Aung San Suu Kyi
Myanmar opposition leader, daughter of Aung San (a martyred national
hero of independent Burma) and Khin Kyi (a prominent Burmese diplomat),
and winner in 1991 of the Nobel Prize for Peace.
Aung San Suu Kyi was two years old when her father, then the de facto
prime minister of what would shortly become independent Burma, was assassinated.
She attended schools in Burma until 1960, when her mother was appointed
ambassador to India. After further study in India, she attended the
University of Oxford, where she met her future husband. She had two
children and lived a rather quiet life until 1988, when she returned
to Myanmar to nurse her dying mother. There the mass slaughter of protesters
against the brutal and unresponsive rule of the military strongman Ne
Win led her to speak out against him and to begin a nonviolent struggle
for democracy and human rights. The newly formed group with which she
became affiliated, the National League for Democracy , won more than
80 percent of the parliamentary seats that were contested in 1990, but
the results of that election were ignored by the military government.
Aung San Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest and held incommunicado
from July 1989. The military offered to free her if she agreed to leave
Myanmar, but she refused to do so until the country was returned to
civilian government and political prisoners were freed. She was freed
from house arrest in July 1995.