Essay On The Life Of Aung San Suu Kyi

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Aung San Suu Kyi (born 19 June 1945, Yangon, Burma) was elected in 1990 as the Prime Minister of Burma. The Burmese military, who have governed Burma since 1962, did not let her political party, the National League for Democracy join the government. Suu Kyi was arrested and forced her to stay in her house and not have any visitors.

Since then she has brought democracy to her country using nonviolence. She is the leader of the National League for Democracy in Burma and a famous prisoner. Suu Kyi won the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize in 1990, and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. In 1992, she was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru peace prize by India for her culture of personality.

After elections in Burma in 2010, she was released from house arrest in November 2010. Suu Kyi was not allowed to take part in the 2010 election as the government banned anyone who had been arrested.

She is sometimes called Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Daw is not part of her name, but a title for older women. This name shows respect for her.[2]

Personal life[change | change source]

Aung San Suu Kyi was the third child in her family. Her name "Aung San" comes from her father, who is also named Aung San; "Kyi" comes from her mother; and "Suu" comes from her grandmother.[3]

Her father helped to make Burma independent from the United Kingdom in 1947. He was assassinated in the same year. She grew up with her mother, Khin Kyi, and two brothers, Aung San Lin and Aung San Oo in Yangon. Her favourite brother, Aung San Lin, drowned in a pool accident when Suu Kyi was eight.[3] Her other brother lives in San Diego, California and is an Americancitizen.[3]

Suu Kyi went to Catholic schools for much of her childhood in Burma. She learned English in school.

Khin Kyi became famous as a politician. She became the Burmese ambassador to India in 1960. Aung San Suu Kyi went to college in India at the Lady Shri Ram College for Women in New Delhi.[4] She continued her education at St Hugh's College, Oxford, and learned about philosophy, politics, and economics. She also went to the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in the 1980s.

She moved to New York and worked at the United Nations. In 1972, Aung San Suu Kyi married Michael Aris (1946-1999), a professor of Tibetan culture who lived in Bhutan. She had met Aris when they were both students at Oxford. In 1973, she gave birth to her first son, Alexander, in London; and in 1977 she had her second son, Kim.

Political beginnings[change | change source]

Aung San Suu Kyi returned to Burma in 1988 to take care of her sick mother. That year, the long-time leader of the socialist ruling party, General Nay Win, stopped being a politician. Many Burmese people wanted a democracy after the military ruled the country for several years.

She admired Mohandas Gandhi's philosophy of nonviolence.[5][6] She was also inspired by Buddhism.[7] Aung San Suu Kyi tried to work for democracy and helped make the National League for Democracy on 27 September 1988.

She was offered freedom if she left the country, but she refused.

House arrest and release[change | change source]

She was arrested in 1989 and placed in prison in 1990. This was after an election in which her party, then National League for Democracy, won, but was not allowed to be in charge of the country. Between 1990 and 2010, she was always in prison or at her home, which is called house arrest. Burma released her in November 2010. This made many countries and groups around the world very happy.[8] She was then arrested for violating her house arrest.

At all times, her dedication to her beliefs is evident. Her morals and beliefs are kept closely to her and used whenever confronted by a situation.

Political belief[change | change source]

Asked what democratic models Myanmar could look to, she said: "We have many, many lessons to learn from various places, not just the Asian countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Mongolia and Indonesia." She also cited "the eastern European countries, which made the transition from communist autocracy to democracy in the 1980s and 1990s, and the Latin American countries, which made the transition from military governments. "And we cannot of course forget South Africa, because although it wasn't a military regime, it was certainly an authoritarian regime." She added: "We wish to learn from everybody who has achieved a transition to democracy, and also ... our great strong point is that, because we are so far behind everybody else, we can also learn which mistakes we should avoid."[9]

Books[change | change source]

Authored[change | change source]

