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A biography by Thierry Falise

A foreword by Jane Birkin

Published in French by

Florent Massot in February 2007

and in paperback by J'ai Lu in April 2008

Also available in audio format at

Aung San Suu Kyi

Le Jasmin ou la Lune (The Jasmine or the Moon)


A biography in French based on exclusive accounts from witnesses and close friends of the Burmese democracy icon and Nobel Prize.

Aung San Suu Kyi: the fine-featured face, the petite silhouette, the name celebrated throughout the world. But who truly knows this 68-year-old Burmese, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, who has become one of the most powerful symbols of the fight against oppression everywhere ? Throughout exclusive accounts, anecdotes and conversations, this book tells the story of the human behind the icon. It also tells the story of an exceptional woman, of her qualities and faults, her strengths and weaknesses, a woman who has never lacked sincerity, generosity or courage.

She was two-year-old in 1947 when her father, Aung San, hero of Burmese independence, was assassinated. She grew up, studied abroad, and married a foreigner, but without ever forgetting her fatherland, which fell in 1962 under the yoke of a military dictatorship. In 1988, just when the nation was bordering on anarchy, she returned to take care of her sick mother. The people sought a leader. They discovered the daughter of Aung San, "a feminine copy of her father". She'd long awaited, without doubt unconsciously, this moment. Many years earlier this mother of two boys had warned her husband, Michael, a British university student: "If one day my compatriots need me, help me to fulfill my duty." At the age of 43, she made the painful choice to sacrifice her family. Inspired by Gandhi and Havel, an adept of a pure form of Buddhism, she practices meditation daily and advocates non-violent combat against the military tyranny. The generals, put her under house arrest, imprisoned her partisans, reduced to silence those who pronounce her name. Finally deciding to strike a major blow against her movement, in May 2003, they ambushed her escort, beating to death and hurting scores of her followers. She owed her safety to the reflexes of her chauffeur. She's was placed once again under house arrest. She was released in November 2010. In April 2012, she was elected at the parliament.

Thierry Falise
Photo-journalist, author