Saturday, June 16, 2012

Nobel Peace Prize speech by Aung San Suu Kyi in Oslo

I have just finished watching the live speech by the Burmese peace and democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, which has been delayed by 21 years due to oppression.

The speech may be read from this link to the Nobel web site - 

Aung San Suu Kyi

It was transmitted on TV from Oslo courtesy of Reuters and CNN, according to the on screen tags, but online highlights, are provided by Fox News, from here. When available I will post, from here, the video of the entire speech. I personally found the following passage particularly significant and moving:

The Burmese concept of peace can be explained as the happiness arising from the cessation of factors that militate against the harmonious and the wholesome. The word nyein-chan translates literally as the beneficial coolness that comes when a fire is extinguished. Fires of suffering and strife are raging around the world. In my own country, hostilities have not ceased in the far north; to the west, communal violence resulting in arson and murder were taking place just several days before I started out on the journey that has brought me here today. News of atrocities in other reaches of the earth abound. Reports of hunger, disease, displacement, joblessness, poverty, injustice, discrimination, prejudice, bigotry; these are our daily fare. Everywhere there are negative forces eating away at the foundations of peace. Everywhere can be found thoughtless dissipation of material and human resources that are necessary for the conservation of harmony and happiness in our world. 

The First World War represented a terrifying waste of youth and potential, a cruel squandering of the positive forces of our planet. The poetry of that era has a special significance for me because I first read it at a time when I was the same age as many of those young men who had to face the prospect of withering before they had barely blossomed. A young American fighting with the French Foreign Legion wrote before he was killed in action in 1916 that he would meet his death “at some disputed barricade;” “on some scarred slope of battered hill;” “at midnight in some flaming town.” Youth and love and life perishing forever in senseless attempts to capture nameless, unremembered places. And for what? Nearly a century on, we have yet to find a satisfactory answer.

Are we not still guilty, if to a less violent degree, of recklessness, of improvidence with regard to our future and ourhumanity? War is not the only arena where peace is done to death. Wherever suffering is ignored, there will be the seeds of conflict, for suffering degrades and embitters and enrages.

I urge those who can, to watch it in full, it provides a bright moment of hope for all humanity, amongst the economic darkness and other difficulties that presently seem to prevail in our world, upon which, sadly, I normally elect to blog!



Anonymous Mirza Galib said...

At last good sing of change in Myanmar, every one need to salute this lady for her persistence fight for democracy.

5:42 PM  

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