  • Letters from Burma (1998) with Fergal KeaneISBN 978-0140264036
  • The Voice of Hope (1998) with Alan Clements, ISBN 978-1888363838
  • Freedom from Fear and Other Writings (1995) with Václav Havel, Desmond M. Tutu, and Michael Aris, ISBN 978-0140253177
  • Der Weg zur Freiheit (1999) with U Kyi Maung, U Tin Oo, ISBN 978-3404614356
  • Letter to Daniel: Despatches from the Heart (1996) by Fergal Keane, foreword by Aung San Suu Kyi, edited by Tony Grant ISBN 978-0140262896
  • Burma's Revolution of the Spirit: The Struggle for Democratic Freedom and Dignity (1994) with Alan Clements, Leslie Kean, The Dalai Lama, Sein Win ISBN 978-0893815806
  • Aung San of Burma: A Biographical Portrait by His Daughter (1991) ISBN 978-1870838801, 2nd edition 1995
  • Aung San (Leaders of Asia Series) (1990) ISBN 978-9990288834
  • Burma and India: Some aspects of intellectual life under colonialism (1990) ISBN 978-8170231349
  • Bhutan (Let's Visit Series) (1986) ISBN 978-0222010995
  • Nepal (Let's Visit Series) (1985) ISBN 978-0222009814
  • Burma (Let's Visit Series) (1985) ISBN 978-0222009791

Edited[change | change source]

Mentioned in[change | change source]

  • Aung San Suu Kyi (Modern Peacemakers) (2007) by Judy L. Hasday, ISBN 978-0791094358
  • The Lady: Aung San Suu Kyi: Nobel Laureate and Burma's Prisoner (2002) by Barbara Victor, ISBN 978-0571211777, or 1998 hardcover: ISBN 978-0571199440
  • Perfect Hostage: A Life of Aung San Suu Kyi (2007) by Justin Wintle, ISBN 978-0091796815
  • Tyrants: The World's 20 Worst Living Dictators (2006) by David Wallechinsky, ISBN 978-0060590048
  • Aung San Suu Kyi (Trailblazers of the Modern World) (2004) by William Thomas, ISBN 978-0836852639
  • No Logo: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs (2002) by Naomi KleinISBN 978-0312421434
  • Mental culture in Burmese crisis politics: Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy (ILCAA Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa Monograph Series) (1999) by Gustaaf Houtman, ISBN 978-4872977486
  • Aung San Suu Kyi: Standing Up for Democracy in Burma (Women Changing the World) (1998) by Bettina Ling ISBN 978-1558611979
  • Aung San Suu Kyi: Fearless Voice of Burma (Newsmakers Biographies Series) (1997) by Whitney Stewart, ISBN 978-0822549314
  • Prisoner for Peace: Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma's Struggle for Democracy (Champions of Freedom Series) (1994) by John Parenteau, ISBN 978-1883846053
  • Des femmes prix Nobel de Marie Curie à Aung San Suu Kyi, 1903-1991 (1992) by Charlotte Kerner, Nicole Casanova, Gidske Anderson, ISBN 978-2721004277
  • Aung San Suu Kyi, towards a new freedom (1998) by Chin Geok Ang ISBN 978-9814024303
  • Aung San Suu Kyi's struggle: Its principles and strategy (1997) by Mikio Oishi ISBN 978-9839861068
  • Finding George Orwell in Burma (2004) by Emma Larkin ISBN 1594-20052-1

Awards[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]

Nobel Prize[change | change source]

  1. "Aung San Suu Kyi". Desert Island Discs.
  2. "Myanmar Family Roles and Social Relationships". Government of Myanmar. Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  3. Bio Details. Quote: 1945: 19 June. Aung San Suu Kyi born in Yangon, third child in family. "Aung San" for father, "Kyi" for mother, "Suu" for grandmother, also day of week of birth. Favourite brother is to drown tragically at an early age. The older brother, will settle in San Diego, California, becoming United States citizen.
  4. "Aung San Suu Kyi — Biography". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 4 May 2006. 
  5. "Profile: Aung San Suu Kyi". BBC News Online. 25 May 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-26. 
  6. "The Nobel Peace Prize 1991 Presentation Speech". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2007-05-26. 
  7. ↑Mental culture in Burmese crisis politics: Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy (ILCAA Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa Monograph Series) (1999) by Gustaaf Houtman, ISBN 978-4872977486
  8. "Celebrations as Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi released". BBC News Online. 13 November 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2010. 
  9. ↑Myanmar's Suu Kyi ends US trip, hailing democracy, AFP, Oct 3, 2012
  10. ↑US Senate honours Burma's Suu Kyi - BBC News 2008-04-25
  11. "CBS News Journalist Lesley Stahl to Deliver Colgate's 2008 Commencement Address". 2008-02-21. Retrieved 2008-05-18. 

