Amnesty International's 'Electric Burma' Concert Marks Extraordinary Moment as Iconic Prisoner of Conscience Becomes Ambassador of Conscience
Aung San Suu Kyi Calls for Immediate Release of All Remaining Prisoners of Conscience
(Washington, D.C.) — Amnesty International's Electric Burma concert this evening to honor Aung San Suu Kyi is the culmination of a dream many thought could not be realized. For over two decades, millions of people across the world have followed the story of Aung San Suu Kyi, the iconic figure of the global campaign to secure freedom and human rights for the people of Burma. For many long, hard years the dream of freedom seemed distant and unachievable. Tonight, on stage in Dublin, that dream was realized for the world to see.
The highpoint of an exhilarating evening was the presentation by Bono to Aung San Suu Kyi of the Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award. For still Images of the presentation, please visit Photocall Ireland: http://pr.photocallireland.com/pool/1013.
In accepting the award, Suu Kyi stated, "Throughout these years, you, others like you, and Amnesty International have helped us to keep our small wick of self respect alight. You have helped to keep the light. We hope that you will be with us in the years to come, that you will be able to join us in our dreams and not take either your eyes or your mind off us, and that you will help us to be the country where hope and history merges."
Addressing Aung San Suu Kyi, Bono stated "…from you we get the feeling that peace is not the absence of war around us but rather the absence of war within us. And that the foundations of a better future are better laid by mortar spared of blood."
Bono continued, "Everybody is here to sing for you tonight, but it’s your song that everyone wants to hear. It’s your song we need on the radio all over the world…..your words….your top-line melody. It’s a timeless song yet it seems more important in this time, than ever before.”
Tonight's concert saw dazzling performances from a range of artists across the world, including Angelique Kidjo, Lupe Fiasco, Damien Rice, Bob Geldof and Riverdance, against a stage backdrop of bird cages symbolizing Aung San Suu Kyi’s long battle for freedom.
The evening culminated in a set by Bono, including a duet with Damien Rice on a rendition of ‘Walk On' — U2’s 2001 single inspired by, and dedicated to, Aung San Suu Kyi.
The evening also featured moving spoken word performances by Vanessa Redgrave, Saoirse Ronan and Jack Gleeson.
In a moment of solidarity with those who remain prisoners of conscience in Burma, each member of the audience held up their palm, each one showing the name of a political prisoner in Burma.
Event organizer and founder of Art for Amnesty Bill Shipsey stated, "This has been an extraordinary evening – an evening of celebration and also an evening to remember those prisoners of conscience who remain hidden behind prison walls. Tonight an iconic prisoner of conscience became an Ambassador of Conscience. Tonight we join with her in calling for freedom for all prisoners of conscience – in Burma and beyond."
Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty International said, "For more than two decades Aung San Suu Kyi has inspired people across the globe by her refusal to accept that the cause of human rights and freedom could be defeated by relentless repression. Tonight we draw our inspiration once more from the dignity and determination of Daw Suu as we celebrate her freedom, and join with her in once again demanding human rights for all the people of Myanmar."
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.