It may seem odd that the Crikey’s readers’ choice for Person of the Decade is a woman who spent the majority of the decade under house arrest, out of the public eye and banned from speaking to the media.

Yet, this decade is largely defined by Aung San Suu Kyi’s imprisonment and the struggle for democracy in Burma.

She was placed under house arrest back in September 2000 and then released 19 months later. After the Depayin massacre in 2003 — when 70 members of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party were killed by government forces, she was arrested again and placed under house arrest, as she was deemed “likely to undermine the community peace and stability”.

And that’s where Aung San Suu Kyi stayed, despite the house arrest breaking international and Burmese laws of only five years imprisonment without trial, despite an American trespasser attempting to swim over to her house and causing the arrest to be extended, despite years of campaigning by international politicians and human rights organisations.

Finally, on November 13 this year, she was freed. A decade of very powerful silence.


Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey