Burmese Pro-Democracy Leader Suu Kyi Accepts Nobel Peace Prize 21 Years After Award

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Common Dreams

Burmese Pro-Democracy Leader Suu Kyi Accepts Nobel Peace Prize 21 Years After Award

by
Common Dreams staff

Aung San Suu Kyi delivers her acceptance speech during the Nobel peace prize ceremony in Oslo. (photo: Daniel Sannum-Lauten/AFP/Getty Images)

Today in Oslo Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has formally accepted the Nobel Prize she was awarded 21 years ago while under house arrest by the Burmese military junta.

In her speech today she said that humanity must continue to search for peace "like a traveler in the desert fixes his eyes on one guiding star."

Awarding her the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, the Norwegian Nobel Committee stated, "Suu Kyi's struggle is one of the most extraordinary examples of civil courage in Asia in recent decades. She has become an important symbol in the struggle against oppression."

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The Guardian: Aung San Suu Kyi accepts Nobel peace prize

In an event hailed as the "most remarkable in the entire history of the Nobel prizes", Aung Sun Suu Kyi has delivered her acceptance speech in Oslo for the peace prize awarded to her more than two decades ago. [...]

Her wide-ranging and personal lecture touched on several themes, including her feelings of isolation under house arrest, the Buddhist concept of suffering, human rights, her hopes and fears for Burma's future, and the importance of the peace prize itself.

"[The prize] did not seem quite real because in a sense I did not feel myself to be quite real at that time. Often during my days of house arrest it felt as though I were no longer a part of the real world.

"There was the house which was my world, there was the world of others who also were not free but who were together in prison as a community, and there was the world of the free; each was a different planet pursuing its own separate course in an indifferent universe.

"What the Nobel peace prize did was to draw me once again into the world of other human beings outside the isolated area in which I lived, to restore a sense of reality to me. This did not happen instantly, of course, but as the days and months went by and news of reactions to the award came over the airwaves, I began to understand the significance of the Nobel prize. It had made me real once again.

"And what was more important, the Nobel prize had drawn the attention of the world to the struggle for democracy and human rights in Burma. We were not going to be forgotten.

"When the Nobel committee awarded the peace prize to me they were recognising that the oppressed and the isolated in Burma were also a part of the world; they were recognising the oneness of humanity … The Nobel peace prize opened up a door in my heart."

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