The band will dedicate a song at its June 19th concert in Dublin, Ireland, to the world’s only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Aung San Suu Kyi. The song will be broadcast via satellite television inside the Southeast Asian country of Burma, where Suu Kyi is held under arrest. With the aid of satellite technology, this will be the first time the Burmese people will be able to watch part of an international music concert in which musicians speak about Aung San Suu Kyi.
“Her dedication, resolve, courage and patience are the mark of a leader. We stand tall for her, as she will again stand tall for herself,” said R.E.M. lead singer Michael Stipe.
Currently, Burma is ruled by one of the world’s most brutal military dictatorships. Over 1,500 political prisoners are held behind bars, while millions of Burmese citizens are forced into a modern form of slave labor. The ruling dictators have conscripted an estimated 70,000 child soldiers, far more than any other country in the world.
In stark contrast to the military regime, which rules through brute force, Aung San Suu Kyi is totally committed to nonviolence and steers the human rights movement. Her political party, the National League for Democracy, won an estimated 82% of seats in parliament in Burma’s last election, but the ruling dictators ignored the results. Her overwhelming popularity among the Burmese people and her commitment to justice and democracy has led her to become known as the “Nelson Mandela of Asia”.
Aung San Suu Kyi has won over 70 major international awards for her work on behalf of the people of Burma, including the Nobel Peace Prize, Sakharov Prize from the European Parliament, and the US Presidential Medal of Freedom. She has called on individuals, organizations, and governemnts around the world to support Burma’s democracy movement, stating, “Please, use your liberty to promote ours.”
R.E.M.âs concert in Dublin is part of a global series of events demanding Aung San Suu Kyi’s release on her 60th birthday, which is June 19th. Protests will be held at one dozen embassies of the military regime around the world, while governments in the West and Southeast Asia are rallying support for her release.
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