The Rise and Fall of Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi Explained

A non-violent freedom fighter? A war crimes apologist? Or is she something in between? Aung San Suu Kyi’s decades-long, non-violent struggle for democracy made her a hero around the world. But once appointed to office, many say her leadership, has been disappointing.

Born on June 19th, 1945, in what was then Rangoon, Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi was destined to be defiant from the start.

Her father was none other than Aung San — the former military general who negotiated Burma’s independence from the British in 1947. He became known as a national hero, and the founder of modern-day Myanmar, which was then known as Burma.

But in 1947, when Suu Kyi was just 2 years old, everything changed. Her father was assassinated by a rival politician.

She went on to graduate from high school in 1964, and then studied with the global elite at Oxford University. There she met her to-be husband. Years later they settled in the United Kingdom, where they had two sons.

During this time, Suu Kyi continued to watch as her country was sinking further into dictatorship. After nationwide protests against the one-party rule and the military dictatorship culminated in what later became known as the 8/8/88 Uprising protesters were in search of a leader. They looked to the then 43-year-old Suu Kyi to fill the shoes of her father — as a fighter for Burmese democracy.

And that’s exactly what she did.

But what was her journey to leadership and what would she do once she achieved her goal? And what would her leadership mean for the Rohingya in Rakhine state and the alleged ethnic cleansing was taking place in Myanmar?

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