Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese dissident kept under house arrest for 15 years, shows these traits of a leader:
1. She has a vision. “What we are calling for is revolutionary change through peaceful means,” she says of her fight for civil liberties.
2. She is fearless. Suu Kyi spoke out plainly while she was under arrest and she is speaking just as plainly now that the junta has released her. She talked by phone in December with former First Lady Laura Bush, who champions her cause.
About her vision for a free Burma, Suu Kyi states, “I’m not afraid to say it, and I’m not afraid to ask for all the help I can get.”
3. She keeps her enemies close. Since Suu Kyi’s release, the generals are ignoring her. “I wish I could have tea with them every Saturday, a friendly tea,” she says of the regime that refused her dying husband a final visit.
And if they won’t have tea? “We could always try coffee.”
— Adapted from “The First Lady of Freedom,” Hannah Beech, Time.