This year’s BBC Reith Lectures on the subject “Securing Freedom” feature the world’s most famous former political prisoner and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi. Having clandestinely recorded the lecture’s at her lakeside home in Rangoon, the recordings were played back to a specially invited audience at the BBC World Service in London to enable audience participation and debate with the Lady via a phone link back into Burma. We were invited to attend both lectures and the first one has now been broadcast on the BBC World Service and you can listen to it via the link below:
Read the transcript here
In the opening section as Daw Suu starts talking about U Win Tin and Dr Daw May Win Myint and then go on to discuss Generation Wave, my mind immediately drifted back to them and other colleagues and close friends that I’ve come to know over the years inside the country. The second lecture and debate with The Lady took place last night and with an evening slot (after midnight in Burma) a bigger audience was able to enjoy the occasion. Both lectures were packed with an audience filled with leading human rights campaigners, NGO’s and academics as well as family members with whom we were attending. Questions often varied from the sublime to the ridiculous and at times left Sue Lawley tongue-tied, but the participation of the Lady was a joy to behold and even through an often fading phone line, it was as though she as there in the room with us. Perhaps most poignant moment in the evening was when Lord Steel reminded the world to the other side of the struggle for freedom and that of personal loss and questioning if sacrifice can be too high a price to pay in the end. Daw Suu talked boldly of the NLD’s continued growth and stature in the country in spite of everything the junta have thrown at them and perhaps it was this side to the discussions that were most telling. The youth have a role to play, one that is even more important than that of the international community. Did we learn anything new? Well if nothing else, then her spirit and that of her party is stronger than ever should anyone be left with any doubts.
The second lecture will be broadcast on Tuesday 5th July. In the meantime you can listen to Jacqueline San (campaigner at the Burma Campaign UK and also the other half of most of the work you see on this website) as she was interviewed on BBC World Service discussing the first Reith Lecture along with other dissidents from across the world: