Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Electric Burma

Aung San Suu Kyi was in Dublin yesterday to receive the most prestigious award that Amnesty International bestows,  Amnesty Ambassador of Conscience Award, Which was presented to her by Bono. For many, many years U2 has campaigned for her release from house arrest, yet Bono had not met Aung San Suu Kyi until Monday when she was in Norway to finally pick up her Nobel Peace Prize which was originally awarded in 1991, he accompanied her there and then on to Ireland. He admitted to being "starstruck" at meeting her.

You can watch her lovely acceptance speech for the Ambassador of Conscience here - I love her anecdote about the "Irish of the east". She is a amazing woman whose strength of mind and heart belies her small, petite stature. There aren't many "great" people around nowadays, who can truly inspire people, but she is one special lady. Also her English is soooo good, I know she was educated at Oxford, but her English barely has an accent.

She also received the Freedom of the City of Dublin while she was in the city. This was given to her in 2000 at the same time U2 received the same award.  My friends and I were there in Smithfield to witness this event and enjoy the accompanying concert, it was a great night. but there was also a bit of sadness as Aung Sang Suu Kyi was not able to be there as she was under house arrest in Burma. Her son accepted the award on her behalf.

There was a concert at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre in Dublin called Electric Burma after the award was given at which various artists such as Bono, Bob Geldof, Damien Rice, Declan O'Rourke, Riverdance amongst others performed.  Bono sang Walk On (along with a couple more songs) which was written specifically for Aung San Suu Kyi. It was an acoustic performance and it was simply fabulous! One of those tingly, thrilling moments that all you U2 fans will know about, beautiful, the words even more moving now that the bird in the cage was free and sitting there listening to those wonderful lyrics. It must have been amazing to be there live, I would have loved to have gone over but there was no way I could have at the moment. You can watch the video of this below.

And finally, Happy Birthday to Aung San Suu Kyi, 67 today, and despite her trials she certainly doesn't look it. She was in Oxford in the UK today where she studied and met and married her husband who has now passed away. When asked  about memories the city must have for her and her birthday she said "I feel a bit younger again." Touching, and let's hope there are many more birthdays for her as a free woman.

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