independence in 1948.
After attending school in the Burmese capital Rangoon, Aung San Suu Kyi lived in India, and then went to Britain for her University education. This is where she met and married her husband, Michael Aris, an Oxford University academic. Already then, Michael Aris knew his wife’s destiny might ultimately lie with Burma. “Before we were married I promised my wife that I would never stand between her and her country,” he says.
Aung San Suu Kyi first came to prominence when she returned to Burma in August 1988, with her husband and their two sons remaining in Britain. She became the leader of a burgeoning pro-democracy movement in the aftermath of the brutal repression of a pro-democratic uprising earlier that summer.
The movement quickly grew into a political party that went on to win an overwhelming majority 82% percent in national elections in 1990, by which time she had already been under house arrest for a year. The military regime, however, refused to relinquish power and stepped up intensified repression of her party, the National League for Democracy.
Martin Smith, a writer on Burmese affairs, says there are several reasons why Aung San Suu Kyi proved such a natural leader. “Her father was the founder of the democratic movement. So Suu Kyi in a way had inherited that kind of tradition. “But the second thing is of course down to Aung San Suu Kyi herself, her role in the democracy movement and her speeches about the need for change in Burmese society. “And I think there is a further thing she very much had on her side – that is her comparative youth in Burmese politics.”
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Responsibility does not only lie with the leaders of our countries or with those who have been appointed or elected to do a particular job. It lies with each of us individually. Peace, for example, starts within each one of us. When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us.
“People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains,
at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers,
at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars,
and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.”
I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word and thought throughout our lifetime.
— Elisabethe Kubler-Ross
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
— Helen Keller
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
What keeps us alive, what allows us to endure?
I think it is the hope of loving,
or being loved.
– Meister Eckhart
Susan Loone’s Blog
Tribute to Wan Azizah, ‘rock of PKR’
Anwar revealed that it was his wife who has held the party together by taking a deep interest in its affairs, updating herself on political developments and showing genuine concern for the welfare of members.
“Although I may be the one formulating policies, Azizah is the one working tirelessly behind the scenes. She has worked harder than me at times,” Anwar told a press conference at PKR headquarters in Petaling Jaya.
The opposition leader was replying to a question as to when he would officially take over as PKR president from his wife, who has often been described as a “reluctant politician”.
Although he did not give a definite answer, his reply indicated that PKR is doing just fine with Azizah as PKR president and himself as the undisputed leader of Pakatan Rakyat.
Anwar said his wife had proven herself as an active campaigner in the just-concluded Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau by-elections.
“She was campaigning throughout the two constituencies. She worked very hard in mobilising support for Pakatan candidates,” he said proudly, adding in jest “and you know, Azizah has certain capabilities which I don’t have”.