Myanmar opposition leader and international democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi finally accepted her 1991 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway on Saturday after spending a total of 15 years under house arrest. She left her sons and husband in Europe in 1988 to visit her ill mother back in Burma, and immediately became a leader in that country’s fledgling democracy movement.
Even during brief periods of “freedom” Aung San Suu Kyi was afraid to leave Burma, because she didn’t believe the military would let her return to her country, as the military clashed with her, and believed she wanted to dismantle it.
Her sons, Kim and Alexander accepted her Nobel prize in 1991, alongside Suu Kyi’s husband Michael Aris. Mother Suu (as she is loving called) announced she would use the $1.3 million prize money to establish a health and education trust for Burmese people.
Sadly, she was unable to be with Aris, an Oxford academic, when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and died in Britain in 1999. Even widowed, Mother Suu (as she’s lovingly referred to) carried on with her charge of forging a path of democracy, saying, “I fight against what is dangerous for the democratic process and the military having the kind of powers that they shouldn’t have certainly endangers the democratic process.”
Her recent 2-wk tour of Europe included stops in Switzerland, Ireland, Britain & France, as well as her bringing a message of hope…to Thailand and Bangkok throngs eager to finally catch a glimpse of the revered leader, whose courage seems to be contagious among migrant workers and anyone seeking justice.
Finally, her tour culminated in Oslo, Norway to finally be pictured with her historic Nobel Peace Prize honor. Naturally, the Norwegian government leaders said they have eagerly awaited Saturday’s speech at Oslo City Hall since Suu Kyi won the world’s highest diplomatic honor in 1991. But Suu Kyi said she never doubted that she would travel one day to Oslo to give her honorific lecture. “Yes of course, I always believed that. That’s why I have always said that the first time I traveled abroad I would come to Norway,” she said in answer to a reporter’s question. “I never doubted that. Did you?”
We shall NEVER doubt you, Mother Suu! Congratulations on your unswerving commitment and dedication to the freedom march for millions, amidst dealing with your own MOST significant “losses” and griefs, the most grievous of them suffered when you were apart from your beloved family.
We Can Do It Women™.