Friday, 25 April 2008

U.S. Senate Votes to Award Aung San Suu Kyi Congressional Gold Medal

After thousands of supporters urged their Senators to support this effort, the US Senate voted unamimously today to award Aung San Suu Kyi the nation's highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal. [The US House of Reps. has already voted 400-0]. Aung San Suu Kyi will be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

This is a historic vote because Aung San Suu Kyi is the first person in the 232-year history of the award to be granted the honor while imprisoned. And hopefully, with the vast international attention from this award, increased pressure will expedite her release.

By being awarded this honor, Aung San Suu Kyi joins the ranks of many great people in history including George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., Elie Wiesel, and Mother Theresa.

The Burmese military generals have tried to isolate Aung San Suu Kyi from her own people and from the international community by keeping her under house arrest for over 12 years. However, the generals, who control around 400,000 soldiers, are losing a battle with a single, unarmed woman. Her only tools are courage and loving kindness, yet she has captured the hearts and loyalty of the people of Burma.

Congress usually only gives one or two awards per year, and sparingly to people in other countries. In the entire history of the award (George Washington was granted the first award), only 30 people from other countries have been granted the award.

In a world in which public heroes are few and far between, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is one of the greatest people of our time; she richly deserves this award, an award we hope will show the people of Burma they are not alone in their struggle.

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