Category Archives: Rotary Peace Forum

Rotary Peace Forum: Nonviolent Peace Force

Dr. Ann Frisch was the speaker at the Rotary Peace Foundation.  

Here is some information about her and the Nonviolent Peace Force.

http://www.nonviolentpeaceforce.org/women-power-dr-ann-frisch-presents-unarmed-civilian-peacekeeping-canada

Women Power: Dr. Ann Frisch Presents Unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping in Canada

Dr. Ann Frisch served on the Nonviolent Peaceforce team in Guatemala that protected human rights defenders during the violent elections there in 2007.  On October 2, 2010, she presented unarmed civilian peacekeeping at the meeting of the Peace and Justice Studies Association in Winnipeg, Canada.  The theme of the meeting was “Building Bridges, Crossing Borders: Gender, Identity and Security in the Search for Peace.”  The meeting also celebrated the 10th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which calls on all parties to involve women in the highest levels of decision making.

Unarmed civilian peacekeeping is a movement you can say “yes” to in an era of gross violations against human rights, assaults on human rights defenders and increasing numbers of civilian casualties of armed conflict.

The United Nations is engaged in the important work of moving the world toward protection of conflict-affected civilians, and is working to acknowledge the needs specific to the protection of women and girls. Equally important to providing protection to civilians is the expectation of the UN that individuals and groups will join with member states to protect human rights, guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and subsequent declarations such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the conventions on genocide, protection of children and women in armed conflicts, and many more. UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and its successors affirm the importance of women being involved in peacekeeping, peacemaking and reconciliation at the highest levels of decision making.

But not surprisingly, there was bad news about peace and justice at this meeting. Evaluations of the effect of these resolutions indicate that armed UN peacekeepers have not provided the mandated protection to civilians, and in some cases have been involved in committing violence toward them. Neither women nor other civilians have been involved significantly at the highest levels of decision making even under UN auspices. Human rights defenders are under siege in many areas, even by some UN member states.

A variety of reasons have been offered for these failures, including over-reliance on resolutions, mandates and operating procedures to protect and involve civilians. Efforts to date have been mostly top-down in a status quo-oriented bureaucratic organization. The UN does intervene with unarmed staff in many situations. However, it relies heavily on armed UN peacekeepers to do the major work of protecting and involving civilians in resolving conflicts, which is a role better performed by civil society organizations. The good news is that the world does not need to wait until the UN machinery can do that work: It is already being done by Nonviolent Peaceforce. We have trained professional, gender-balanced civilian teams from around the world already successfully providing unarmed protection.  
In Mindanao, the Philippines, Nonviolent Peaceforce was invited by the armed parties to the conflict to be on the International Monitoring Team (IMT). Our partner organizations (compromised of women and men) are also seated on the IMT. For example, Bantay Ceasefire Humanitarian Protection, a member of the Mindanao Peoples Caucus, has a thousand volunteers who monitor human rights in Mindanao including a team of all-woman unarmed peacekeepers. Together with the powerful local civilian groups, we are a remarkable force for peaceful resolution of conflict. Nonviolent Peaceforce has 88 peacekeepers here working with the Mindanao Peoples Caucus.  

In Sudan, where any spark could ignite a humanitarian crisis, there are signs of hope. Nonviolent Peaceforce provided neutral safe space and protected local authorities, who prevented violence between people whose cattle had been stolen and those who stole them.  The successful resolution of this dispute brings promise of more collaboration between conflicting parties.  

In a country where 50 percent of the population is under 17, Nonviolent Peaceforce is providing protection to children who have to struggle with the fact that their parents and those of their classmates are often opponents from conflicting tribes.  Imagine teachers and students working together to create unarmed security in their schools so they can get on with their schooling and building better futures for themselves.

In Sri Lanka, the searing violence in Batticaloa in 2009 that followed several murders and abductions risked spreading to nearby Valaichchenai.  But it did not.  Nonviolent Peaceforce had been providing protection to civilian-based organizations in Valaichchenai since 2003.  We worked with women and men of diverse ethnicities and religions, ages and occupations to create early-warning systems, rumor control and youth outreach. We also partnered with local civilian society organizations committed to preventing violence. These efforts so strengthened the community of Valaichchenai that it was able to maintain peace despite the upheaval in Batticaloa.  

In the last few months, 50 people (three-fourths of them women) participated in training for unarmed civilian peacekeeping to provide real security for their communities. Following the training, a group of trailblazing women won the release of two men who had spent over a year in prison. Imagine the joy of having your community secure and your family safe at home.

For the same dollars the world’s militaries expend in one day, Nonviolent Peaceforce could put 50,000 unarmed civilian peacekeepers in the field for a year.  

Nonviolent Peaceforce teams enter communities by invitation from local groups working on human rights and reconciliation in areas of deeply rooted violent conflict. Our nonpartisan unarmed civilian peacekeepers protect civilians, work to bring armed parties in conflict together for talks, and create spaces for women and men to do the work of peacemaking in their communities. 

Imagine peace breaking out everywhere with unarmed peacekeepers protecting the people who are working to keep schools safe, seeds sown, families secure, crops harvested and shops tended.

We celebrate the standards from the UN, the world’s peacekeeping body, which 

  • calls for the protection of women and men, boys and girls
  • expects member states to protect civilian human rights defenders 
  • expects women to be involved at the highest levels of peacekeeping

These standards represent important steps forward for humankind. We must seize the day and move quickly under the banner of these standards to the large-scale implementation of unarmed civilian peacekeeping. agine all of us feeling safe enough, no matter where we live, to openly work for peace, building bridges — roads and relationships — going to work, and taking care of our children, our parents and our communities. We celebrate that we the people are at this moment seizing the great UN mandates to make this happen through unarmed civilian peacekeeping.

 

Dr. Ann Frisch is presently cochair of the U.S. Nonviolent Peaceforce Fund Raising Board. She served on one of the early Nonviolent Peaceforce teams in Guatemala protecting human rights defenders during the violent elections there in 2007. She is professor emerita, University of Wisconsin — Oshkosh, and is a member of the Peace and Justice Studies Association.

 

http://www.nonviolentpeaceforce.org/about

About Nonviolent Peaceforce

As an unarmed, paid civilian peacekeeping force, Nonviolent Peaceforce fosters dialogue among parties in conflict and provides a protective presence for threatened civilians.

With the headquarters in Brussels, NP peacekeeping teams are presently deployed in the Philippines, in South Sudan, and the South Caucasus. Our peacekeepers include veterans of conflict zones, experienced peacekeepers, and those new to the field with the right combination of experience, skills, aptitude and attitude. Nonviolent Peaceforce USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Within every combat zone we enter, and throughout our work worldwide, we want to achieve four overarching goals:

To create a space for fostering lasting peace.

To protect civilians, especially those made vulnerable because of the conflict.

To develop and promote the theory and practice of unarmed civilian peacekeeping so that it may be adopted as a policy option by decision makers and public institutions.

To build the pool of professionals able to join peace teams through regional activities, training, and maintaining a roster of trained, available people.

A Nonviolent Force for Peace

Our Mission

The mission of Nonviolent Peaceforce is to promote, develop and implement unarmed civilian peacekeeping as a tool for reducing violence and protecting civilians in situations of violent conflict.

Our Vision

We envision a world in which large-scale unarmed civilian peacekeeping using proven nonviolent strategies is recognized as a viable alternative in preventing, addressing, and mitigating violent conflicts worldwide. Our primary strategy for achieving this vision is the creation of space to foster dialogue.

Our Work

We most often respond to invitations by credible local organizations committed to nonviolent solutions. Once invited, we meet key players, including commanders from opposing sides, local police, religious, business, and civil society leaders. We live and work in communities within conflict zones alongside local people.

When violence erupts, civilians under threat often contact us. They know and trust us. We have been living among them. Visibly nonpartisan and unarmed, we arrive in NP uniforms, with NP vehicles, letting our presence be known. 

We build the confidence and safety of civilians deeply affected by conflict so they can access available structures and mechanisms for addressing problems and grievances.

Our activities have ranged from entering active conflict zones to remove civilians in the crossfire to providing opposing factions a safe space to negotiate. Other activities include serving as a communication link between warring factions, securing safe temporary housing for civilians displaced by war, providing violence prevention measures during elections and negotiating the return of kidnapped family members.

How It All Began

David Hartsough had long been committed to creating a better world through nonviolent means. The Quaker activist protested racial segregation in lunch counter sit-ins in the 1960s, demonstrated against the Vietnam War and nuclear proliferation, and trained civilians in Kosovo in nonviolent strategies during the 1990s.

Mel Duncan’s vision began when he went to Nicaragua with the coffee/cotton brigades during the Contra war in 1984 and saw that villages were not attacked when foreigners were present.

