Suu Kyi ranks 26th on '100 Top Global Thinkers'

Dec 2, 2009 (DVB), Detained Burmese Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has ranked 26 on an annual table of '100 Top Global Thinkers', released yesterday by the US-based Foreign Policy magazine.

The magazine, the brainchild of influential American political scientist Samuel P Huntington, commended Suu Kyi's principles of nonviolence and "for being a living symbol of hope in a dark place".

"Taking inspiration from Mohandas Gandhi and Buddhist principles of nonviolence, Aung San Suu Kyi built a mass movement in opposition to the Burmese junta and has spent 14 of the last 20 years under house arrest since winning a general election in 1989," it said.

The news was poignantly welcomed by colleagues and compatriots inside Burma, where successive military governments have ruled since 1962.

"I can say that it is for Daw Suu's philosophy that we are able to stand and face the military rule with nonviolence for more than 20 years," said National League for Democracy (NLD) spokesperson Nyan Win. I'm happy to hear this news; I think she deserves it."

Suu Kyi, the daughter of Burmese independence leader, General Aung San, founded the NLD upon her return to Burma from Britain in 1988.

Her return coincided with a mass uprising in which some 3000 protestors were killed by Burmese troops. She was placed under house arrest shortly after.

Nan Khin Htway Myint, from the people's parliament, said that part of Suu Kyi's draw was her "ability to give unexpected answers to people's questions".

"In Moulmein [in Mon state], someone asked her how we should deal with the Thailand situation," she said. "I didn't hear any answer from her but I heard people start clapping.

"I looked at her and saw that she was making a gesture with her finger pointing to her head, indicating that we should use our brains. She is really witty; she deserves this."

She was joined on the list by US president Barrack Obama, who ranked second, and Zahra Rahnavard, wife of Iranian opposition leader Hossein Mousavi.

Ben Bernanke, chairman of the US federal reserve, came in at number one on a list in which five of the top ten were American.

The Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who ranked at number 25, announced this week that he would be shortly visiting Burma to advise the junta on poverty reduction.

Suu Kyi herself was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, and is the world's only imprisoned Nobel laureate.

Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw

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