At 66, Suu Kyi Celebrates 'Triumph of Spirit'

Aung San Suu Kyi celebrates birthday a semi-free woman, gives interview
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2011 12:14 PM CDT
Aung San Suu Kyi Celebrates 66th Birthday, Gives Clandestine Interview
Aung San Suu Kyi cuts her birthday cake during celebrations of her 66th birthday in Yangon, Myanmar, Sunday, June 19, 2011.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Aung San Suu Kyi celebrated her 66th birthday as a relatively free woman today, reports the AP, the first time in nine years the Burma opposition leader hasn't been under house arrest. There was cake at her party's headquarters and a visit from her youngest son, but more interestingly, the Independent has a lengthy interview with "Daw Suu"—given when reporter Martin Wroe arranged a clandestine meeting to also shoot a video, of all things, for U2's tour. Highlights from the interview:

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  • On her two-decade struggle: "We don't think we will fail and we are not afraid of trying. The effort in itself is a triumph, the fact that we've been going on for more than 20 years, that many of our people have gone through such terrible times and yet we are still doing it, we are continuing. That in itself is a triumph, a triumph of the spirit."
  • On life since she was released from house arrest: "I don't feel any freer. Because I never felt I was not free in all these years, so the fact that I am no longer under house arrest does not make me feel any freer." She adds, smiling, "I am a lot busier."
  • Her message for U2's Bono and outside supporters: "After many years, I am finally able to speak to you. You who across such distances sent support to Burma, we thank you. Students, teachers, workers, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, music fans—U2 fans like me. When you raise your voices we hear them, they are louder than any rock band, than any army."
  • On what she'd rather have done while under house arrest: "I've often wished that I were a composer because then I could have spent my time composing. Music is much more universal than words."
For the entire interview, click here. (Read more Aung San Suu Kyi stories.)

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