The closing statements of Aung San Suu Kyi’s Keynote Address at the Beijing World Conference on Women, 1995, epitomise the message she presents in her speech. Although she addresses a specific audience and follows a specific purpose, the values she extols of tolerance, equality and peace are universal. In the opinion of this responder, it is the treatment of these fundamental human beliefs and aspirations that makes this speech so significant. As an inhabitant of a developed nation in which the spread of democracy and the importance of woman rights have significantly decreased the advent of inequality and intolerance, Suu Kyi’s ideas are all the more important. It is essential not to take for granted our fortunate and prosperous way of life – we must learn from the messages her speech provides, even if it does not appear at first glance that they apply. This too is my response to Anwar Sadat’s Speech to the Israeli Knesset, 1977. Like Suu Kyi, Sadat addresses a specific audience with a specific purpose, and the message he conveys to put an end to the conflict and injustice is based on the key values of tolerance and peace.
Suu Kyi’s landmark speech came at the end of the two waves of feminism in the Western world, however the effects of these were still not readily visible in non-democratic countries, such as Suu Kyi’s Burma. By addressing this international forum, Suu Kyi’s purpose is to speak about “peace, security, human rights and democracy” in the context of “the participation of women in politics and governance”. This intention is reflected in the final paragraph of her closing statement, reinforcing her role primarily to inspire her audience, and set the tone for the remainder of the forum. Her message is centred on the idea that the traditional roles of women “nurturing, protecting and caring for the young and the old” may be modernised and applied to politics. Her use of animal imagery and simile in “brave as lionesses defending their young” serves...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document