Saturday, June 16, 2012

At Long Last, The Lady Gives Her Nobel Peace Prize Address



Earlier today, at long last, Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma finally gives her Nobel Peace Prize Address. She was awarded the prestigious prize 21 years ago. She has been under house arrest for at least 15 of those years. When she wasn't under house arrest, she was free to leave, with the understanding that the ruling military junta would not allow her to re-enter the country. This was especially brutal when her husband, Michael Aris, died of cancer. After the recent elections and the relaxing of some of the more oppressive rules, Aung San Suu Kyi is now able to travel outside of Burma on a goodwill tour, with stops in Switzerland (where she fell ill during a press conference in Geneva), Norway, and her adopted home of the United Kingdom (where her sons live, if I'm not mistaken).

In 1991, her eldest son Alexander Aris gave the Nobel Peace Prize address on his mother's behalf. He was about 18 years old at the time. In the excellent biopic, The Lady, the scene where Aung San Suu Kyi is excited yet anxious to hear the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony on the BBC is a powerful and heart-wretching scene. I couldn't hold back tears as she (played by Michelle Yeoh) was touched that her son was giving the speech on her behalf and again when she went to the piano to play along with the orchestra's Pachelbel's Canon in D (the first piece of classical music that I really loved).

I was excited to hear this speech as soon as it was posted on YouTube. 21 years may seem like a long time, but at some point, you realize the relativity of time and it feels like only yesterday. I'm happy to see what I consider to be the world's most beautiful woman (since the passing of Lady Diana Spencer in 1997) finally give her speech before the Nobel committee and the international audience. This is one ceremony that I wish that I could have gone to. Here's to a great Lady and the continual improvement of life in Burma. The Burmese have suffered far long enough. It's time for their country to rejoin the family of nations.

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