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Aung San Suu Kyi This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     People are always asking me what I want to be when I grow up. My answer typically varies with mood - journalist, ambassador, political leader - but the theme remains the same. I want to be someone who makes a difference in the world. More specifically, I want to change the way people think. When I think of someone who fulfills this quality, Aung San Suu Kyi comes to mind.

Very rarely in history has one person exemplified as much moral fiber as Aung San Suu Kyi. The forties had Gandhi. The sixties had Martin Luther King Jr. My generation has Suu Kyi. She faced the assassination of her father and watched the oppressive military junta of the State Peace and Development Council as they maintained power even after an election favored her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), with 82 percent of the vote. She criticizes governments who look the other way while blatant human rights violations run rampant, empowering those who feel that hope is lost.

Suu Kyi is articulate, the voice and face of her cause. Due to her non-violent protest, she has been put under house arrest numerous times and could not even be with her husband on his deathbed. She has been steadfast, refusing to leave Burma for the fear of not being allowed to return.

This expression of unwavering courage and compassion for her people has garnered Suu Kyi respect from esteemed figures in the international community. She won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize and the 1990 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Archbishop Desmond Tutu said of her, “In physical stature she is petite and elegant, but in moral stature, she is a giant. Big men are scared of her. Armed to the teeth, they still run scared.”

I look up to Aung San Suu Kyi because of how hard she fights for what she believes. Suu Kyi armed herself with knowledge, studying philosophy and politics. She has mastered the beauty of succinct language that engages people to listen and work for her values. Suu Kyi is changing how people view women. And she is being heard.

Whatever I do in life, I know I’ll come into contact with those who disagree with my values. When this happens, I will think about what Aung San Suu Kyi would have done in my situation. It is my goal to fight for human rights and equality for all, and I know that Suu Kyi’s enduring, unyielding spirit will be with me in all of my endeavors.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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