We, humans live in this world amongst hatred, differences and violence, a world where equality seems to be impossible but it is those truly extraordinary people like Aung San Suu Kyi, Anwar Sadat and Noel Pearson who work with what they have to empower others to take action against issues that paralyse so many in the global community. They take us beyond the ordinary and challenge us to open our hearts and minds to the injustices, intolerance and other issues of enduring human concern that resonate in the 21st century and inspire us to see the world in a new light through using dialogue and the power of rhetoric rather than carnage. As Swami Radhananda says – ‘Speech is our tool to navigate the world. Through the power of rhetoric we have an incredible resource for communication and creation’. They are a call to action, to overcome injustices and to address enduring issues of intolerance and unity.
With many of the speeches it is apparent that it is the speaker, a visionary and exemplary leader, who can sense as a source of inspiration to the audience. Kyi’s keynote address to the Women’s conference in 1995 establishes kairos and ethos in the exordium by stressing the importance of her situation as her speech was delivered via video-link because she was under house arrest after being elected into government. Sadat, the Egyptian president made his speech to the Israeli Knesset in1977. In the exordium he establishes the religious connection the have, frankly stating his purpose to achieve peace based on justice. He highlights the similarities the countries have through their monotheistic beliefs and the idea of unity. Pearson’s speech at the Chancellor’s club dinner, 1996 highlighted the hot button issues of discrimination and inequality toward aboriginals which were spoken about through the body of the speech. The underlying issue was that Australians had to recognise the mistakes made in the past to forge a new future. In the exordium an appeal to kairos was made by making references to his University Professor who invited him to speak. The Module B speeches, as a whole, aim to ‘dissipate the darkness of intolerance, hate, suffering and despair’ – Suu Kyi.
In Module B the audience is confronted with the enduring issues of inequality and human rights violations. Acknowledging the commonalities and treating people equally is evident as a difficult task in Module B but through the power of rhetoric we are inspired to hope for better conditions. Equality between white Australians and Aboriginals is evident in Pearson’s speech by using historical references of the Native Title Act and from historian Professors who state ‘they dwell on legal implications of the recognition of native title’. Senator Herron was also referred to saying; ‘a balance is needed between acknowledging pain from the past injustices and acting to ensure full equality in the future’ which gives us the basis of decisions in the High court on land rights and the acknowledgement of the past to strive for equality in the future. By addressing the ‘Hot button’ issues at that time it challenges us to question any views we have about the sympathy and recognition we should have towards Aboriginals in the new future.
The seven speeches encourage us to consider a pluralistic way of seeing the world that encourages diversity, equity and unity. Sadat makes references to equality by using the metaphor ‘rise above forms of fanaticism and obsolete theories of superiority’ which recaps that no matter what religion we are adherents to, no-one is superior, we are all humans and it needs to be accepted that we have many commonalities. To highlight the urgent needs and reasons for equality to be achieved, Sadat uses Enumeration ‘first fact, second fact etc’ which addresses the seriousness of the conflict and the proposition to establish peace based on justice. Suu Kyi motivates us to address notions of parity by using emotional language; ‘the regaining of my freedom’...
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