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Suu Kyi's trip reminiscent of years spent away from sons

LONDON -- When Aung San Suu Kyi visits Britain this week it will be a painful reminder of the hardest part of her struggle — the two decades the Myanmar opposition icon spent separated from her sons.

Suu Kyi will attend a family reunion in Britain to mark her 67th birthday on Tuesday, with reports that her children Alexander and Kim will both attend.

But behind that joyful occasion will be the shadow of the cruel choice she had to make in 1988: follow her duty in Myanmar, or stay in Britain with her English husband Michael Aris and their boys.

The Nobel Laureate chose Myanmar and spent most of the next 22 years under house arrest, refusing to leave even when Aris was dying from cancer because she feared the junta would not let her return.

Her younger son Kim, who is now 35 and lives in Britain, has visited her a number of times since she was freed from house arrest in November, and was with her when she delivered her long-delayed Nobel Peace Prize speech on Saturday.

But Alexander, who is 39, lives in the United States, and has yet to see his mother.

“I hope it will not be tinged with sadness,” she told the BBC when asked about her visit to Britain.

“I'm looking forward to it, very simply. I want to see old friends again and to rediscover old places where I've been happy.”

The family have said almost nothing about the trauma of those years apart.

Peter Popham, a journalist with the Independent newspaper whose biography of Suu Kyi “The Lady and the Peacock” was published last year, said she had unfairly been depicted as “dry” because she had largely refused to speak about her anguish.

“The self-control she has is legendary. She regarded it as a test of will, really, not to expose her suffering at all to anybody,” Popham told AFP.

He said she also had a “very sound political reason” for keeping it close to her chest: the Myanmar regime would have used it as a way of trying to make her leave the country.

“Refusing to issue visas to her husband, revoking the children's passports, basically keeping the family apart for years and years was part of their strategy for forcing her out,” he said.

“It's not hard to imagine what it must have meant to her to be separated ... for year after year after year in complete isolation,” added Popham, who has met Suu Kyi twice.

Perhaps the most poignant stop of her time in England will be when she accepts an honorary doctorate at Oxford, where she studied and then later lived with her family before her return to Myanmar in 1988.

Suu Kyi studied politics, philosophy and economics at St. Hugh's College, Oxford and it was there that she met Michael Aris, a tall and imposing Englishman who was an expert on Tibet.

They married in 1972 and she lived a housewife's life raising their children in the leafy suburbs of north Oxford, where she was known to friends as just “Suu.”

June 20, 2012    yaminshwe2@
It's really tough for any child under this situation. We feel very sorry for them. They've suffered a lot. No one can image how they overcome these years. From now on, we wish them to replace those painful years with pride for their mother & their grandfather. They lose their warm loving & caring family life but they own an honorable generation. Their father had supported her with this belief. Their mother love them deep down inside & feel the pain like them. We wish the whole family reunite happily from now on.
June 21, 2012    carltanong@
Two different worlds between Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi and Mainland China Wang Dan and associates...

_Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi is a brave woman, a loving wife and loving mother's who returned to Myanmar and left behind her loving husband and two young son to continue her beliefs what a true Democracy means, spends 22 years under house arrest, refused to leave her beloved country fearing that the military junta won't let her to returned back to the land and people she love, even the MMJ was forcing her to leave out of her country and she declined.

_Wang Dan and associates who was born as a man can't be measure and compare with Aung San Suu Kyi as a true Democracy hero and beliefs in Democracy.

Wang Dan and associates used and fabricated the man made Goddess of Democracy with DECEPTION to lured and deceived the young students to their early DEATH-VISA tour INSIDE the graveyard.

_Perhaps those young untimely dead students if alive today can contribute their ability to serve their country and people. _Perhaps one or two or more co-ed will be like mainland Chinese first woman astronaut Liu Yang, a 33-year-old major in the PLA..

Wang Dan. You are a CHICKEN and USELESS. You should stay in mainland China like Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar did.
Show the world you are worthy to be a real Democracy fighter like Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar. NOT a barking CHICKEN for easy money. Go back through the BACK-DOORS and don't create trouble here in R.O.China Taiwan.........Because the young students here are NOT your PAWN to be PAWN theirs young life INSIDE the graveyard.
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