Aung San Suu Kyi Myanmar Democracy Icon Who Fell From Grace


Aung San Suu Kyi Myanmar Democracy Icon Who Fell From Grace

She was once seen as a beacon for human rights – a principled activist who gave up her freedom to challenge the ruthless army generals who ruled Myanmar for decades.

In 1991, Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, while still under house arrest, and hailed as “an outstanding example of the power of the powerless”.

At home Myanmar’s now de facto leader remains hugely popular with the country’s Buddhist majority.

But internationally her response to the Rohingya crisis has precipitated a fall from grace that few had predicted.

Path to power

Ms Suu Kyi spent nearly 15 years in detention between 1989 and 2010. Her personal struggle to bring democracy to then military-ruled Myanmar (also known as Burma) – made her an international symbol of peaceful resistance in the face of oppression.

In November 2015 she led the National League for Democracy (NLD) to a landslide victory in Myanmar’s first openly contested election for 25 years.

The Myanmar constitution forbids her from becoming president because she has children who are foreign nationals. But Ms Suu Kyi, now 75, is widely seen as de facto leader.

Her official title is state counsellor. The President, Win Myint, is a close aide.

Political pedigree

Ms Suu Kyi is the daughter of Myanmar’s independence hero, General Aung San.

He was assassinated when she was only two years old, just before Myanmar gained independence from British colonial rule in 1948.

In 1960 she went to India with her mother Daw Khin Kyi, who had been appointed Myanmar’s ambassador in Delhi.

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Four years later she went to Oxford University in the UK, where she studied philosophy, politics and economics. There she met her future husband, academic Michael Aris.

After stints of living and working in Japan and Bhutan, she settled in the UK to raise their two children, Alexander and Kim, but Myanmar was never far from her thoughts.

Aung San Suu Kyi Myanmar Democracy Icon Who Fell From Grace


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