Thursday 26 April 2018

Stars to honour Aung San Suu Kyi at Dublin concert

Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

BRONAGH O'HAGAN

A HOST of stars from the worlds of music, drama, cinema, and dance will turn out in Dublin tomorrow night to honour Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Ms Suu Kyi is visiting the capital as part of a whistle-stop European tour which takes in Switzerland, Norway -- where yesterday she gave her long-delayed acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize awarded in 1991 -- Ireland, the UK and France.

U2's Bono, Hollywood legend Vanessa Redgrave, folk singer Damien Rice, singer-songwriter Declan O'Rourke, American rapper Lupe Fiasco, and Bob Geldof are just some of those due to appear at a special concert for Ms Suu Kyi at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre.

Tickets for 'Electric Burma' sold out within 20 minutes of going on sale. During the event Ms Suu Kyi will be presented with Amnesty International's 'Ambassador of Conscience' Award by Bono.

The U2 singer has long been a loyal supporter of the Burmese politician, who has become an international icon for peace and human rights through her efforts to bring democracy to Burma.

Ms Suu Kyi arrives in Dublin tomorrow afternoon directly from Norway, where she declared yesterday that the Nobel Peace Prize she won while under house arrest 21 years ago helped to shatter her sense of isolation and ensured that the world would demand democracy in her military-controlled homeland.

On arrival at Dublin Airport Ms Suu Kyi will be greeted by the Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore. She will then travel to Aras an Uachtarain, where she will be welcomed by President Michael D Higgins, his wife Sabina, and the Dail's Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Immediately after 'Electric Burma,' a second open-air concert will be hosted by Dublin Lord Mayor Andrew Montague and Amnesty International.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place outside the Bord Gais Energy Theatre.

Ms Suu Kyi is expected to address the crowd briefly before signing Dublin's Roll of Honourary Freedom. She was awarded the Freedom of Dublin City 12 years ago.

Executive director of Amnesty International Ireland, Colm O'Gorman, commented:, "Aung San Suu Kyi's visit is a truly momentous occasion for everyone in Ireland, and throughout the world, who campaigned tirelessly for her release for more than 20 years. On behalf of Amnesty International members across the globe we are honoured to welcome her to Ireland for an event that will celebrate her freedom and her extraordinary life's work to secure freedom and human rights for her people."

This is Ms Suu Kyi's first visit to the West since 1988. Until a trip to Thailand last month, she had not been outside Burma in 23 years, either because she was under house arrest or for fear of not being allowed to return.

Sunday Independent

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