Aung San Suu Kyi Home l Biography l References


Aung San Suu Kyi Biography

Early Life l Political Life



Early Life


Aung San Suu Kyi as a child (far left)


Aung San Suu Kyi was born on June 19th, 1945, in Rangoon, the capital of Burma. Suu Kyi was the youngest of three children - she had two brothers, Aung San Lin, who died at a young age in a swimming accident, and Aung San Oo, who migrated to the San Diego, California and became a citizen of the United States. Her father, Aung San, was a leading military general who orchestrated Burma’s independence from the United Kingdom and raised the Burmese army. Her father was assassinated on July 19th, 1947, when Suu Kyi was only two years old. After her father’s murder and the establishment of the new independent Burmese government on January 4th, 1948, Suu Kyi’s mother, Daw Khin Kyi, became a prominent figure in politics, working for the External Affairs Ministry.


Suu Kyi was educated through the English Catholic school system in Burma for 15 years, until 1960, when her mother was chosen to be the Burmese ambassador to India. Daw Khin Kyi took her daughter with her to New Delhi where she attended and graduated from Lady Shri Ram College of Delhi University. 
In 1964, Suu Kyi went to England to further her education; and in 1967 she received a B.A. degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from St. Hugh’s College of Oxford Academy. Then in 1969, Suu Kyi went to in New York City to continue with her studies, but postponed them in order to work as the Assistant Secretary at the U.N. Secretariat.

Aung San Suu Kyi and her future husband Michael Aris


She left New York in 1971, and in 1972 she married Michael Aris, a Tibetan culture scholar whom she had met while studying in England. Suu Kyi and Aris had two sons together, Alexander, in 1972, and Kim, in 1977.  She remained in England until 1985, when she continued her studies at Kyoto University in Japan for a year and completed her fellowship at the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies in Shimla, India in 1987.


Finally, in 1988, Aung San Suu Kyi returned to Burma to care for her ailing mother.  



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Political Life


Aung San Suu Kyi speaking to her supporters (1988)


In 1988, while Aung San Suu Kyi was in Burma taking care of her mother, Burma’s military dictator since 1962, General Ne Win, resigned on July 23rd – prompting pro-democracy protests throughout the country. On August 8th, there was a nation-wide uprising that the military junta in power suppressed by killing thousands of demonstrates.


Suu Kyi’s first political action was sending an open letter to the Burmese government “asking for formation of independent consultative committee to prepare multi-party elections.” * However, the militaristic government instead created the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) which prohibited the rights of the Burmese people – limiting the number of people could gather to discuss politics and arrests and/or prosecution without a trial are reinstated. Despite the attempts of complete government control by the military junta, on September 24th, the National League for Democracy (NLD) was formed, with Aung San Suu Kyi as its Secretary-General.


On January 2nd, 1989, after attending her mother’s funeral (Daw Khin Kyi died on December 27th, 1988, due to her ailing health), Aung San Suu Kyi announced “that as her father and mother had served the people of Burma, so too would she, even unto death.” * She then, defying the laws set in place by the SLORC, travelled throughout the country delivering speeches in support of democracy. On July 20th, however, Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest at her home in Rangoon – she would remain there until July 10th, 1995. During her imprisonment, despite being unable to run, Suu Kyi’s party, the NLD, won the May 27th, 1990, democratic elections by 82% – the military junta however, refused to acknowledge the results and remained in power. During this time she was also awarded a number of human rights awards – including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, which her sons Alexander and Kim accepted on her behalf.


From 1995 to 2000, Suu Kyi continued her campaign for a democratic Burma, despite being under strict “supervision,” threats from the government, and the loss of her husband in 1999 to prostate cancer. Yet on September 23rd, 2000, she was placed back under house arrest until May 6th, 2002. Throughout the next eight years, Suu Kyi was constantly fighting for a democratic Burma, despite being placed back under house arrest on May 6th, 2003.


Aung San Suu Kyi waving to her supporters on the day of her release (Nov. 13th, 2010)


Finally on November 13th, 2010, Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest, having missed the first democratic elections since 1990, once again.


* "Aung San Suu Kyi - Biography"



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