Pro-Democracy Activist Aung San Suu Kyi Will Be Celebrated in Dublin
On June 18, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Burmese opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi will visit Dublin on behalf of Amnesty International, making it her first trip to Europe since 1988. Amnesty International in Dublin has organized a concert for Aung San Suu Kyi titled “Electric Burma.” Artists playing for the human rights activist include Bob Geldor, Damien Rice and Ireland’s own Riverdance. A live performance of “Toast To Freedom,” a new song celebrating the 50th anniversary of Amnesty International will also take place.
The highlight of the event will be U2’s Bono presenting Aung San Suu Kyi with Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience award. Amnesty confers this award to individuals who “demonstrate exceptional leadership in the fight to protect and promote human rights.” Nelson Mandela, Mary Robinson and Václav Havel were all past recipients of this award.
In the late 1980s, amidst political turmoil, Aung San Suu Kyi led the National League for Democracy, a non-violent group calling for democratic reforms and free elections. The Burmese military seized control of the government in 1988, and called for elections in 1990. Under house arrest, Aung San Suu Kyi was disqualified from standing in the elections, though her NLD party won in the polls. The military remained in power and Aung San Suu Kyi found herself under house arrest or in prison 15 of the last 24 years. She was finally released from house arrest for good in November 2010. In April 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi and other NLD members ran in special elections and won 43 out of the 45 seats contested.
In 1990, Aung San Suu Kyi made her famous Freedom From Fear speech, which begins with one of her most notable quotes: “It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”