Two Decades Later: Aung San Suu Kyi’s Nobel Acceptance Speech

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In 1991 Aung San Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize but was unable to collect it while under her extensive house arrest. Today she will begin her tour of Europe, including a stop in Oslo to give the speech that she was invited to give two decades ago.

Suu Kyi’s visit to Oslo for the belated Nobel address is just one of the appearances she will be making on her extended trip to Europe. She will also be addressing both houses of Parliament in London and in Dublin, she’ll be sharing a stage with U2 and Bono.

U Nyan Win, spokesman of the National League for Democracy (NLD), Suu Kyi’s party, said, “The NLD has stood firm for more than 20 years thanks in part to international support. We are stronger and more confident because of it. Lately, we have been trying to reform our party and we hope to hold a party congress later this year. This is a very crucial time for the party, and ‘The Lady’ needs the moral support of the international community.”

Violence in Myanmar

While the international spotlight is focused on Suu Kyi’s travels, Myanmar’s own attention is focused more locally – on the ethnic and sectarian violence occurring in Rakhine state on the borders of Bangladesh.

Last month reports emerged of a young Buddhist girl being raped and murdered by Muslims which has set off mob violence and revenge killings in the area. This past weekend, Buddhists marched around Yangon’s Shwedagon Pagoda asking the government to enforce immigration laws and protect them from the ‘illegal’ Rohingya and Bengali immigrants.

NLD Restructuring

Apart from her travels, Suu Kyi is also trying to restructure the NLD into a political party that can best help the people and win the 2015 general elections.

Up until now, the NLD has been a protest movement rather than a political party. Due to the oppression of the country, the movement has very little to no experience with democracy and are entirely dependent on Suu Kyi. She has since been trying to change this by building up party institutions and transform the movement into a younger and more democratic party.

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