Aung San Suu Kyi tells of fondness for Burma army

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image captionMs Suu Kyi's was interviewed for Desert Island Discs in Burma

Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has said she is still "fond" of her country's army, even though it kept her under house arrest for 15 years.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, she told presenter Kirsty Young her Buddhist faith had helped her defy Burma's dictatorship, and later face them when taking a seat in parliament.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner's father, Aung San, is considered the father of modern Burma, and founded its army.

The BBC interview took place in Burma.

During the programme, which was recorded at her home in December, Ms 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."

She explained that while the army had done "terrible" things in Burma, she hoped it would redeem itself.

And in a first for the programme, Ms Suu Kyi picked a record - Green, Green Grass Of Home by Tom Jones - that she had never heard before, because her personal assistant had recommended it.

She said: "I asked her which piece of music she'd like to choose and she said the Green, Green Grass Of Home.

"And she explained to me when she was working as a doctor in England it used to remind her of Burma - and I hope I like it."

Political prisoner

Ms Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest before Burma's 1990 election.

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.

Ms Suu Kyi had been living in the UK with her husband, the academic Michael Aris, and their two sons. Mr Aris was refused a visa to visit her before he died of terminal cancer in 1999.

The interview also includes her feelings about her relationship with him and how they dealt with the Burmese government's refusal to allow them to see each other.

Political prisoner Ms Suu Kyi was not released until shortly after the November 2010 polls that formally ended military rule.

Her party has now rejoined the political process and secured a small presence in parliament after winning by-elections in April 2012.

Ms Suu Kyi's selection on Desert Island Discs can be heard on BBC iPlayer.

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