A Politician and an Inspiration
by Paul MacDonald
Twenty five years ago a hopeful local politician met a future nobel prize winner who almost brought a tear to his eye as Aung San Suu Kyi spoke to an audience in the Danish capital of Oslo.
“I watched the news broadcast and heard her words when she said she felt at first ‘she was no longer part of the real world’ but added later ‘the prize we working for was a free, secure and just society where our people might be able to realise their full potential’.” says Paul Macdonald.
“What set up my emotional tear was hearing her say ‘Ultimately our aim should be to create a world free from the displaced, the homeless and the hopeless, a world in which each and every corner is a true sanctuary where the inhabitants will have the freedom and the capacity to live in peace.’. I do not know if Suu has ever read the preamble to the Liberal Party constitution but the similarity struck me instantly.”
The formal awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize of 1991 had been delayed because of the steadfastness of a woman defending peacefully under a 1989 house arrest campaigning for the future of her nation against a far east regime. It gave her inspiration two years later.
She refused to leave her people and her cause that year for fear of not being allowed to return.
“Suu has to be the most important twenty first century inspiration to all those who believe in democracy,” claims Paul who in 1992 stood as a Liberal parliamentary candidate having been elected as a district councillor in 1991.
“Just a few conversations around a lunch table all those years ago inspired me and continue to do so.”
Paul met Aung Sang Suu Kyi in his home town of Warminster when working for a book publisher. Suu is a relative of the now retired owners of the specialist academic and university book publishing company.
“It was instantly evident that Suu had a special personality,” adds Paul. “I had a vague knowledge of her background being interested in politics. In the newspaper reporting they now all assume we know who she is, just like Ghandi!“
Suu Kyi is the daughter of Aung San who as a possible democratic leader in Burma after the Second World War was assassinated by a rival. Suu has been described as ‘walking in the footsteps of Gandhi and Luther King’ in national coverage. Oxford graduate Suu married the brother of the Warminster family. He sadly passed away while Suu was committed to her role in Burma.
“I believe that some Nobel Peace Prizes are given away lightly because there are no outstanding candidates.” argues Paul. “As a Liberal in a country that is known as the mother of democracy I say we must do all we can to support her. This Peace Prize goes to someone who totally inspires me for the personal commitment she has made over the last 21 years of house arrest in her commitment to the people of Burma.
”This award surpasses many others. I have a hope that I might once meet her again. I think that all of us in this country who are interested in politics should get that opportunity to show her our admiration and support.
“I would rather meet her than those prime ministers and former prime ministers that are now appearing before the Leveson Inquiry!”
There is a dedicated website at www.mtvburmaaction.com