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A true heroine honours us

Aung San Suu Kyi came to Dublin to receive an honour, the Freedom of the City.

But she conferred a greater honour on ourselves, simply by gracing us with her presence.

In all of history, it is difficult to think of any woman who has been more widely or more justly admired.

Through a series of persecutions and misfortunes which have followed her throughout almost her entire adult life, she has never wavered from her principles. She has won battles for human rights, against appalling odds, without firing a shot -- without lifting a finger.

These battles were fought against the vicious military regime in her native Burma.

The regime seemed invulnerable, but she had more powerful weapons than any gun: her quiet dignity, her immutable honesty, the reverence of the people.

And she won. Even the Burmese military did not dare to murder her or throw her into a dungeon.

They contented themselves with banning her party and placing her under house arrest.

She had to wait 12 years to collect her Freedom of Dublin.

She had had to wait even longer, 21 years, to pick up her Nobel Peace Prize.

They were hard years. But towards the end, her persistence bore fruit. Liberal reforms are at last in progress.

She has confounded the cynics who do not believe that peaceful protest can overcome tyranny.

A triumph for Burma, and for humanity.