Mel Duncan and David HartsoughDavid and Mel met at the 1999 Hague Appeal for Peace, each seeking support to make his vision an organized entity. After hearing David’s presentation, Mel shared his ideas with him. David and Mel immediately saw the powerful symbiosis.  By the end of the event, they, along with others who caught the vision, were organizing  to lay the foundation for Nonviolent Peaceforce.

As they and others began organizing NP, they talked to people around the world.  Amid the fiercest violence, they met courageous and creative peacemakers who told them time and again that isolation was lethal and international accompaniers extended their lives and amplified their work.

Nonviolent peacekeeping is a common vision that has flowed through Gandhi, Maude Roydon, Badshah Khan and so many others. It has occurred and recurred to enough people for generations that now many focus their lives and resources on making it real.

David, Mel and their fellow founders constituted Nonviolent Peaceforce in the 2002 Convening Event in Surajkund, India with peace advocates from 49 countries in attendance. One year later, in fall 2003, Nonviolent Peaceforce had its first team in Sri Lanka.

Hartsough-Duncan Founders Circle

Become a member of the HARTSOUGH-DUNCAN FOUNDERS CIRCLE and join us in honoring David and Mel                     

Thank you to all of you who have joined.

 

Rotary Peace Forum Keynote Speaker: Aung San Suu Kyi

Many were excited at the speech of Aung San Suu Kyi.  We heard two addresses. One was to young people and the other to the Rotary Peace Forum.  What I noted with the children’s session was that the MC spoke for them, I would have loved to have heard their voices rather than have them stand up.  It is another form of control, perhaps the teachers thought it was a better way, but it is so important to hear the voices of children, they have much to teach us.  Aung San Suu Kyi said she is interested more in the questions as it tells her a lot about the answer.  Questions also show depth and awareness, the questions by the young people were excellent.

When she spoke I felt her to be a humble person and she confessed she prefers to listen than to speak, an unusual quality in a politician.  She spoke of her hero being her father.  She mentioned that house arrest for her was a time to be alone.  Having just come out of a 10 day silent retreat I can truly see the merit of that.  Most people want company but there is a great wisdom that comes from silence.  She used the time constructively and structured her days during the week to do the work she felt she needed to do, to read books that needed to be read and keep listening to the BBC world service to observe events around the world.  I recall one of her house helpers saying she was a quiet woman who kept to herself, so silence was her friend.  I am sure the military hoped she would crack or give up but such is the power of compassion, conviction and inner strength that arises from selflessness.  This is a power that the military cannot understand.  What I do know is that it gives meaning to the idea  …

“…it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”  

This kingdom is simply the place of virtues where the power of love is the real power.  She saw compassion as the real courage, I would agree with that.

Aung San Suu Kyi only accepted the invitation to speak at this forum because of the peace theme, she was interested in peace and prosperity in her country and recognised the business people in Rotary and the infrastructural work they do and the desperate need of her people.  She also acknowledged the need for conflict resolution, education, water, free health care and healing for her people.  All the years under military occupation had decimated her country making it one of the poorest in Asia.  She spoke at length about corruption and the lack of ethics.  In asia this is a big issue, the kick backs the money exchanging hands even in the community, in hospitals, schools and so on.  Everyone wanted more.  Even in the case of hospitals the poor people had to supply all the medical equipment, they are the poorest of the poor.  Such is the notion of poverty and lack of ethics combined.  The people suffer enormously.  This for me was the theme today the suffering of people needlessly, the lack of empathy and the desire for real peace.  Aung Sun Suu Kyi saw it as compassion and courage.  The courage to admit mistakes, the courage to make changes, rather than seeing courage at the end of a gun. In truth it is the opposite to courage.  It took her 20 years to get a dialogue started with the military as they saw win/lose.  She said they thought if they dialogued they would lose all rather than share through negotiation.  Such was the mindset of the military, an intractable position where the people increasingly suffered, ethnic tensions increased, innocent people were imprisoned and tortured, children suffered malnutrition due to worms.  There was a constant sense of insecurity, no safe place to rebuild their country, distrust ethnically and toward the military, so much hardship and hatred.  How can one grow compassion in such a traumatised environment.  Only love has the patience to try and is brave enough to envisage a peaceful society in harmony.  She is one such person who has that vision.

All need to come together now, military, civilian, bureaucrats etc. it is time to resolve differences, to question intentions, to look at our beliefs and the shape of the world and decide what world we truly desire for our children.  I see that decision very clearly and I see the time as now.

