Daw Aung San Suu Kyi —daughter of the martyred champion for independence, General Aung San – has for the last two decades committed herself to fighting for the democratic rights and freedoms for her people. She was born in 1945 in Yangon but left her native country in 1960 after her mother was appointed ambassador to India. In 1964 she went to St. Hugh’s College at Oxford University where she received a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. When she went back to Burma to care for her dying mother, she was confronted with the brutal repression of the pro-democracy movement by the country’s military regime. Provoked by this terrible injustice and the suffering of her people, she began to speak out against the Burmese junta and formed the National League for Democracy (NLD). Having promoted the cause of democracy using Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violent protest for less then a year, she was placed under house arrest by the military authorities for six years. The NLD won the general elections by a landslide, but the military junta declared the results void..
In honor of her efforts for justice and human rights, Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. Although being confined to her house, Suu Kyi persisted in her struggle and was eventually released in 1995. But the military junta continued to thwart her activities, denying her freedom of movement. When she tried to leave for an NLD meeting in 1998 she was prevented from completing her journey and was forced to remain by the side of the road for 13 days, causing her to suffer from severe dehydration. In 2000 she was placed under house arrest yet again for twenty months. One year after her release in May 2002, she was detained once more. At the moment she still lives under house arrest. Despite this terrible harship, she continues her struggle. In her own words, “the only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear.”