La Casa —  Aung San Suu Kyi

The House — Aung San Suu Kyi

We present to you this week, the portrait of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese symbol, which represents the yellow color of our house wool, CASA .

Aung San Suu Kyi was born on June 19, 1945 in the Burmese capital, Rangoon. Her name is an amalgamation of the names of her father (Aung San), grandmother (Suu) and mother (Kyi). Young Suu Kyi faced death very early in her life. Her father, General Aung San, a true national hero at the origin of the negotiations for the dependency of Burma, was assassinated by enemies of the opposition when she was only 2 years old. Six years later, his younger brother Aung San Lin drowned in a small lake near the family residence.

In 1960, his mother, Daw Khin Kyi, who had also become a public figure since the death of her husband, was appointed Burmese ambassador to India. After studying in Burma and then in India, Suu Kyi moved to Oxford, where she followed brilliant higher education studies in philosophy, politics and economics. Her studies opened the door to the United Nations in 1967, in New York, where she worked for three years. There she met her husband, Dr. Michael Aris, passionate about Tibetan culture and established in Bhutan, as guardian of the children of the royal family. Back in London, Aung San Suu Kyi gave birth to two children in 1973 and 1977 while preparing her doctorate in Oriental and African studies.

In the 1980s, she shared her life between London, India and Burma. It was in 1988 that she returned to settle in Burma on a more permanent basis, to take care of her aging and ill mother. It is by seeing the confusion that reigned in her country, that she understands that her life is about to change radically and takes the oath to serve the Burmese people, just as her parents had done in the past. Suu Kyi makes the decision to dedicate her life to fighting for freedom for her home country. By devoting herself totally to Burma, she also accepts to sacrifice other aspects of her life that are dear to her, such as the chance to see her husband one last time before he dies of cancer in London in 1999, or the opportunity to see your children grow up. Separation from her husband and children was one of the many sacrifices she made to fulfill her promise to free her people.

At this time, the Burmese leader lost more and more power to a new military junta. Shortly before the armed seizure of power by the latter, Aung San Suu Kyi addresses the Burmese population and calls for the return of democracy and the freedom of the people. Unfortunately, this is not enough to stop the violence and nothing can prevent the bloody military coup that threatened. Repression begins, the human toll is catastrophic (the number of deaths is estimated at 10,000, during the months of September and October 1988). Aung San Suu Kyi calls for international solidarity but Burma's neighboring states cut all ties with the country. It was then that Suu Kyi decided to found in September 1988, alongside other supporters, the NLD (National League for Democracy), and that she made her first speech in favor of democracy. Gaining many followers across Burma, she was arrested in July 1989 and, faced with her refusal to leave the country, was placed under house arrest. Under pressure from the people, legislative elections were organized in 1990 and won by the NLD, but the military junta invalidated the results. In response, the international community awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to Aung San Suu Kyi in 1991.

From 1989, Aung San Suu Kyi spent the majority of the next twenty-one years under house arrest. The rare periods when the power leaves her free, she continues her speeches for democracy while undergoing many pressures: attempted assassination, imprisonment of her friends, until the refusal of the Burmese government to let her dying husband into the country. . Aung San Suu Kyi was finally released definitively in 2010. In 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi was authorized to stand in the legislative elections and was elected as a member of parliament. She then sits in Parliament, her mandate having been officially recognized by the power in place. The same year, she made her first trip abroad in more than twenty years. In 2013, she affirmed her intention to participate in the Burmese presidential election of 2015. Her party won the legislative elections of November 2015.

After her party's victory in the elections, Aung San Suu Kyi decided to place a close friend: Htin Hyaw, in the position of president. She could not indeed access the supreme magistracy herself, because an article of the Constitution, inherited from the junta, prohibits this possibility for anyone with children of foreign nationality. However, his two sons are British. Chosen for his loyalty proven over the years, including during the long years of house arrest of the opponent, Htin Hyaw assumes his role as understudy of the one who promised to be “above the president”. With the Constitution of a government which took office on April 1, 2016 at the same time as the president, the country will be able to turn the page on decades of junta, even if the military retains an important political role.

The Burmese, who participated en masse in the legislative elections of November 8, 2015, are impatiently awaiting the implementation of a new policy responsible for transforming a country ruined by nearly fifty years of military dictatorship.

Aung San Suu Kyi is a true modern-day heroine. His fight for the freedom of his people evokes that led by other great leaders of the 20th century, including Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. His recent political triumph at the polls, made possible by a partial opening of the Burmese regime, is the culmination of 25 years of self-sacrifice and courage.

(Sources: radio-canada – Wikipedia – l’Internaute – Womens International Center – Le Nouvel Observateur – Le Monde)

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