Today happens to be the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi and so it seems appropriate to celebrate one of the fruits of his lifelong dedication to nonviolent social change. According to The Atlantic, his philosophy strongly influences Burmese member of parliament Aung San Suu Kyi and she often quotes him. Her father was the commander of the Burmese Independence Army and was assassinated when she was two. Her mother was a much loved official who eventually became ambassador to India. Inspired by her parents, Aung San Suu Kyi dedicated her life to the people of Burma and spent several years under house arrest due to her activism against the military junta. Like her mother, she is affectionately called “Daw,” a title of respect, and known throughout Burma as “The Lady” due to her grace and persistence.
As her native Burma continues its slow but definite progress towards a thriving democracy, the Nobel peace laureate has used part of her recently won freedom to tour the United States. She has persevered through decades of oppression, house arrest and political struggle in the name of her people. Her opposition to the military junta is rooted in a firm belief that “democracy offers the best balance between freedom and security,” which are both essential human rights.