As India celebrated the 40th birthday of one of its most charismatic politicians, Rahul Gandhi, the rest of the world was marking a different one. Aung San Suu Kyi celebrated her 65th birthday on Saturday, still in confinement.
Previously, the British ruled Burma, or Myanmar. After World War II, it became an independent republic for over a decade. However, since 1962, Burma has come under military rule. The military rule in the country has been associated with suppression of human rights. The military heavily restrict the activities of the major political parties of Burma. The military is also responsible for turning Burma into one of the world’s poorest countries. There are over 2000 political prisoners in Burma, in addition to Dr. Suu Kyi. Another round of elections is due to be held later this year. While many hope that this coming election is fought fair, Dr. Suu Kyi has been declared as unable to participate in them by the said government.
Aung San Suu Kyi is one of the major opposers to this rule. She is the Prime Minister-elect of Burma and a pro-democracy activist. She was elected Prime Minister in the 1990 general elections. The results of this election were quashed after her political party won a clear majority of the votes. She has since spent about 15 years under house arrest sparking the attention and anger of several world leaders.
Influenced by her Buddhist upbringing and Gandhiji’s policy of non-violence, Dr. Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 to honor her ‘non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights.’ She has received several more awards over the past 20 years while still in imprisonment.
Through the odds, Dr. Suu Kyi is an inspiration to everyone. She once explained how fear, rather than power, corrupts a person. She refused to leave her country, even when granted permission, because she would not be allowed back in. She vowed to serve her people till her death. Moreover, she has a steadfast faith in non-violence. She is a person who can and will work wonders for the Burmese upon release. As the pressure for her release ever mounts the world over, let us hope that she will win her war against her tyrants and succeed in getting Burma the freedom it deserves.
The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.