Friday, June 22, 2012

22-6-2012 Suu Kyi recalls Nehru in her address to UK parliament

Times of India
Ashis Ray, TNN | Jun 22, 2012, 04.39AM IST
LONDON: In a stirring speech before the joint session of British parliament, Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday held out the promise that her country, under brutal military rule for 49 years, will achieve full democracy.

Referring to her nation as Burma rather than the junta-dictated Myanmar, the 67-year-old campaigner for human rights warned, "This is the most important time for Burma; this is the moment of our greatest need."

Su Kyi then appealed, "I would ask our friends here (in the 900-year-old Westminster Hall) and in Britain and beyond to support Burma's efforts towards establishment of a truly democratic and just society." She continued, "My country has not yet entered the ranks of truly democratic societies but I am confident we will — with your help."

Suu Kyi, who left Oxford 24 years ago, began her address with a reference to India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Citing her father, general Aung San's meeting with then British PM Clement Attlee at 10, Downing Street, she said, "He (her father) was pictured wearing a British military issue great coat... given to him by Jawaharlal Nehru en route to the UK to protect him from the cold."

She mentioned another Indian during her 24-minute oration, sitar maestro Ravi Shankar. Talking of her dark days when she was under house arrest, she said listening to Mozart and Ravi Shankar kept her going.

Throughout her sojourn of England, she has been treated like a head of state in a major departure from protocol . It emerged that Whitehall to balance its diplomacy has invited Myanmar president Thein Sein for an official trip to the UK, the first in 50 years later in 2012.