At the London School of Economics on Tuesday morning, there was only standing room as hundreds of students and academics turned up to see and hear Myanmar Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi as she kicked off a four-day visit to Britain with a call for her country's military rulers to “acknowledge'' the wrongs of the past.
Time alone would “not heal'' the wounds unless there was an acknowledgement of the horrors of the past and an “understanding of the rule of law.''
“The progress that we hope to make with regard to democratisation and reform depends so much on an understanding of the importance of the rule of law,” she said speaking at an LSE panel discussion on the reforms process in Myanmar.
Ms Suu Kyi was given a standing ovation as she was welcomed by LSE director Judith Rees, who reminded the audience that it was the Myanmarese leader's 67th birthday and invited them to sing “Happy Birthday.''
And then came a surprise birthday present: a photograph of her late father taken in London in 1947 presented to her by LSE Students' Union general secretary Alex Peters-Day
“It's a tribute not just to you but to all those who have campaigned for freedom in Burma [Myanmar],” Professor Rees told her.
Asked by a student how she found the strength to continue her campaign, Ms Suu Kyi said: “It's all of you, and people like you, who give me the strength to continue. And I suppose I have a stubborn streak in me.”
Later, she visited the BBC World Service which, she said helped her keep “in touch'' with the world.
Ms Suu Kyi's visit, dubbed a “homecoming'', has evoked extraordinary interest especially in Oxford where as a student she met her future husband, the academic Michael Aris, and set up home nearly 25 years ago.
“I want to see old friends again and rediscover old places where I have been happy,'' she said.
On Wednesday, Oxford University will confer an honorary degree on her.