Burma's Revolution of the Spirit: The Struggle for Democratic Freedom and Dignity

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9780893815806: Burma's Revolution of the Spirit: The Struggle for Democratic Freedom and Dignity

Burma's Revolution of the Spirit reveals through words and images a land of rare grandeur--where a dramatic battle for democracy is being waged.

Nestled beneath the far-eastern end of the Himalayas lies an enchanted place, whose cities bear the legendary names "Mandalay" and "Rangoon"; where the ancient landscape shimmers with thousands upon thousands of gilded Buddhist shrines set against the glowing background of saffron rice paddies. Deemed "the golden land" by European explorers in the fifteenth century and "the pearl of Asia" by Rudyard Kipling, geographically remote Burma--"sister country" of neighboring Tibet--has for the most part miraculously defied the influences of the modern world.

Burma's Revolution of the Spirit takes us behind the complex veil that shields from Western eyes this most fascinating and culturally diverse, yet least documented country in Southeast Asia. It demonstrates all too clearly the nation's political isolation by a military dictatorship, which has virtually sowed salt in Burma's fertile earth for thirty years and which responded to a nonviolent popular demonstration on August 8, 1988, with an unconscionably brutal assault inviting comparison with Tiananmen Square.

Above all, Burma's Revolution of the Spirit depicts a people's hunger to be free despite the cruelest suppression--and presents a true national heroine: Aung San Suu Kyi, awarded the 1991 Novel Peace Prize in absentia while under house arrest and still held prisoner in her own land. In this dynamic woman's exquisite features, in scenes of pastoral serenity and impassioned protest, we glimpse the soul of one of the most politically ravaged yet spiritually vibrant societies on earth.

Filled with striking documentary images in both black and white and color (many of which were smuggled out of the country), the book is enriched by the words of Aung San Suu Kyi, whose profound inspirational powers evoke those of such gentle modern warriors a Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and the Dalai Lama. Tributes from seven Nobel Peace laureates are also included. Burma's Revolution of the Spirit conveys in affecting narrative its message of justice and respect for all life.

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About the Author:

Aung San Suu Kyi was cited by the Nobel Committee as "one of the most extraordinary examples of civil courage in Asia in recent decades." She is the daughter of patriot Aung San, whose Burmese Independence Army fought to expel the Japanese forces of occupation during World War II and who set the stage for independence from England before his assassination in 1947. Aung San Suu Kyi was educated at Delhi University and Oxford University. She has won numerous awards and honors in addition to the Nobel Peace Prize, most notably the Rafto Human Rights Prize and the Sakhorov Prize. She is the general secretary and leader of Burma's National League for Democracy and was placed under house arrest by the military junta in July of 1989 for her activities. Aung San Suu Kyi is married to British scholar Dr. Michael Aris and has two sons.

Alan Clements is the founder and director of the human-rights organization Burma Project USA, and is the author of Burma: The Next Killing Fields? He spent seven years living in Burma as a Buddhist monk.

Leslie Kean is the executive director of the San Francisco group Bay Area Friends of Tibet and is an associate director of Burma Project USA.


"The courageous, committed witness of Burma's democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, since her house arrest in 1989, is an inspiration. We must ensure that because she is out of sight, she is not therefore out of mind."--The Most Reverend Desmond M. Tutu Anglican Archbiship of Cape Town Nobel Peace Laureate, 1984

"Burma is the least known of Southeast Asian states. It is rich in culture, history, and material potential. It occupies a pivotal position in the region. American need to know about and appreciate its modern, tragic history."--Dr. David I. Steinberg, Professor of Asian Studies, Georgetown University

"Burma's Revolution of the Spirit is an outstanding photographic essay on a difficult and inspiring subject. It reflects with power and sensitivity the enduring beauty and the ongoing destruction in Burma, and the profound struggle of Aung San Suu Kyi, with all of Burma's peoples, for spiritual and democratic freedoms. Their struggle has great meaning for the human rights--and the humanity--of us all. We must each, in our own way, make the struggle our own."--Representative Tom Lantos, United States Congress.

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