Here is an overview of her life by wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aung_San_Suu_Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi MP AC (Burmese: Aung San Suu Kyi (Burmese).svg; MLCTS: aung hcan: cu. krany, /ŋˌsæn.sˈ/,[2] Burmese pronunciation: [àʊɴ sʰáɴ sṵ tɕì]; born 19 June 1945) is a Burmese opposition politician and chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Burma. In the 1990 general election, the NLD won 59% of the national votes and 81% (392 of 485) of the seats in Parliament.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9] She had, however, already been detained under house arrest before the elections. She remained under house arrest in Burma for almost 15 of the 21 years from 20 July 1989 until her most recent release on 13 November 2010,[10] becoming one of the world’s most prominent political prisoners.[11]

Suu Kyi received the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. In 1992 she was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding by the government of India and the International Simón Bolívar Prize from the government of Venezuela. In 2007, the Government of Canada made her an honorary citizen of that country,[12] the fourth person ever to receive the honour.[13] In 2011, she was awarded the Wallenberg Medal.[14] On 19 September 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi was also presented with the Congressional Gold Medal, which is, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour in the United States.[15]

On 1 April 2012, her party, the National League for Democracy, announced that she was elected to the Pyithu Hluttaw, the lower house of the Burmese parliament, representing the constituency of Kawhmu;[16] her party also won 43 of the 45 vacant seats in the lower house.[17] The election results were confirmed by the official electoral commission the following day.[18] Later in that year, she was criticized by some activists for her silence on the anti-Rohingya riots in Rakhine State.[19]

Suu Kyi is the third child and only daughter of Aung San, considered to be the father of modern-day Burma.

Contents

Name

A family portrait, with Aung San Suu Kyi (in white) as a toddler, taken in 1947, shortly before her father’s assassination.

Aung San Suu Kyi derives her name from three relatives: “Aung San” from father, “Suu” from her paternal grandmother and “Kyi” from her mother Khin Kyi.[20] She is frequently called Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Daw is not part of her name, but is an honorific, similar to madame, for older, revered women, literally meaning “aunt.”[21] She is also often referred to as Daw Suu by the Burmese (or Amay Suu, lit. “Mother Suu,” by some followers),[22][23] or “Aunty Suu”, and as Dr. Suu Kyi,[24] Ms. Suu Kyi, or Miss Suu Kyi by the foreign media. However, like other Burmese, she has no surname (see Burmese names).

Personal life

Part of a series on the
Democracy movements in Burma
Flag of National League for Democracy.svg

The fighting peacock flag
Background
Post-independence Burma
Internal conflict in Burma
Burmese Way to Socialism
State Peace and Development Council
Mass protests
8888 Uprising · Protests of 2007
Concessions and reforms
Roadmap to democracy
New constitution
Reforms of 2011
Elections
1990 · 2010 · 2012
Organizations
National League for Democracy · 88 Generation Students Group · Burma Campaign UK · Free Burma Coalition · U.S. Campaign for Burma · Generation Wave · All Burma Students’ Democratic Front · The Irrawaddy · Democratic Voice of Burma · Mizzima News
Figures
U Nu · Aung Gyi · Tin Oo · Aung San Suu Kyi · Min Ko Naing · Thein Sein
Related topics
Human rights in Burma · Politics of Burma · Foreign relations of Burma

A portrait of Khin Kyi and her family in 1948. Aung San Suu Kyi is seated on the floor.

Aung San Suu Kyi was born on 19 June 1945 in Rangoon (now named Yangon).[25] Her father, Aung San, founded the modern Burmese army and negotiated Burma’s independence from the British Empire in 1947; he was assassinated by his rivals in the same year. She grew up with her mother, Khin Kyi, and two brothers, Aung San Lin and Aung San Oo, in Rangoon. Aung San Lin died at the age of eight, when he drowned in an ornamental lake on the grounds of the house.[20] Her elder brother immigrated to San Diego, California, becoming a United States citizen.[20] After Aung San Lin’s death, the family moved to a house by Inya Lake where Suu Kyi met people of very different backgrounds, political views and religions.[26] She was educated in Methodist English High School (now Basic Education High School No. 1 Dagon) for much of her childhood in Burma, where she was noted as having a talent for learning languages.[27] She is a Theravada Buddhist.

Aung San Suu Kyi at the age of six.

