By Tim Saunders on
On June 19, Burma’s Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi will spend her 63rd birthday as a political prisoner in Burma (Myanmar). And to mark the occasion, the US Campaign for Burma have organized over 200 events to help Americans learn more about her and the struggle for human rights and democracy in her military-led country.
Aung San Suu Kyi is a brave and courageous woman whose face is now more well-known than her name. But it is a face etched with sincerity, a face that has retained its youthful vigor despite the hardships it has endured, despite the years spent watching her fellow people suffer, and the lines that now run over it only add a look of wisdom and determination to her dogged drive and dedication.
Hers’ is an incredible and powerful story in a country that is struggling – a story of an academic based at Oxford University in England who returned to her native Burma to oppose the brutal military regime in her homeland, risking her life and leaving her husband and children behind. She led the National League for Democracy to a staggering win – with 80% of the votes – at the 1990 elections, only to have her post as Prime Minister nullified, and she has been imprisoned almost ever since. She even had to wait under house arrest when her husband was diagnosed with cancer. She was prevented from seeing him before he died, not allowed to comfort him at his bedside or help her children through their pain.
Aung San Suu Kyi is a remarkable woman – immortalized in the U2 song “Walk On” and the only Nobel Peace Prize winner kept imprisoned anywhere in the world – her crime was her desire to see her people free. And tomorrow yet another birthday will creep by, its shadow filling the cracks that run through her extraordinary life. But it will not go unobserved, and the US Campaign for Burma – an organization dedicated to empowering grassroots activists around the world to bring about an end to the military dictatorship in Burma – is urging people to join them in marking the occasion.
As part of the organization’s efforts, thousands of their members have pressed the U.S. Congress to award Aung San Suu Kyi the highest U.S. honor – the Congressional Gold Medal; they have organized over 60 former Presidents and Prime Ministers from every single continent to issue a united call for Suu Kyi’s release; they have pressed the United Nations Security Council to issue its first-ever acknowledgement of Aung San Suu Kyi as a democracy leader of Burma in a presidential statement; and they have rallied 30 celebrities to record short videos about Aung San Suu Kyi and the struggle for human rights in Burma.
To find events the campaign has organized, or to donate to their cause, visit the US Campaign for Burma website.
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