Monday, 8 June 2009

‘The Perfect Hostage’

I am currently reading Justin Wintle’s biography of Aung San Suu Kyi entitled ‘The Perfect Hostage’.

Aung San Suu Kyi has, of course, become an iconic figure in the struggle for democracy in Burma. She is currently in her thirteenth year of detention spanning several house arrests. The latest house arrest commenced in 2003 after the Burma regime’s militia attacked her convoy and killed up to 100 of her supporters.

Her poise and dignity is reminiscent of that of Nelson Mandela. She was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1991 and has been opposing Burma’s brutal military regime since 1988. Her steadfast opposition to the military regime and her promotion of democracy has, of course, landed her in desperate hot water.

In the 1960s she studied at Oxford University (nobody’s perfect I suppose!). Her British parents are Lord and Lady Gore-Booth. Lord Gore-Booth was, of course, former British Ambassador to Burma as well as High Commissioner in India. It was at their home that she met Michael Arris, an Oxford student of Tibetan civilisation, whom she married.

Their separation while he was in Oxford and she was in Burma, and the Burmese regimes callous and ruthless refusal to allow him an entry permit to Burma during his fatal illness, amply demonstrated the lack of humanity of the Burmese regime on an individual issue which has been amply demonstrated elsewhere across the board.

She has repeatedly rejected offers to free her if she will leave Burma and withdraw from politics – a measure of her commitment and integrity.

She has discouraged tourists from visiting the country and entrepreneurs from investing in Burma until it is free.

Ultimately, no doubt, Burma will be free and in no small measure due to the quite emphatic dignity of Aung San Suu Kyi.

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