Suu Kyi’s mother, Khin Kyi, gained prominence as a political figure in the newly formed Burmese government. She was appointed Burmese ambassador to India and Nepal in 1960, and Aung San Suu Kyi followed her there, she studied in the Convent of Jesus and Mary School, New Delhi and graduated from Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi with a degree in politics in 1964.[25][28] Suu Kyi continued her education at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, obtaining a B.A. degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in 1969. According to a classmate, Suu Kyi fell in love with Tariq Hyder, a Pakistani student, during her second year in Oxford.[29] Their relationship was not well received by her circle of friends and it soon ended.[29] After graduating, she lived in New York City with a family friend Ma Than E, who was once a popular Burmese pop singer.[30] She worked at the United Nations for three years, primarily on budget matters, writing daily to her future husband, Dr. Michael Aris.[31] In late 1971, Aung San Suu Kyi married Aris, a scholar of Tibetan culture, living abroad in Bhutan.[25] The following year she gave birth to their first son, Alexander Aris, in London; their second son, Kim, was born in 1977. Between 1985 and 1987, Suu Kyi was working toward an M.Phil in Burmese literature as a research student at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.[32][33] She was elected as an Honorary Fellow in 1990.[25] For two years she was a Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS) in Shimla, India. She also worked for the government of the Union of Burma.

In 1988 Suu Kyi returned to Burma, at first to tend for her ailing mother but later to lead the pro-democracy movement. Aris’ visit in Christmas 1995 turned out to be the last time that he and Suu Kyi met, as Suu Kyi remained in Burma and the Burmese dictatorship denied him any further entry visas.[25] Aris was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997 which was later found to be terminal. Despite appeals from prominent figures and organisations, including the United States, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Pope John Paul II, the Burmese government would not grant Aris a visa, saying that they did not have the facilities to care for him, and instead urged Aung San Suu Kyi to leave the country to visit him. She was at that time temporarily free from house arrest but was unwilling to depart, fearing that she would be refused re-entry if she left, as she did not trust the military junta‘s assurance that she could return.[34]

Aris died on his 53rd birthday on 27 March 1999. Since 1989, when his wife was first placed under house arrest, he had seen her only five times, the last of which was for Christmas in 1995. She was also separated from her children, who live in the United Kingdom, but starting in 2011, they have visited her in Burma.[35]

On 2 May 2008, after Cyclone Nargis hit Burma, Suu Kyi lost the roof of her house and lived in virtual darkness after losing electricity in her dilapidated lakeside residence. She used candles at night as she was not provided any generator set.[36] Plans to renovate and repair the house were announced in August 2009.[37] Suu Kyi was released from house arrest on 13 November 2010.[38]

Aung San Suu Kyi arrives to give speech to the supporters during 2012 by-election campaign at her constituency Kawhmu township, Myanmar on 22 March 2012.

Political beginnings

Coincident with Aung San Suu Kyi’s return to Burma in 1988, the long-time military leader of Burma and head of the ruling party, General Ne Win, stepped down. Mass demonstrations for democracy followed that event on 8 August 1988 (8–8–88, a day seen as auspicious), which were violently suppressed in what came to be known as the 8888 Uprising. On 26 August 1988, she addressed half a million people at a mass rally in front of the Shwedagon Pagoda in the capital, calling for a democratic government.[25] However in September, a new military junta took power.

Influenced[39] by both Mahatma Gandhi‘s philosophy of non-violence[40][41] and more specifically by Buddhist concepts,[42] Aung San Suu Kyi entered politics to work for democratisation, helped found the National League for Democracy on 27 September 1988,[43] but was put under house arrest on 20 July 1989. Offered freedom if she left the country, she refused.

One of her most famous speeches was Freedom From Fear, which began: “It is not power that corrupts, but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”

She also believes fear spurs many world leaders to lose sight of their purpose. “Government leaders are amazing”, she once said. “So often it seems they are the last to know what the people want.”[44]

Political career

1990 general election

In 1990, the military junta called a general election, in which the National League for Democracy (NLD) received 59% of the votes, guaranteeing NLD 80% of the parliament seats. Some claim that Aung San Suu Kyi would have assumed the office of Prime Minister;[45] in fact, however, as she was not permitted, she did not stand as a candidate in the elections (although being a MP is not a strict prerequisite for becoming PM in most parliamentary systems). Instead, the results were nullified and the military refused to hand over power, resulting in an international outcry. Aung San Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest at her home on University Avenue (16°49′32″N 96°9′1″E) in Rangoon, during which time she was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990, and the Nobel Peace Prize the year after. Her sons Alexander and Kim accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on her behalf. Aung San Suu Kyi used the Nobel Peace Prize’s 1.3 million USD prize money to establish a health and education trust for the Burmese people.[46] Around this time, Suu Kyi chose non-violence as an expedient political tactic, stating in 2007, “I do not hold to non-violence for moral reasons, but for political and practical reasons,”[47] however, nonviolent action as well as civil resistance in lieu of armed conflict are also political tactics in keeping with the overall philosophy of her Theravada Buddhist religion.

