News / Asia

    Aung San Suu Kyi Says Nobel Prize Dispelled Isolation

    Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi tours the Nobel Peace center in Oslo, Norway June 16, 2012.
    Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi tours the Nobel Peace center in Oslo, Norway June 16, 2012.
    Selah Hennessy
    21 years after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi traveled to Norway to speak about the time when she was named to receive the award in 1991, when she was held under house arrest in Rangoon. Suu Kyi said the peace prize rescued her from isolation and reunited her in spirit with the world community. 
     
    Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland praised the democracy leader's long struggle for human rights and said she is "a precious gift to the world community." Turning to Suu Kyi, he said her Nobel lecture Saturday was one of the most remarkable events in the history of the peace awards.
     
    "Please know: In your isolation you have become a moral voice for the whole world," Jagland said.

    Due to her detention in 1991, Suu Kyi's husband and her two sons traveled to Oslo to accept the Nobel award on her behalf.

    Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, on the podium, second from left, receives standing ovations the Norwegian Nobel Committee her speech at the Peace Nobel Prize lecture at the city hall in Oslo, Saturday, June 16, 2012.Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, on the podium, second from left, receives standing ovations the Norwegian Nobel Committee her speech at the Peace Nobel Prize lecture at the city hall in Oslo, Saturday, June 16, 2012.
    x
    Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, on the podium, second from left, receives standing ovations the Norwegian Nobel Committee her speech at the Peace Nobel Prize lecture at the city hall in Oslo, Saturday, June 16, 2012.
    Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, on the podium, second from left, receives standing ovations the Norwegian Nobel Committee her speech at the Peace Nobel Prize lecture at the city hall in Oslo, Saturday, June 16, 2012.
    Addressing the Nobel Committee in Norway's capital Saturday, she recalled how that recognition long ago gave her strength during the isolation of house arrest.
     
    "It had drawn me back into the wider human community," she explained. "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." 
     
    Suu Kyi was either imprisoned or held under house arrest for most of the following two decades, and she refused to even try to leave Burma, out of fear that she would not be allowed to return to her homeland. Her trip to Europe now is only her second journey abroad since she was freed in 2010.
     
    She spoke about the importance of world peace in her speech Saturday. The global aim, she said, should be to create a world where no one is displaced, homeless or hopeless.
     
    "War is not the only arena where peace is done to death. Wherever suffering is ignored there will be the seeds for conflict, for suffering degrades and embitters and enrages," she stressed.
     
    • Burmese citizens residing in South Korea greet Aung San Suu Kyi upon her arrival at a hotel in central Seoul, January 28, 2013.
    • U.S. President Barack Obama waves to the media as he embraces Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi after they spoke to the media at her residence in Rangoon, November 19, 2012.
    • Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, center, waters a sapling after planting it in Govindapuram village, north of Bangalore, India, November 17, 2012.
    • Burmese opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi pays floral tribute on the birth anniversary of India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, at his memorial in New Delhi, India, November 14, 2012.
    • U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, September 19, 2012.
    • Burma's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi holds her Congressional Gold Medal after it was presented to her by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (2nd L), at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, September 19, 2012.
    • Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, meets with Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi at the State Department, Washington, September 18, 2012.
    • Aung San Suu Kyi, center, arrives for the Peace Nobel Prize lecture at the city hall in Oslo, June 16, 2012 to thank the Nobel committee for the prize she won in 1991.
    • Aung San Suu Kyi addresses about 4,000 people gathered outside her house in Rangoon, Burma, June 1, 1996.
    • Aung San Suu Kyi is surrounded by security guards and newsmen as she walks out of her lakeside house in Rangoon, Burma, Juy 14, 1995.
    • Aung San Suu Kyi addresses crowd of supporters in Rangoon, Burma, July 7, 1989.
    • Aung San Suu Kyi addresses crowd of supporters in Rangoon, Burma, July 7, 1989.
    • Swiss Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga, left Swiss President Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, center, and Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in Bern, Switzerland, June 14, 2012.
    • Aung San Suu Kyi during an election campaign rally in Thongwa village some 50 kms from Rangoon, Burma, February 26, 2012
    • Aung San Suu Kyi is presented with flowers by cheering Karen refugees at Mae La refugee camp in Tha Song Yang district, Tak province, northern Thailand, June 2, 2012.
    • Aung San Suu Kyi, center, and elected lawmakers of her National League for Democracy party take an oath during a regular session of the Lower House at parliament in Naypyitaw, Burma, May 2, 2012.
    • British Prime Minister David Cameron and Aung San Suu Kyi share a light moment during their meeting in the compound of her lakeside home, April 13, 2012, Rangoon, Burma.
    • Aung San Suu Kyi arrives at the headquarters of her National League for Democracy party, April 2, 2012, Rangoon, Burma.
    • Aung San Suu Kyi speaks to journalists during the press conference in her residence in Rangoon, Burma, March 30, 2012.
    • Aung San Suu Kyi, right, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton react after speaking to the press at Suu Kyi's residence in Rangoon, Burma, December 2, 2011.
    • Aung San Suu Kyi and her youngest son Kim Aris pay respect to her father, the late Geneneral Aung San, at the Martyr's Mausoleum in Rangoon, Burma, July 12, 2011.

    Burma had been ruled by a military junta since the early 1960s - until its first general election in two decades in 2010, and a civilian government was installed the following year.
     
    Suu Kyi said the recent reforms are a positive sign, but she warned the world not be excessively optimistic about how rapidly Burma is changing.
     
    Trouble, she says, continues.
     
    "Fires of suffering and strife are raging around the world. In my own country hostilities have not yet ceased in the far north," she noted. "To the west, communal violence resulting in arson and murder were taking place just several days before I started out on the journey that has brought me here today." 
     
    Sectarian violence between Buddhists and Muslims erupted in western Burma earlier this month. Official reports say 28 people have died and tens of thousands of people have been displaced. The country's president has declared a state of emergency and sent in army troops to keep the peace.
     
    Suu Kyi's 17-day tour of Europe began in Switzerland. She also will visit Britain, to address Parliament, and Ireland, to receive an award from Amnesty International in Dublin, and France.

    Loading timeline...

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Sunny from: the USA
    June 16, 2012 9:49 PM
    Yes, it has been for 21 years! She finally gets it! It is great victories
    of freedom,democracy and human rights ! As she said Nobel Prize dispelled isolation. Now we are waiting for next winner, Mr. Liu Xiaobo will do the same to get this great prize some years later.Chinese Communist regime can not block this forever.Mr.Liu must stand there some day to speak out his words to the world!
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    June 18, 2012 1:15 AM
    looking for the moment

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora