18 October 2012 - Aung San Suu Kyi


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Quote of the day:

"One of our problems is that we often forget to look up


until something comes along that lays us flat on our backs."


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Aung San Suu Kyi -


 Burmese Freedom Fighter


Born 19 June 1945





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 G’day guys,

I have been to Burma, Myanmar, several times as a photographer. It is a photographer’s delight. The people are wonderful and the beauty of the country is stunning. Anyone who has been there will know what I’m saying. However, according to the US Central Intelligence Agency it is, a resource-rich country that suffers from pervasive government controls, inefficient economic policies, corruption, and rural poverty. Despite Burma's emergence as a natural gas exporter, socio-economic conditions have deteriorated under the mismanagement of the previous regime. Approximately 32% of the population lives in poverty and Burma is the poorest country in Southeast Asia. The business climate is widely perceived as opaque, corrupt, and highly inefficient. Wealth from the country's ample natural resources is concentrated in the hands of an elite group of military leaders and business associates.”

Today I want to highlight a woman I’ve followed for a long time. I call her a freedom fighter – Aung San Suu Kyi. She is a Burmese opposition politician and chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD). In the 1990 general election the NLD won 59% of the national vote and 81% of the seats in the Burmese parliament. However, she had already been detained under house arrest and went on to spend the next 15 years in home detention until her release on 13 November 2010.

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Suu Kyi received the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. In 1992 she was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding by the government of India and the International Simón Bolívar Prize from the government of Venezuela. In 2007, the Government of Canada made her an honorary citizen of that country; at the time, she was one of only four people ever to receive the honor. In 2011, she was awarded the Wallenberg Medal. On September 19, 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi was also presented with the Congressional Gold Medal, which is, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States.

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On 1 April 2012, her party, the National League for Democracy, announced that she was elected to the Pyithu Hluttaw, the lower house of the Burmese parliament, representing the constituency of Kawhmu; her party also won 43 of the 45 vacant seats in the lower house.The election results were confirmed by the official electoral commission the following day.

Suu Kyi is the third child and only daughter of Aung San, considered to be the father of modern-day Burma. Her father founded the modern Burmese army and negotiated Burma's independence from the British Empire in 1947; he was assassinated by his rivals in the same year. She grew up with her mother, Khin Kyi, and two brothers, Aung San Lin and Aung San Oo, in Rangoon. Aung San Lin died at the age of eight, when he drowned in an ornamental lake on the grounds of the house. Her elder brother immigrated to San Diego, California, becoming a United States citizen. After Aung San Lin's death, the family moved to a house by Inya Lake where Suu Kyi met people of very different backgrounds, political views and religions. She was educated in Methodist English High School (now Basic Education High School No. 1 Dagon) for much of her childhood in Burma, where she was noted as having a talent for learning languages.

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Suu Kyi's mother, Khin Kyi, gained prominence as a political figure in the newly formed Burmese government. She was appointed Burmese ambassador to India and Nepal in 1960, and Aung San Suu Kyi followed her there, she studied in the Convent of Jesus and Mary School, New Delhi and graduated from Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi with a degree in politics in 1964. Suu Kyi continued her education at St Hugh's College, Oxford, obtaining a B.A. degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in 1969. According to a classmate, Suu Kyi fell in love with Tariq Hyder, a Pakistani student, during her second year in Oxford. Their relationship was not well received by her circle of friends and it soon ended. After graduating, she lived in New York City with a family friend Ma Than E, who was once a popular Burmese pop singer. She worked at the United Nations for three years, primarily on budget matters, writing daily to her future husband, Dr. Michael Aris. In late 1971, Aung San Suu Kyi married Aris, a scholar of Tibetan culture, living abroad in Bhutan. The following year she gave birth to their first son, Alexander Aris, in London; their second son, Kim, was born in 1977. Subsequently, she earned a PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in 1985. She was elected as an Honorary Fellow in 1990.For two years she was a Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS) in Shimla, India. She also worked for the government of the Union of Burma.

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Past history:

In 1988 Suu Kyi returned to Burma, at first to tend for her ailing mother but later to lead the pro-democracy movement. Aris' visit in Christmas 1995 turned out to be the last time that he and Suu Kyi met, as Suu Kyi remained in Burma and the Burmese dictatorship denied him any further entry visas. Aris was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997 which was later found to be terminal. Despite appeals from prominent figures and organizations, including the United States, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Pope John Paul II, the Burmese government would not grant Aris a visa, saying that they did not have the facilities to care for him, and instead urged Aung San Suu Kyi to leave the country to visit him. She was at that time temporarily free from house arrest but was unwilling to depart, fearing that she would be refused re-entry if she left, as she did not trust the military junta's assurance that she could return.

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Aris died on his 53rd birthday on 27 March 1999. Since 1989, when his wife was first placed under house arrest, he had seen her only five times, the last of which was for Christmas in 1995. She was also separated from her children, who live in the United Kingdom, but starting in 2011, they have visited her in Burma.

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NB: Video: Aung San Suu Kyi's acceptance speech


for the Nobel Peace Prize, June 16th 2012 in Norway:


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http://youtu.be/HUPfkNXpZvQ

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Clancy's comment: I take my hat off to a woman who has fought so hard for democracy. Sadly, many of us in the world take our freedoms lightly.


I guess the photograph below sums up Burma's future - two novice monks, mates, sticking together during rugged times.



I'm Clancy Tucker.


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