1996 attack

On 9 November 1996, the motorcade that she was traveling in with other National League for Democracy leaders Tin Oo and U Kyi Maung, was attacked in Yangon. About 200 men swooped down on the motorcade, wielding metal chains, metal batons, stones and other weapons. The car that Aung San Suu Kyi was in had its rear window smashed, and the car with Tin Oo and U Kyi Maung had its rear window and two backdoor windows shattered. It is believed the offenders were members of the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) who were allegedly paid 500 kyats (@ USD $0.50) each to participate. The NLD lodged an official complaint with the police, and according to reports the government launched an investigation, but no action was taken. (Amnesty International 120297)[48]

House arrest

Aung San Suu Kyi has been placed under house arrest for 15 of the past 21 years, on numerous occasions, since she began her political career,[49] during which time she was prevented from meeting her party supporters and international visitors. In an interview, Suu Kyi said that while under house arrest she spent her time reading philosophy, politics and biographies that her husband had sent her.[50] She also passed the time playing the piano, and was occasionally allowed visits from foreign diplomats as well as from her personal physician.[51]

The media were also prevented from visiting Suu Kyi, as occurred in 1998 when journalist Maurizio Giuliano, after photographing her, was stopped by customs officials who then confiscated all his films, tapes and some notes.[52] In contrast, Suu Kyi did have visits from government representatives, such as during her autumn 1994 house arrest when she met the leader of Burma, General Than Shwe and General Khin Nyunt on 20 September in the first meeting since she had been placed in detention.[25] On several occasions during Suu Kyi’s house arrest, she had periods of poor health and as a result was hospitalized.[53]

The Burmese government detained and kept Suu Kyi imprisoned because it viewed her as someone “likely to undermine the community peace and stability” of the country, and used both Article 10(a) and 10(b) of the 1975 State Protection Act (granting the government the power to imprison people for up to five years without a trial),[54] and Section 22 of the “Law to Safeguard the State Against the Dangers of Those Desiring to Cause Subversive Acts” as legal tools against her.[55] She continuously appealed her detention,[56] and many nations and figures continued to call for her release and that of 2,100 other political prisoners in the country.[57][58] On 12 November 2010, days after the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) won elections conducted after a gap of almost 20 years, the junta finally agreed to sign orders allowing Suu Kyi’s release,[59] and Suu Kyi’s house arrest term came to an end on 13 November 2010.

United Nations involvement

The United Nations (UN) has attempted to facilitate dialogue between the junta and Suu Kyi.[25] On 6 May 2002, following secret confidence-building negotiations led by the UN, the government released her; a government spokesman said that she was free to move “because we are confident that we can trust each other”. Aung San Suu Kyi proclaimed “a new dawn for the country”. However on 30 May 2003 in an incident similar to the 1996 attack on her, a government-sponsored mob attacked her caravan in the northern village of Depayin, murdering and wounding many of her supporters.[60] Aung San Suu Kyi fled the scene with the help of her driver, Ko Kyaw Soe Lin, but was arrested upon reaching Ye-U. The government imprisoned her at Insein Prison in Rangoon. After she underwent a hysterectomy in September 2003,[61] the government again placed her under house arrest in Rangoon.

The results from the UN facilitation have been mixed; Razali Ismail, UN special envoy to Burma, met with Aung San Suu Kyi. Ismail resigned from his post the following year, partly because he was denied re-entry to Burma on several occasions.[62] Several years later in 2006, Ibrahim Gambari, UN Undersecretary-General (USG) of Department of Political Affairs, met with Aung San Suu Kyi, the first visit by a foreign official since 2004.[63] He also met with Suu Kyi later the same year.[64] On 2 October 2007 Gambari returned to talk to her again after seeing Than Shwe and other members of the senior leadership in Naypyidaw.[65] State television broadcast Suu Kyi with Gambari, stating that they had met twice. This was Suu Kyi’s first appearance in state media in the four years since her current detention began.[66]

The United Nations Working Group for Arbitrary Detention published an Opinion that Aung San Suu Kyi’s deprivation of liberty was arbitrary and in contravention of Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, and requested that the authorities in Burma set her free, but the authorities ignored the request at that time.[67] The U.N. report said that according to the Burmese Government’s reply, “Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has not been arrested, but has only been taken into protective custody, for her own safety”, and while “it could have instituted legal action against her under the country’s domestic legislation … it has preferred to adopt a magnanimous attitude, and is providing her with protection in her own interests.”[67]

