Aung San Suu Kyi, 76, remains steadfast despite persecution

She now faces a slew of charges that could land her in jail for many more years and prevent her from ever running again for office

Aung San Suu Kyi in 2013 - CLAUDE TRUONG-NGOC/WIKIPEDIA

Following in the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, all of whom were icons holding steadfastly to their convictions against injustices, Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi is probably the most well-known prisoner of conscience today.

Suu Kyi shot to prominence in 1988, when she emerged as leader of the Burmese democratic movement, helming the leadership of her party, the National League for Democracy. But between 1989 and 2010, she spent a total of 15 years under house arrest.

The 1991 Nobel Laureate has made immeasurable personal sacrifices at great personal cost. She has steadfastly and consistently opposed Myanmar’s brutal military regime from 1988 until her party clinched power in 2015.

Faced with intimidation, persecution and an attempt on her life in 2003, Suu Kyi has displayed courage, resilience and determination in the struggle for freedom and dignity for her people.  

Despite her international image taking a hit in the wake of the Rohingya crisis, many still admire her exemplary fortitude in the face of renewed military persecution and her arrest on 1 February. Now she faces a slew of charges that could land her in jail for many more years and prevent her from running again for office.

Today, 19 June 2021, is Suu Kyi’s 76 birthday. We join millions of Myanmarese in paying tribute to this beacon of strength in adversity, who has inspired her people in their struggle for freedom from military oppression.

Let’s keep her and the people of Myanmar in our thoughts and prayers. May Almighty God continue to watch over and protect her.

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Benedict Lopez was director of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority in Stockholm and economics counsellor at the Malaysian embassy there in 2010-2014. He covered all five Nordic countries in the course of his work. A pragmatic optimist and now an Aliran member, he believes Malaysia can provide its people with the same benefits and privileges found in the Nordic countries - not a far-fetched dream but one that he hopes will be realised in his lifetime
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