For those of us who haven’t really been following the life story of Aung San Suu Kyi, The Lady is definitely a good start for learning about this remarkable woman. The French-English film depicts the life of the Burmese freedom fighter: from being the daughter of the father of Burmese independence to her youth in India and England, and finally her non-violent fight for the democratization of Burma.
Aung San Suu Kyi brought the struggle of the Burmese people to the international public and was awarded – as first Asian woman – in 1991 with the Nobel Peace Prize. She has spent many years of her life under house arrest – a tragic situation nicely shown in the movie. Finally, in 2010, Aun San Suu Kyi regained her freedom.
Many positive changes have happened since and aren’t part of the movie, which stops in the second period of house arrest. From 2010 up to now, many political prisoners have been released and trade unions have been legalized. But minorities in the North of the country are still fighting with the military, people are still being killed and women are still raped. Many Burmese minorities are still living in camps on the Thai border. Furthermore, NGO’s like Human Rights Watch are still not allowed to enter the country. (Read their report on the current situation in Burma here).
Also the figure of Aung San Suu Kyi does not just have one side. She definitely is not seen with the same eyes from within Burma and from the West. Luc Besson’s movie can only give us the latter. It is however a good starting point for trying to understand the latest happenings.
Earlier this year, Aung San Suu Kyi stated she will participate in the elections held in Burma on 01 April. The upcoming elections will not solve the problems in Burma, that’s for sure, but they are a step in the right direction. However, the “Joan d’Arc of Asia” is already a grandma now. She will need people to follow in her footsteps.
(What the new developments mean for the county is another story, so stay tuned!)