Aung San Suu Kyi, born in 1945 in Rangoon, Burma, is a Theravadin Buddhist woman and Nobel Peace Prize winner (1991). She has been in detention and under house arrest by the military junta that rules Burma (Myanmar) since 1989.
In 1988, after Suu Kyi had returned to Burma to take care of her mother after years of living and studying abroad, she gave a speech to the Burmese people calling for a democratic government. That same year, the National League for Democracy (NLD) was formed, with Suu Kyi as general secretary.
Throughout all her years in detention, she has been a beacon of hope and dharma practice under the most dire circumstances for the people of Burma and the whole world. Suu Kyi’s courage rings through in her books and speeches, including this excerpt from Freedom From Fear (Penguin, 1996):
It is not easy for a people conditioned by fear under the iron rule of the principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery, courages rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man.