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Every time I see her on the news, she sits smiling in her home under house arrest or has a large crowd following her. I know she is seen as a beacon of hope by her Burmese people. But in those short clips, she never speaks. I never really took the time to know Daw Aung San Suu Kyi‘s story or find out what led the Nobel Committee honour her with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

A few days ago, I listened to two talks she delivered at BBC in June/July 2011. Her talks deserve to be listened to again.

Passion translates as suffering and I would contend that in the political context, as in the religious one, it implies suffering by choice: a deliberate decision to grasp the cup that we would rather let pass. It is not a decision made lightly – we do not enjoy suffering; we are not masochists. It is because of the high value we put on the object of our passion that we are able, sometimes in spite of ourselves, to choose suffering…

Fear is the first adversary we have to get past when we set out to battle for freedom, and often it is the one that remains until the very end. But freedom from fear does not have to be complete. It only has to be sufficient to enable us to carry on; and to carry on in spite of fear requires tremendous courage.

 You can listen to her two talks and read the transcripts at BBC – The Rieth Lectures.

Then see if you agree with the Nobel Committee.

“…the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to honour this woman for her unflagging efforts and to show its support for the many people throughout the world who are striving to attain democracy, human rights and ethnic conciliation by peaceful means.” —Oslo, 14 October 1991


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