Such claims were rejected by Brig-General Khin Yi, Chief of Myanmar Police Force (MPF). On 18 January 2007, the state-run paper New Light of Myanmar accused Suu Kyi of tax evasion for spending her Nobel Prize money outside of the country. The accusation followed the defeat of a US-sponsored United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Burma as a threat to international security; the resolution was defeated because of strong opposition from China, which has strong ties with the military junta (China later voted against the resolution, along with Russia and South Africa).[68]

In November 2007, it was reported that Suu Kyi would meet her political allies National League for Democracy along with a government minister. The ruling junta made the official announcement on state TV and radio just hours after UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari ended his second visit to Burma. The NLD confirmed that it had received the invitation to hold talks with Suu Kyi.[69] However, the process delivered few concrete results.

On 3 July 2009, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon went to Burma to pressure the junta into releasing Suu Kyi and to institute democratic reform. However, on departing from Burma, Ban Ki-moon said he was “disappointed” with the visit after junta leader Than Shwe refused permission for him to visit Suu Kyi, citing her ongoing trial. Ban said he was “deeply disappointed that they have missed a very important opportunity.”[70]

Periods under detention

  • 20 July 1989: Placed under house arrest in Rangoon under martial law that allows for detention without charge or trial for three years.[25]
  • 10 July 1995: Released from house arrest.[20]
  • 23 September 2000: Placed under house arrest.[49]
  • 6 May 2002: Released after 19 months.[49]
  • 30 May 2003: Arrested following the Depayin massacre, she was held in secret detention for more than three months before being returned to house arrest.[71]
  • 25 May 2007: House arrest extended by one year despite a direct appeal from U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to General Than Shwe.[72]
  • 24 October 2007: Reached 12 years under house arrest, solidarity protests held at 12 cities around the world.[73]
  • 27 May 2008: House arrest extended for another year, which is illegal under both international law and Burma’s own law.[74]
  • 11 August 2009: House arrest extended for 18 more months because of “violation” arising from the May 2009 trespass incident.
  • 13 November 2010: Released from house arrest.[75]

2007 anti-government protests

Protests led by Buddhist monks began on 19 August 2007 following steep fuel price increases, and continued each day, despite the threat of a crackdown by the military.[76]

On 22 September 2007, although still under house arrest, Suu Kyi made a brief public appearance at the gate of her residence in Yangon to accept the blessings of Buddhist monks who were marching in support of human rights.[77] It was reported that she had been moved the following day to Insein Prison (where she had been detained in 2003),[78][79][80][81] but meetings with UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari near her Rangoon home on 30 September and 2 October established that she remained under house arrest.[82][83]

2009 trespass incident

U.S. Senator Jim Webb visiting Suu Kyi in 2009. Webb negotiated the release of John Yettaw, the man who trespassed in Suu Kyi’s home, resulting in her arrest and conviction with three years’ hard labour.

On 3 May 2009, an American man, identified as John Yettaw, swam across Inya Lake to her house uninvited and was arrested when he made his return trip three days later.[84] He had attempted to make a similar trip two years earlier, but for unknown reasons was turned away.[85] He later claimed at trial that he was motivated by a divine vision requiring him to notify her of an impending terrorist assassination attempt.[86] On 13 May, Suu Kyi was arrested for violating the terms of her house arrest because the swimmer, who pleaded exhaustion, was allowed to stay in her house for two days before he attempted the swim back. Suu Kyi was later taken to Insein Prison, where she could have faced up to five years confinement for the intrusion.[87] The trial of Suu Kyi and her two maids began on 18 May and a small number of protesters gathered outside.[88][89] Diplomats and journalists were barred from attending the trial; however, on one occasion, several diplomats from Russia, Thailand and Singapore and journalists were allowed to meet Suu Kyi.[90] The prosecution had originally planned to call 22 witnesses.[91] It also accused John Yettaw of embarrassing the country.[92] During the ongoing defence case, Suu Kyi said she was innocent. The defence was allowed to call only one witness (out of four), while the prosecution was permitted to call 14 witnesses. The court rejected two character witnesses, NLD members Tin Oo and Win Tin, and permitted the defence to call only a legal expert.[93] According to one unconfirmed report, the junta was planning to, once again, place her in detention, this time in a military base outside the city.[94] In a separate trial, Yettaw said he swam to Suu Kyi’s house to warn her that her life was “in danger”.[95] The national police chief later confirmed that Yettaw was the “main culprit” in the case filed against Suu Kyi.[96] According to aides, Suu Kyi spent her 64th birthday in jail sharing biryani rice and chocolate cake with her guards.[97]

