Aung San Suu Kyi – portrait of a global democracy icon

Aung San Suu Kyi - portrait of a global democracy icon 0

Aung San Suu Kyi – portrait of a global democracy icon

Aung San Suu Kyi (center) was just two years old when her father was murdered.

Aung San Suu Kyi was born on June 19, 1945 in Rangoon (now Yangon).

In 1960, she came to India with her mother Khin Kyi, who was appointed Myanmar ambassador in Delhi.

`I wanted to make sure he knew from the beginning that my country means a lot to me, and if I need to return to Myanmar, he should not try to come between my country and me,` Suu Kyi said.

After living and working in Japan and Bhutan, she settled in England to raise her two children, Alexander and Kim, but Myanmar was always on her mind.

When she returned to Yangon in 1988 to care for her seriously ill mother, Myanmar was in the midst of great political upheaval.

`As my father’s daughter, I cannot ignore what is going on,` she said in a speech in Yangon on August 26, 1988.

However, the protests were dispersed by the military – who took power after a coup on September 18, 1988.

In May 1990, the military government held national elections, Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party won, however, the government refused to hand over control.

She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, and her son accepted it on her behalf.

Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest in Yangon for six years, until her release in July 1995.

She was released unconditionally in May 2002, but just over a year later she was in prison, following a clash between her supporters and a government-backed mob.

During her time in detention, Ms. Suu Kyi immersed herself in research and physical exercise.

But during her early years in detention, she was often isolated.

Her final period of house arrest ended in November 2010 and her son Kim Aris was allowed to visit her for the first time in a decade.

Aung San Suu Kyi - portrait of a global democracy icon

Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi.

In early February 2011, the Myanmar National Assembly elected Mr. Thein Sein as civilian president.

That May, she left Myanmar for the first time in 24 years, going to Thailand, and then Europe.

That year, Ms. Suu Kyi talked about her regret at not being able to spend more time with her family.

`I want to see my son grow up. But I have no hesitation about the fact that I have to choose to stay with my people,` she said.

This year, the first general election was held in Myanmar after the civilian government replaced the military government four years ago.

Even if the NLD wins the polls, Aung San Suu Kyi is still barred from becoming president, due to a constitutional provision that bars anyone with a foreign spouse or child from holding office.

See more: Is Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi standing ‘above the president’ as claimed

Although her party received a lot of support, she also received some criticism.

She also offended some foreign supporters over religious issues.

Aung San Suu Kyi - portrait of a global democracy icon

Crowds welcome Aung San Suu Kyi when her house arrest ended in 2010. Photo: AFP

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