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Nobel peace prize ‘showed the world had not forgotten Burma’

17 June 2012 06:58 pm - 2     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Aung San Suu Kyi calls on humanity to never stop in the pursuit of peace during moving acceptance speech in Oslo
Under the vast murals of Oslo’s City Hall, the traditional venue for the Nobel peace prize lectures, Aung Sun Suu Kyi appeared impossibly small, entering the hall wearing a purple jacket and flowing lilac scarf to the sound of a trumpet fanfare.
It was a moment that, as Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Nobel committee, said as he introduced her, had been long anticipated in Norway. A moment delayed for 21 years largely by her 12 years of house arrest by Burma’s military junta.

“Today’s event is one of the most remarkable in the entire history of the Nobel prizes …,” Jagland said. “Now [you] are finally here. We hope that [Chinese human rights activist] Liu Xiaobo will not have to wait as long as [you] have before he can come to Oslo.”
In the packed hall, where Norwegian dignitaries rubbed shoulders with Buddhist monks in saffron robes and Burmese guests in traditional costume, Aung San Suu Kyi delivered her deeply moving and personal acceptance speech – the high point of her first visit to Europe in 24 years.

Jagland recalled how when the peace prize had celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2001, with more than 30 peace laureates in attendance, “we left one chair empty [for her]”.

The music chosen for the event seemed poignantly appropriate – Ole Bull’s piece for a solo violin entitled In Moments of Solitude, and the performance by Burmese harpist Nei Wah of Aung San Suu Ki’s favourite piece, Loving Kindness and the Golden Harp.

After a long ovation, the pro-democracy leader began her acceptance speech with a memory of listening to Desert Island Discs with her son Alexander in the Oxford home she shared with her late husband, the academic Michael Aris, from whom she was separated for so long.

Quoting from I Have a Rendezvous with Death by Alan Seeger, the US poet who was killed fighting with the French Legion in the first world war, Aung San Suu Kyi said she regretted that almost 100 years later such violence was still widespread.
The most important thing about the prize, she insisted, was that it had demonstrated to her that the world had not forgotten the plight of Burma during its long years of repression.
“[The prize] made me real once again: it had drawn me back into the wider human community. And what was most important, the Nobel prize had drawn the attention of world to the struggle for democracy and human rights in Burma. We were not going to be forgotten.”

Admitting that the search for “absolute peace” in the world was unattainable, she insisted, however, that humanity should not cease the pursuit of peace “like a traveller in the desert fixes his eyes on one guiding star”.
Most movingly she appealed for the world to remember that while her time as a prisoner of conscience was over, there were those in her country who had not yet been released or received justice.
The Guardian
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  • Shaik Ahamath Tuesday, 19 June 2012 01:22 PM

    I have the greatest admiration for Aung San Suu Kyi and I hope it was just a slip when she dodged answering a reporter when asked if she would campaign to restore the rights of the Rohingyya community in Myanmar. Her late father promised them full citizenship but Myanmar's 1982 Citizenship Act excluded them together with a few others, mostly Muslim tribes, from attaining Myanmar Citizenship. Aung San Suu Kyi intimated that she might be respecting the discriminatory 1982 Act.

    Mr. B Wijeyasingha Tuesday, 19 June 2012 01:44 AM

    "To ensure peace one must be prepared for war" in the persuit of peace a nation cannot dismiss the possibility of war. Many a statesmen have sought peace avoiding this advice. When world war 1 ended it was stated "the war to end all wars". Neville Chamberlain's infamous statement after negotiating with Hitler "Peace in our Time" was anything but that. Aung San Suu Kyi message is most welcome but she does not clarify how peace is to be achieved when nations seek power. Her good intentions are also welcome but unless a nation is willing to fight for peace for peace is seldom if ever given then the old saying that "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".'


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