The remarkable life of Aung San Suu Kyi reached a new high as her opposition National League for Democracy swept to victory with 75% of the vote in the first openly contested general election in Myanmar for almost 50 years.
Suu Kyi was an academic in Oxford, Britain in 1988 when she returned to her home country to care for her sick mother.
She led the opposition against the military government for many years and spent 15 years under house arrest as a political prisoner.
During that time, her husband was assassinated.
Her years of pain and anguish were rewarded when she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, which the government would not allow to leave Myanmar to collect.
Now, she has swept to victory – but her triumph is bittersweet as the military held back 250 seats in the national assembly fearing that voters would sweep them out of power.
The situation may not be perfect, but for Suu Kyi and the people of Myanmar, today is a new dawn and a better day for freedom and democracy than yesterday.
In many ways, Suu Kyi’s life follows in the footsteps of those other great leaders who overcome adversity by turning the other cheek, such as Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Ghandi.
Even before the elections, her influence was felt in Myanmar as the military loosened their grip on the government and the economy.
The question is what happens next?
Meek agreement from the generals
Suu Kyi says the elections were not free but fair and she will surely strive to make the next general election completely open and democratic.
The military will appoint a president, but she has already made clear the post is awarded in name only and that the incumbent will have no power in the government.
Behind her slight figure and quiet countenance, Suu Kyi has bravely stood up to the nation’s generals and told them she is in charge and expects them to respect the will of the people.
The junta has meekly agreed, but many remember that they told a similar lie in 1990 when they overturned the government to snatch back power after an election defeat.