Friday, June 18, 2010

Imprisoned Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi turns 65

Aung San Suu Kyi, rightful democratic leader of Burma, remains - after 14 years - under house arrest by the military Junta there on the eve of her 65th birthday [June 19].

To raise awareness of her country's tragic plight, and at serious risk to her own future well-being, she has smuggled out a short note pleading with the kind-hearted people of the free world to 'please use your liberty to promote ours'.

The Guardian article about the letter HERE

Now regarded not simply as a political prisoner but also as a living Buddhist saint, the above picture shows her home in Rangoon, surrounded by a recently erected fence - the place where she languishes powerless, in anticipation and dread of this year's forthcoming elections in which she will not be free to run.

To emphasise her grave position, and yet to celebrate her unstoppable life force, The Guardian newspaper has published today a previously unseen collection of photographs.

These vibrantly poignant pictures show her as a young woman - before her eventual return to Burma - during an idyllic time in her life.

They depict a period in her life when she lived in England where she met and married the love of her life, Michael Aris [who later died in 1999, in Oxford where he had lectured for many years].

Aung San Suu Kyi's Burmese passport photo. She refused to have the English passport to which she was entitled because dual-citizenship was forbidden within Burma.

As a young woman in Oxford where she lived and met her future husband, academic Michael Aris.

Their modest wedding day at the Registry Office in Chelsea, London.

Later on at a friend's house where they had a simple Buddhist ceremony to bless their union.

A sunny afternoon in Burma, where the happy couple were finally able to introduce Aung San Suu Kyi's mother to her new grandson.

A later trip, by invitation of the Royal Family there, to the remote Himalayan Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan.

Also in snowy Bhutan, Aung San Suu Kyi is pictured looking for all the world like a thirteen year old girl, dressed in over-sized Tibetan costume and mindfully finding her way along the path.

The Guardian newspaper article about these photos HERE

Michael Aris d. Oxford 1999