In 1990 the National League for Democracy led by Aung San Suu Kyi won elections in Burma by a landslide. The military refused to accept the result.
Aung San Suu Kyi leads the pro-democracy movement against the repressive military regime. She is strongly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi and is a strong believer in non violence. She has been detained at her home for 12 of the past 18 years. She has no telephone and little contact with the outside world.
She has said that "fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it." She has won the Nobel Peace Prize and The Sakharov Prize.
Protests erupted on August 19th when the Government raised fuel prices. Demonstrations have been gaining in momentum. In their biggest march yet, at least 5,000 Buddhist monks walked Mandalay today (Saturday). Some estimates put the marchers at nearly 10,000.
It is estimated that there were several thousand onlookers on both sides of their route.
Witnesses say Aung San Suu Kyi, who remains under house arrest, came to the gates of her University Avenue compound, where the monks said prayers before leaving. The fact that the monks have been able to get through the barricades to pay Aung San Suu Kyi a visit is highly significant and indicates that the military regime is afraid to crack down too hard on the protesters for fear of triggering a massive popular revolt. In 1988 3,000 people were killed when soldiers fired on protesters. There are some 1,100 pro-democracy activists being held in jail or under house arrest throughout the country.
The following quotation from Aung San Suu Kyi gives an insight into her sufferings "Sometimes I didn't even have enough money to eat. I became so weak from malnourishment that my hair fell out, and I couldn't get out of bed." What a sad testimony to the barbarism of the military junta.
In his book, "Courage: Eight Portraits" (Bloomsbury), British Prime Minister Gordon Brown states:
"So Suu Kyi's courage is the courage to sacrifice her own happiness and a comfortable life so that, through her struggle, she might win the right of an entire nation to seek happy and comfortable lives. It is the absolute expression of selflessness. Paradoxically, in sacrificing her own liberty, she strengthens its cry and bolsters its claim for the people she represents."
Aung San Suu Kyi is a heroine extraordinaire.