~Aung San Suu Kyi - A Potent Symbol in History~

Family background
Aung San Suu Kyi was born on 19th June in Rangoon. She is the third child and only daughter Burma's well known independence hero, Aung San. He was assassinated when she was just two years old. Her mother, Khin Kyi,

Early Life
Suu Kyi grew up with her mother Khin Kyi and her two brothers Aung San Lin and Aung San Oo in Rangoon. The family moved near Inya Lake soon after her Brother Lin's death. She attended Methodist English High School and seemed to have a talent for learning different languages.
Khin Kyi became a prominent political figure in the Burmese government and was appointed Burmese ambassador to India and Nepal in 1960. Suu Kyi accompanied her mother there, graduating from Lady Shri Ram College with a degree in politics in 1964.
In 1969, she had obtained a degree in philosophy, politics and economics from St. Hugh's College, Oxford. While she was studying at Oxford, she met her future husband Michael Aris. They married in 1972 and gave birth to two sons, Alexander and Kim.

Influences
Aung San Suu Kyi has stated before that she is influenced by Mahatma Ghandi's philosophy of non - violence and other Buddhist concepts, as her religion is Theravada Buddhist. It is also obvious that her parents made a significant influence on her at a young age, especially with her father being such a renowned political figure.

Career/ occupation and major noteworthy achievements
In 1969, Aung San Suu Kyi lived in New York and worked at the UN for three years as an assistant secretary, later becoming the General Secretary at the National League for Democracy (NLD). She has been placed under house arrest numerous times by the SLORC (State Order and Restoration Council) since she began her political career. Her arrest has been condemned all over the world, as it is clear its reasoning is both unjust and immoral.
She has received the following honours and awards for her many distinguished achievements:
  • Rafto prize for human rights - 1990
  • Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought - 1990
  • Nobel Peace Prize - 1991
  • Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding from the government of India - 1992
  • International Simón Bolívar Prize from government of Venezuela - 1992
  • Government of Canada made her an honorary citizen - 2007

Legacy and impact of her for history; why did she make history?
Aung San Suu Kyi is one of the world's most renown freedom fighters and advocates of non-violence, being the figurehead of the pro-democracy movement and the leader of the National League for Democracy. She is acclaimed for giving many memorable and inspiring speeches that have called for freedom and democracy. Despite being detained, Suu Kyi has been a fixture on her country's political scene for the past two decades.
The generals are constantly trying to manage the anger of both the international community and the people of Burma. The pressure that the international community placed on the Burmese government to release Aung San Suu Kyi finally succeeded, so it is important to note that this international pressure could help Burma make other significant achievements in the future.

Timeline
1945:
June 19. Aung San Suu Kyi born in Rangoon
1947:
July 19. Her father, General Aung San assassinated.
1964-67:
Studies at t St. Hugh's College where she meets Michael Aris.
1969-71:
Moves to New York, joins U.N. as Assistant Secretary.
1972:
January 1. Marries Michael Aris
1973:
Birth of their son Alexander in London.
1977:
Birth of second son, Kim at Oxford.
1988:
September 24. Co-founds the National League for Democracy (NLD), becomes the party's general secretary
1989:
July 20. Suu Kyi placed under house arrest, without charge or trial.
1990:
May 27. NLD wins election with 82% of parliamentary seats. Military junta refuses to recognise results.
October 12. Suu Kyi granted 1990 Rafto Human Rights Prize.
1991:
July 10. European Parliament awards Suu Kyi Sakharov human rights prize.
October 14. Norwegian Nobel Committee announces Suu Kyi is winner of 1991 Peace Prize.
1995:
July 10. Suu Kyi released from house arrest after six years of detention.
1999:
March 27. Suu Kyi's husband dies of cancer; she had not seen him for four years.
2000:
September - Placed under house arrest for second time.
2002:
May 6. Released from house arrest.
2003:
May - Imprisoned following a violent clash between NLD and junta supporters.
September - Allowed home, but under house arrest.
2007:
May - House arrest extended by one year.
2008:
May - House arrest extended for another year.
2009:
Charged with breaking detention rules after American John Yettaw swims, uninvited, to her compound.
August - Sentenced to a further 18 months of house arrest.
2010:
13 November - The detention order expires, Suu Kyi is released.

Map of her life
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Primary Sources
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Source 1. - Supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi protesting at Myanmar embassy Tokyo, Friday 31st July
This source shows the level of international support and recognition Aung San Suu Kyi received during her house arrest. She is perceived as a national icon for human rights and democracy, with many protestors that demanded her immediate release. It tells historians that her career has made a massive impact on society, with people (not just in Burma)who were outraged at the Burmese regime's use of any pretext that could be used as an excuse to extend her unlawful detention. It gives us the impression that this woman has spent a significant amount of time in jail, therefore unable to fulfil her full potential as a political opposition leader and bring change to Burma's corrupt government.

Source 2. - Statement by Barack Obama on Aung San Suu Kyi’s House Arrest and Detention
"I call on the Burmese government to release National League for Democracy Secretary General and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi from detention immediately and unconditionally. I strongly condemn her house arrest and detention, which have also been condemned around the world. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has issued opinions affirming that the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi dating back to 2003 is arbitrary, unjustified, and in contravention of Burma’s own law, and the United Nations Security Council reaffirmed on May 22 their concern about the situation and called for the release of all political prisoners.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s continued detention, isolation, and show trial based on spurious charges cast serious doubt on the Burmese regime’s willingness to be a responsible member of the international community. This is an important opportunity for the government in Burma to demonstrate that it respects its own laws and its own people, is ready to work with the National League for Democracy and other ethnic and opposition groups, and is prepared to move toward reconciliation.
By her actions, Aung San Suu Kyi has represented profound patriotism, sacrifice, and the vision of a democratic and prosperous Burma. It is time for the Burmese government to drop all charges against Aung San Suu Kyi and unconditionally release her and her fellow political prisoners. Such an action would be an affirmative and significant step on Burma’s part to begin to restore its standing in the eyes of the United States and the world community and to move toward a better future for its people."

