U.S. Congress honors Aung Sang Suu Kyi

courtesy photo

WASHINGTON D.C. — Congressman Faleomavaega  attended the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony honoring Burmese democracy leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi.  Wednesday, among congressional leaders, Suu Kyi was finally presented the U.S. Congress’ highest honor in person. She was awarded the medal in 2008 while under house arrest in Burma for her pro-democracy activism efforts. Suu Kyi was released from house arrest in 2010. It was her first visit to the United States in two decades.  

As a young woman, Suu Kyi grew up in a family devoted to public service. Her father, Aung San, was a Major General in the Burma Independence Army, who was later assassinated. Her mother, who then became Daw Khin Kyi, was later appointed as Burma’s ambassador to India. Suu Kyi followed her mother to Delhi and later continued her studies at Oxford University. While in England, she met her husband, the late Michael Aris, with whom she had two sons.

Suu Kyi was held in house arrest for almost 15 years between July 1989 and her release in November 2010. On April 1, 2012, her political party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) announced that Suu Kyi was elected to the lower house of the Burmese parliament, known as Pyithu Hluttaw, where she represents the constituency of Kawhmu.

“As one of the world’s most prominent political prisoners, Aung San Suu Kyi is a modern-day legend and international human rights icon. She has pursued the path of non-violence in the cause for a democratic Burma. And even after her release, the day she awaited for so long, she did not relent. She continued the cause and pursued her political career and public service for her people as an elected official,” Faleomavaega stated.

“I was deeply moved to have witnessed Suu Kyi’s receiving the Congressional Gold Medal, the U.S. Congress’ highest honor, along with her heartfelt remarks and those of our congressional leaders. A true hero was given honor for her decades of commitment and sacrifice for the people of Burma. Today is a special day for the people of Burma, and I am humbled to have shared in celebrating Aung San Suu Kyi in our nation’s Capital.”

Samoa News notes that Aung San Suu Kyi has a relative in American Samoa, our very own Dr. Oo, the head of Ophthalmology at LBJ Medical Center and a tireless advocate of health care with the Lions Club of Pago Pago.

Upon hearing of the award for Aung San, to whom he is related on his mother’s side — as their grandmothers are first cousins — Dr. Oo said, “I was proud that her sanctification, hard works and patriotic efforts for our community were finally recognized internationally.”

He has followed her story in the international press for many years, and kept the faith that democracy would one day be restored to his native Burma.


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