Myanmar's pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi says she is still "very fond" of her country's army, founded by her father, though it had done "terrible" things in the past and kept her under house arrest for 15 years.
The 67-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner, who spent most of two
decades under house arrest until recent reforms, said her Buddhist faith had helped her defy Myanmar's dictatorship, and later face them when taking a seat in parliament.
Suu Kyi's father, Aung San, is considered the father of modern Burma, and founded its army.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs programme, which was recorded at her home in December, Suu Kyi admitted: "It's genuine, I'm fond of the army.
"People don't like me for saying that. There are many who have criticised me for being what they call a poster girl for the army - very flattering to be seen as a poster girl for anything at this time of life - but I think the truth is I am very fond of the army, because I always thought of it as my father's army," the BBC quoted her as saying.
She explained that while the army had done "terrible" things in Myanmar, she hoped "it would redeem itself."
Suu Kyi, who studied in India, entered politics to work for democratisation, helped found the National League for Democracy on 27 September 1988, but was put under house arrest on 20 July, 1989.
She had returned to the country from the UK to nurse her mother, and was held after giving a speech to crowds of half a million during protests and political unrest.
Suu Kyi had been living in the UK with her husband, the academic Michael Aris, and their two sons. Aris was refused a visa to visit her before he died of terminal cancer in 1999.
Suu Kyi was not released until shortly after the November 2010 polls that formally ended military rule.
Myanmar President Thein Sein, a former general, has launched a slew of reforms after taking office in 2011, including freeing political prisoners, easing censorship and permitting Suu Kyi to enter parliament.
Her party has now rejoined the political process and secured a small presence in parliament after winning by- elections in April 2012.
Thein Sein has said he would accept Suu Kyi as president if her National League for Democracy wins the next elections in 2015.
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