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Old 02-26-2002, 12:05 PM   #1
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The Champion Spirit In 'Walk On'

I have been thinking a lot about the song 'Walk On' lately, and not just because it is a Grammy nominated song, or whether it will win 'Song of the Year' or not, or even because it gave us great comfort after September 11, which it did, with itís inspiring hallelujah chorus beckoning us to walk on through uncertainty, fear, and anger.

But I've gone back to the songs original inspiration, and I've once again been challenged by a person that U2 and Bono have once again chosen to bring to our consciousness an extraordinary person celebrated for realizing that if they were ever going to see their dreams realized, they would need not expect someone else to do something about it, but they would have to rise to greatness themselves for the cause of human freedom and dignity.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi could have easily fought this battle alone without the international community knowing much about the suffering and injustice wrought in Burma. But U2 has written a beautiful hymn of encouragement to a woman that stands above all of the hatred, and bitter tears of her homeland that she could have easily forsaken. U2 has capsulated for all time the human spirit embodied in this woman who found her place in the heart of Bono and has given inspiration to a song that now gives us comfort and encouragement to face whatever injustices or heartache we may face in our own lives, and the desire to stand up and walk on.


Daw Aung San Suu Kyi had settled in to a quiet life as the mother of two and wife of a British professor when a return trip to her native Burma in 1988 turned her life around. Nine years and one Nobel Peace Prize later, Suu Kyi stands as Burma's adored national champion of democracy and human rights. Her current role as a democracy activist is fitting. Suu Kyi's father, Gen. Aung San, led Burma's struggle for independence from Britain in the mid-1940s. His daughter was 2 years old when enemies assassinated him in 1947, the year before Burma finally won its freedom.

---Tales of her father's heroism inspired Suu Kyi, charging her sense of idealism and responsibility to the Burmese people. Even as a young woman living thousands of miles away in England, she knew the day might come when her country would need her: In a 1971 letter to her husband-to-be, she worried that "national considerations might tear us apart." *She said: "The struggle for democracy and human rights in Burma is a struggle for life and dignity. It is a struggle that encompasses our political, social and economic aspirations. The people of my country want the two freedoms that spell security: freedom from want and freedom from fear." That time came in March 1988, when Suu Kyi returned to Burma to care for her dying mother.

---Four months later, Gen. Ne Win, the head of Burma's brutal socialist government, stepped down and a massive pro-democracy movement was born. Suu Kyi joined in, speaking at hundreds of rallies and helping to found the National League for Democracy. Determined nonviolence became her strength as she repeatedly faced down rifles with calm fearlessness. Her popularity swelled and supporters began to reverently refer to her as "the Lady." She is one of those rare individuals who symbolize not just the courage of human beings, but the courage of an entire country. There's an almost mystical identity between her and the Burmese people. Though soldiers refused to fire at Suu Kyi, they killed and tortured thousands of other protesters.

---The military regained control of the country in September, forming the State Law and Order Restoration Council. When their vicious slander campaign against Suu Kyi failed to stop her, they placed her under house arrest in July 1989. International pressure to release her began in 1991, when she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Companies pulled their business out of the country, and human-rights groups worldwide denounced the ruling military junta. Suu Kyi's captors finally relented in July 1995. Despite her freedom, which is still tightly restricted, battles continue to rage in Burma. Faced with the military's refusal to negotiate and a demoralized democracy movement, Suu Kyi now hopes that international pressure, namely sanctions and tourist boycotts, will be the key to political changes in her homeland.


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Old 02-26-2002, 04:05 PM   #2
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SpanishEyes, Chris, your the best poster on this site. Your posts are deep and meaningful and I could't agree with you more.

Anyways, thanks to U2 I have learned so much about this and a lot of other political issues. This is one of the reasons I love U2...

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Old 02-26-2002, 07:35 PM   #3
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I was inspired by your post about MLK back in January, and I'm moved once again by your spotlight on Suu Kyi. Thanks for this -- it's great to bring us back to the song's original inspiration on the eve of the Grammys, too.
Just the other day while listening to R&H's ISHFWILF, I imagined Walk On in a gospel choir arrangement. *shiver* and wouldn't The New Voices of Freedom be just the choir for her...

walk on
be strong
stay safe tonight

blessings, Chris --
Deb D

I wanna walk with you on an unapproved road

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Old 02-26-2002, 10:01 PM   #4
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Thanks Chris, for both...your words, beautifully put, and your research on this amazing woman.
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