Cookie consent

We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies. Tell me more | Cookie preferences

Suu Kyi meets DJ who made house arrest 'bearable'

    Just Watched

    Suu Kyi celebrates birthday in Britain

Suu Kyi celebrates birthday in Britain 02:37

Story highlights

  • Aung San Suu Kyi meets DJ whose show she listened to during house arrest
  • Dave Lee Travis said it was "real pleasure" to meet the democracy leader
  • Suu Kyi paid tribute to supporters around world who gave her strength
  • She will address both houses of parliament Thursday on four-day visit to UK

Aung San Suu Kyi finally put a face on Tuesday to the radio DJ whose show gave her a lifeline to the outside world during her years under house arrest in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

The Nobel laureate has previously described how the BBC World Service music show hosted by Dave Lee Travis made her confinement "much more bearable."

In a visit to the BBC's Broadcasting House in central London, Suu Kyi met the DJ. Asked if she knew who Travis, once known to British listeners as the "Hairy Cornflake," was, Suu Kyi replied: "I know, I heard you yesterday."

Travis told her: "It's a real pleasure to have met you in person after all the nice things you said about the program."

The veteran broadcaster said Suu Kyi recalled how she was once "thrilled" to have heard the voice of a Burmese boy on his program "A Jolly Good Show."

    Just Watched

    Suu Kyi's emergence as a global icon

Suu Kyi's emergence as a global icon 02:57

    Just Watched

    Suu Kyi: Prize gave me less lonely path

Suu Kyi: Prize gave me less lonely path 01:00

    Just Watched

    Suu Kyi reflects on Nobel win

Suu Kyi reflects on Nobel win 09:50

An unusually tongue-tied Travis, whose broadcasting career started in the 1960s on the off-shore pirate Radio Caroline, later told CNN: "I don't know how to explain it, considering my job, I am a bit lost for words.

    "She is a shining beacon, she is phenomenal. I still can't get over the fact that, you know, me a broadcaster and her, you know, a world figure, have got anything in common but we have. I think obviously what is more so from her than me is humanity ... I guess humanity in a way was reflected on my radio program because we touched the whole world."

    During a four-day visit to Britain -- her first since 1988 -- Suu Kyi will meet Prime Minister David Cameron and address both houses of parliament. Earlier on Tuesday she described how supporters around the world had given her strength while she campaigned against Myanmar's military regime.

    What Suu Kyi's moment shows us

    Speaking to an enthusiastic audience at the London School of Economics on her 67th birthday, she said: "During this journey I have found great warmth and great support from people all over the world."

    Suu Kyi was visiting Britain days after she accepted the Nobel peace prize in Oslo, Norway. Her historic first trip to Europe after years of house arrest signals the progress toward reform in Myanmar over the past year.

    Suu Kyi was unable to accept the Nobel when it was awarded in 1991 because she was under house arrest in Myanmar. Her husband and two sons accepted it then on her behalf, paying tribute to her sacrifice.

    Greeted by heartfelt applause from those gathered in Oslo City Hall, Suu Kyi spoke of what peace meant to her and also of her country's fragile progress toward democratic reform.

    "Over the past year there have been signs that the endeavors of those who believe in democracy and human rights are beginning to bear fruit in Burma. There have been changes in a positive direction; steps towards democratization have been taken," she said.

    The trip is Suu Kyi's second abroad since she returned to Myanmar in 1988 to care for her dying mother, and comes on the heels of her first trip outside the country earlier this year.

      Just Watched

      Suu Kyi: Try to create a peaceful world

    Suu Kyi: Try to create a peaceful world 00:45

      Just Watched

      Suu Kyi appeals for help for refugees

    Suu Kyi appeals for help for refugees 01:33

      Just Watched

      Suu Kyi: The potential is enormous

    Suu Kyi: The potential is enormous 02:51

    Suu Kyi was recently elected to parliament as her National League for Democracy won dozens of seats in by-elections. It remains a minority in parliament, but the elections marked a turning point for the country after decades of oppression by its military rulers.

    A military coup in September 1988 put Gen. Saw Maung in power, setting off anti-government demonstrations and a crackdown that left hundreds dead.

    Suu Kyi -- whose husband Michael Aris remained in England until his death in 1999 -- became a leading activist and co-founder of an opposition group, the National League for Democracy. She was placed under house arrest for the first time the following July on charges of trying to divide the military. She spent much of the next two decades confined to her home by the ruling junta.

    When her party won the 1990 general election in a landslide vote, the military rulers -- in power since 1962 -- refused to let the National League for Democracy serve, nullifying the results.

    A year later, Suu Kyi won the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought as well as the Nobel Peace Prize, which cited her "nonviolent struggle for democracy and human rights." But she remained in detention.

    Accepting the prize at the time on his mother's behalf, Alexander Aris said, "I personally believe that, by her own dedication and personal sacrifice, she has come to be a worthy symbol through whom the plight of all the people of Burma may be recognized."

    The military rulers have since loosened their grip on power, allowing a series of democratic reforms. Her house arrest ended in 2010, and she was able to travel around the country during her party's election campaign this year.

    Smiling Suu Kyi lays out 'ambitious' plan for Myanmar

      Inside Myanmar

    • Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has spent much of the last 20 years under house arrest.

      Aung San Suu Kyi's rise to Myanmar's parliament caps a remarkable turn around for the pro-democracy campaigner, who was kept under house arrest for 15 years.
    • Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi smiles as she attend the 21st World Economic Forum on East Asia in bangkok on June 1, 2012.

      Aung Sun Suu Kyi tells WEF delegates in Thailand some healthy skepticism is needed when it comes to the country's recent reforms.
    • Supporters of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi cheer outside the Myanmar migrant workers community center following her visit in Samut Sakhon on the outskirts of Bangkok on May 30, 2012.

      By the time we arrived, a couple of hours before Suu Kyi was due, the streets were already thick with thousands of Burmese waiting to see her.
    • After declaring victory, Aung San Suu Kyi told her cheering supporters that it wasn't her victory, but their own.

      Two years ago, Myanmar's leaders were doing all they could to silence Aung San Suu Kyi. Now they're poised to welcome her into parliament.
    • A Buddhist monk speaks to the crowd of supporters as they gather in downtown Yangon, 25 September 2007.

      From a bloodless coup in 1962 to Aung San Suu Kyi's win in 2012 elections, explore CNN's timeline of recent events in Myanmar.
    • pkg rivers myanmar game changer_00000429

      British Prime Minister David Cameron became the first western leader in decades to visit Myanmar, where he met pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
    • Supporters cheer at a rally organized by the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) on March 28 in Yuzana.

      If Sunday's by-election in Myanmar is deemed to be free and fair, it will cap off a startling about-turn by the former military men currently running the country.
    • hancocks myanmar monks view_00003904

      Five years after a brutal crackdown in Myanmar, CNN's Paula Hancocks asks monks if they trust the current changes.
    • myanmar china border

      While Hillary Clinton's historic visit to Myanmar might well unnerve China, analysts believe the relationship between the two Asian neighbors remains strong.