In 1990 the Burmese military refused to recognize the electoral victory of Aung San Suu Kyi’s pro-democracy party. Five years later, when Suu Kyi was released from house arrest, I visited her in Rangoon, where she was firm in her demands: real democracy, freedom for political prisoners, an end to government by fear.
There followed a test of wills to determine Burma’s future; on one side was a totalitarian junta, and on the other this indomitable woman.
For years, there seemed no hope; but then, in 2011, the authorities began to back down. Censorship was reduced; prisoners were released. Suu Kyi was elected to parliament. Now, real democracy is promised.
No longer a prisoner, Suu Kyi is a political leader with decisions to make in a fragile political environment. Aung San Suu Kyi’s bravery in defying — and defeating — repression gives hope to all who cherish liberty.
Albright is a former U.S. Secretary of State