Aung San Suu Kyi: A Biography
Jesper Bengtsson presents a portrait of one of today’s most significant political activists. He chronicles her background as the daughter of Burma’s liberation hero Aung San, the years she spent in England and New York, and her return to Burma in the 1980s. First placed under house arrest by the military junta in 1989, she spent fifteen of the subsequent twenty-one years in captivity, separated from her husband and two children.
Throughout that period, she remained a unifying figure and activist for Burma’s democracy movement. Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, she saw her reputation and her international stature grow the longer she was under house arrest. Upon her release in November 2010, she immediately took up her work with the democracy movement and proved that she remains the most important political force in Burma.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s ability to affect people and repressive regimes reflects not only her personal charisma and courage but also her devotion to one of the great issues of our times: What is necessary for democracy to evolve from a deeply authoritarian system?
doubtful whether Aung San Suu Kyi would have involved herself as early as that. The streets were not her arena. “I am simply not the kind of person who joins demonstrations,” she said a few years afterward. “I admired the ones who did what they did, but it was a world I knew nothing about. I belonged to the silent majority who supported them.” On the other hand, she witnessed the effects of the junta’s brutality when mishandled and severely injured young people were admitted to the hospital. At
some extent it’s the same with Tunisia. The demonstrations seem to have changed things rather quickly, but you have to consider the long years it has taken for these countries to arrive at this point. But the military in Egypt decided not to shoot at the people. That’s very different from what happened in Burma.” The last time Aung San Suu Kyi was free, for almost two years in 2002 and 2003, she was allowed to continue her political work. NLD organized a number of tours in the country and tens
made a monumental statement against the military junta. Aung San Suu Kyi had not only succeeded with her election campaign during the months she was free to act politically, she had also received broad support for her nonviolent perspective. On the day of the election only a few outbreaks of violence were reported from the thousands of polling stations around the country. A closer analysis of the results showed that the NLD had won in regions where the military and their families were in great
costs to avoid extensive popular protests so they used a courtroom in the notorious Insein Prison. The room had a filthy stone floor and a roof but no walls. The two judges sat at the front on chairs with two-yard-high ornamented backs. It looked as though each of them was sitting on a royal throne. To the left of them sat Yettaw and his lawyer, and to the right, Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyers. There was no sign anywhere in the courtroom of a tape recorder, a court secretary, any books, or other
Bangkok met her after her release. He was received on the ground floor of the house on University Avenue in an eight-sided room with benches placed around the walls. Everything was decorated with traditional Burmese fabrics. At one end of the room, for some strange reason, stood a set of drums. After her second house arrest, her home had once again become a meeting place for those active in the party. When the diplomat asked Suu Kyi about the drums, she explained that the young people in the