Nobel Peace Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi brought a star-studded crowd in Queens to tears Saturday by pleading with Americans not to take democracy for granted.
The Myanmar opposition leader, who spent 15 years under house arrest for bucking her country’s military government, moved the Queens College crowd with her inspiring story of fighting for freedom at any cost.
Kyi, chairwoman of the National League of Democracy in Myanmar, implored the audience, which included singer Carole King and actress Anjelica Huston, to vote in the November U.S. presidential election.
“Don’t take it for granted,” Kyi told the crowd, but stopped short of endorsing President Obama or his GOP rival Mitt Romney. “You must vote. You must use your democratic rights. Otherwise, they will fade away.”
Kyi, 67, endured assassination attempts and was placed under house arrest without charges or trial in 1989 in an attempt by the Burmese government to crush the opposition movement she was leading. In that same year, Burma changed its name to Myanmar.
While imprisoned, Kyi’s NLD party won the first free elections in the Southeast Asian country in 30 years, but the military junta refused to cede power.
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