The following source from U.S President Obama reinforces the idea that Aung San Suu Kyi's detainment is unjustified and unlawful. It implies that her career has been extremely tedious over the years, with her detainment interfering with her ability to properly challenge the Burmese government. It reveals to historians that she has spent the majority of her political career imprisoned. The source, also stating that she has represented profound 'patriotism and sacrifice', demonstrates how Aung San Suu Kyi is a determined, strong willed and motivated woman who has sacrifced a lot for her country. The fact that this source has come from the U.S president, clearly proves that Aung San Suu Kyi has made a massive impact on a lot of people around the world, even people this powerful.

Source 3 - Photograph of Aung San Suu Kyi
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This source is a photograh of Aung San Suu Kyi in her national dress. It demonstrates her appreciation of her Southeast Asian culture and that she is a proud, patriotic woman.
Despite being educated overseas and marrying an English man, she almost always chooses to wear the Burmese national dress. This strongly implies to historians that she is a nationalist fighting for the restoration of Burma's corrupt government. It also tells us that despite living in this modern, technological age, Suu Kyi still intends to continue on the traditions that form an important base in Burma's history.
This photograph of her is also a stark contrast to the army rulers who dress in military attire and give off impressions of masculinity and power. Suu Kyi appears as a somewhat frail, feminine looking woman, not as one would expect such an influential, prominent and strong political figure to look like.

The information deduced from each of the following sources provide us with certain perspectives on Aung San Suu Kyi. The first source influences us to think of her as a renowned and influential figure in not just Burmese society, but all around the world. It projects a slight admirational feeling towards this woman, as the people in the picture so clearly feel that way towards her. The second source gives us an insight to what Barack Obama feels about the issue of her detainment. He is clearly grateful for this woman's political efforts in Burma and strongly condemns any reason the Burmese government might have for placing her under house arrest. Again, this source provides us with an admirational perspective on her, just in a different context. The final source gives us a somewhat contradictory perspective on what Aung San Suu Kyi is like. The previous sources (to some extent) create a presumption that Aung San Suu Kyi is like some machismo woman, when really she is like any other. Her feminine attire is perhaps unexpected and for some could make her suddenly appear as frail and vulnerable, when she is actually quite the opposite.

Picture Gallery
Aung San Suu Kyi with her late husband; Michael Aris
Aung San Suu Kyi with her late husband; Michael Aris
Aung San Suu Kyi talks after she is released from house detention
Aung San Suu Kyi talks after she is released from house detention


Aung San Suu Kyi spent most of her time reading during her house arrest
Aung San Suu Kyi spent most of her time reading during her house arrest
Appearing on the front cover of TIME magazine shows just how prominent of a political figure she is
Appearing on the front cover of TIME magazine shows just how prominent of a political figure she is
Suu Kyi with her two sons; Alexander and Kim
Suu Kyi with her two sons; Alexander and Kim
Suu Kyi during her house arrest
Suu Kyi during her house arrest

Suu Kyi delivering a speech at a political rally in Burma
Suu Kyi delivering a speech at a political rally in Burma
She talks to the press after her release in November 2010
She talks to the press after her release in November 2010


Reccommended Reading List
  • Victor, Barbara. (1998) The Lady: Aung San Suu Kyi Nobel Peace Laureate and Burma's Prisoner UK: Faber & Faber
This book was very informative of the blatant human rights violations occurring under the military regime in Burma. It provided a detailed presentation of Suu Kyi's life and her work as an opposing politician. Although, the language used throughout the book was rather complex and a background knowledge on politics would probably create a better understanding.
  • J. Kevn Shenhan. (2007) A Leader Becomes a Leader: Inspirational Stories of Leadership for a New Generation True Gifts Publishing
This book was not just about Aung San Suu Kyi, but other prominent leaders and influential people. It provided a timeline and some biographical information on Suu Kyi, amongst a discussion on how the her personal characteristics and attributes lead her to achieve such success. It was mainly about leadership and other important qualities of people. I really liked it, as it was interesting to read and inspiring to know about all of these great leaders throughout history.
This website provided a very detailed timeline of Aung San Suu Kyi's life, which I found very useful. It also included some recommended bibliographies.
This website was extremely useful, as it provided a biography, a photo gallery, statements, books she wrote, a timeline, current news concerning her and other useful links. All of the photos were clearly captioned and everything else on the website was efficiently labelled, so it was easy to navigate through the information.
This website I found very useful, as it provided a good biography on Aung San Suu Kyi and also included some pictures. The information was very detailed and it also provided other links on her life/ current situation. It also provided a page about the issues in Burma, which I found very useful for some background knowledge on Aung San Suu Kyi's goals as a politician.
This website provided another very detailed timeline, right up to the current date. It included some useful quotes, as well as her background information and a very brief (mini) biography. It also included some links to news articles about Aung San Suu Kyi and various reputable websites.

Activities

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DETENTION
MILITARY
POLITICIAN
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SLORC
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Word Scrambler

decocyamr -
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locinpiati - _
uannskysuiagu -
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aayrmmn - _
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Letter Tiles

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Cloze PassageAung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s ........ ..................... leader and Nobel Peace ..........., has come to ................ the struggle of Burma's people to be free. She has spent more than 15 years in ..................., most of it under ............ ...................... She was .................... from her current third period of detention on Saturday 13th November 2010.
Word Bank
  1. symbolise
  2. house
  3. pro-democracy
  4. arrest
  5. detention
  6. released
  7. laureate