Suu Kyi - the Burmese dissident.
I was listening to a radio documentary about her life today, and I was in total awe of her iron will to bring democratic reform to Burma. After hearing her story, Ghandi and Mandela pale in comparison.
She lived a comfortable life as a homemaker married in England after becoming a Rhodes scholar when she decided to return to Burma to be with her dying mother. At that time people asked her to be the public face of the democracy movement - as her father was the founder of the country, although she never had any political experience or aspirations of her own. She accepted and became the lightning rod for all the government aggression against democratic reform since 1988.
Despite spending 15 of the last 20 years in Burmese prisons, having members of her party executed in front of her and chased into exile, and being separated from her terminally ill husband on his deathbed by the government, she never once backed down. They compared her to Mandela, but he was trapped in prison, they wouldn't let him out - he had no choice but to struggle. Suu Kyi had an even tougher choice - the government constantly told her all she had to do was go back to England and live a life of comfort, at anytime she could end all her suffering by just giving up and leaving the country. I thought about it, and I just couldn't do that - I would have folded and went back to Britain after a few months, maybe weeks.
But today, at age 66, her labor is bearing fruit - her party just won 44 seats in parliament in a by-election - something that people would have thought impossible only a few years ago.