Comedian Jim Carrey has put out a serious public service announcement in order to draw attention to the need to free NObel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been confined by the Myanmar government for many years. Though many are fighting for her release, it is strange that a Hollywood super star and a comedian at that would be taking an active part in freeing the human rights leader. Aung San has been peacefully resisting violence that has taken place in Myanmar, once called Burma. A destructive military regime led by General Than Shwe has destroyed over 3,000 villages in the area and displaced 1.5 million people.

Carrey not only wants Aung San free, but he also wants to make her a household name in the United States. Despite all of her accomplishments, this is the first that many Americans will hear of her achievements which make her more than deserving of her own freedom. Aung San was born on June 19, 1945, the third child and only daughter of of Aung San, commander of the Burma Independence Army, and Ma Kin Kyi, senior nurse at Rangoon General Hospital. The name Aung San means “father,” Kyi stands for “mother,” and “Suu” for grandmother. When she was two years old her father was assisinated, and her mother became a prominant public figure to lead in social planning and social policy bodies.

In 1960, Aung San moved to New Delhi with her mother. She began attending Oxford University in 1964, earning a B.A. in philosophy and economics at St. Hugh’s College. She then moved to New York to attend graduate school. Before she could complete her studies, however, Aung San joined the U.N. secretariat as Assistant Secretary, Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions. On her evenings and weekends, she volunteered at a hospital. She married Michael Aris on January 1, 1972, and they moved to Bhutan in the Himalayas where Aris tutored the royal family and headed the Translation department. Aung San became a research officer in the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Their first son Alexander was born in London in 1973, and four years later, they had a second son, Kim, at Oxford.

 Aung San went on to become a published writer with the printing of her “Leaders of Asia” series in 1984 followed by a juvenile book “Let’s Visit Burma” the next year along with books on Nepal and Bhutan. In 1986, her boys were initiated into monkhood in Rangoon. The violence that she became known for resisting erupted in 1988 when General Ne Win resigned as the military dictator of Burma, causing protests to emerge. In August of that year, there was a massive uprising throughout the country, the military killing thousands of civilians. In response, Aung San sent an open letter to the government to request the formation of an independent consultative committee to prepare multi-party elections. Later that month, she began public addresses to crowds of thousands to call for a democratic government. Her mother died of a stroke in 1989, and at the funeral, she vowed to continue to fight for her country.

 In February of the following year, she was denied from standing for election. In July, she was placed under house arrest without being charged or receiving a trial. In 1990, Aung San was given the Rafto Human Rights Prize. In 1991, European Parliament began awarding the Suu Kyi Sakharov human rights prize. In October of that year, Aung San received the Nobel Peace Prize. She continued to be published even while detained. In 1991, Penguin Press put out “Freedom From Fear.” The next year, she vowed to use her $1.3 million prize money to establish a health and education trust for Burma. A group of Nobel Peace Laureates began work to release Aung San in 1993. In 1995, she was released from house arrest, but the struggle to liberate her goes on, prompting even unorthodox people of power, such as Jim Carrey to plead for her release.

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