Her arrest and subsequent trial received worldwide condemnation by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Security Council,[98] Western governments,[99] South Africa,[100] Japan[101] and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which Burma is a member.[102] The Burmese government strongly condemned the statement, as it created an “unsound tradition”[103] and criticised Thailand for meddling in its internal affairs.[104] The Burmese Foreign Minister Nyan Win was quoted in the state-run newspaper New Light of Myanmar as saying that the incident “was trumped up to intensify international pressure on Burma by internal and external anti-government elements who do not wish to see the positive changes in those countries’ policies toward Burma”.[92] Ban responded to an international campaign[105] by flying to Burma to negotiate, but Than Shwe rejected all of his requests.[106]

On 11 August 2009 the trial concluded with Suu Kyi being sentenced to imprisonment for three years with hard labour. This sentence was commuted by the military rulers to further house arrest of 18 months.[107] On 14 August, U.S. Senator Jim Webb visited Burma, visiting with junta leader Gen. Than Shwe and later with Suu Kyi. During the visit, Webb negotiated Yettaw’s release and deportation from Burma.[108] Following the verdict of the trial, lawyers of Suu Kyi said they would appeal against the 18-month sentence.[109] On 18 August, United States President Barack Obama asked the country’s military leadership to set free all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi.[110] In her appeal, Aung San Suu Kyi had argued that the conviction was unwarranted. However, her appeal against the August sentence was rejected by a Burmese court on 2 October 2009. Although the court accepted the argument that the 1974 constitution, under which she had been charged, was null and void, it also said the provisions of the 1975 security law, under which she has been kept under house arrest, remained in force. The verdict effectively meant that she would be unable to participate in the elections scheduled to take place in 2010 – the first in Burma in two decades. Her lawyer stated that her legal team would pursue a new appeal within 60 days.[111]

2009: International pressure for release and 2010 Burmese general election

It was announced prior to the Burmese general election that Aung San Suu Kyi may be released “so she can organize her party,”[112] However, Suu Kyi was not allowed to run.[113] On 1 October 2010 the government announced that she would be released on 13 November 2010.[114]

Burma’s relaxing stance, such as releasing political prisoners, was influenced in the wake of successful recent diplomatic visits by the US and other democratic governments, urging or encouraging the Burmese towards democratic reform. U.S. President Barack Obama personally advocated the release of all political prisoners, especially Aung San Suu Kyi, during the US-ASEAN Summit of 2009.[115]

Democratic governments[which?] hoped that successful general elections would be an optimistic indicator of the Burmese government’s sincerity towards eventual democracy.[116] The Hatoyama government which spent 2.82 billion yen in 2008, has promised more Japanese foreign aid to encourage Burma to release Aung San Suu Kyi in time for the elections; and to continue moving towards democracy and the rule of law.[116][117]

In a personal letter to Suu Kyi, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown cautioned the Burmese government of the potential consequences of rigging elections as “condemning Burma to more years of diplomatic isolation and economic stagnation”.[118]

The Burmese government has been granting Suu Kyi varying degrees of freedom throughout late 2009, in response to international pressure. She has met with many heads of state, and opened a dialog with the Minister of Labor Aung Kyi (not to be confused with Aung San Suu Kyi).[119]

Suu Kyi was allowed to meet with senior members of her NLD party at the State House,[120] however these meeting took place under close supervision.

2010 release

Aung San Suu Kyi addresses crowds at the NLD headquarters shortly after her release.

Aung San Suu Kyi meets with US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Yangon (1 December 2011)

On the evening of 13 November 2010, Suu Kyi was released from house arrest.[121] This was the date her detention had been set to expire according to a court ruling in August 2009[122] and came six days after a widely criticised general election. She appeared in front of a crowd of her supporters, who rushed to her house in Rangoon when nearby barricades were removed by the security forces. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate had been detained for 15 of the past 21 years.[123] The government newspaper New Light of Myanmar reported the release positively,[124] saying she had been granted a pardon after serving her sentence “in good conduct”.[125] The New York Times suggested that the military government may have released Suu Kyi because it felt it was in a confident position to control her supporters after the election.[124] The role that Suu Kyi will play in the future of democracy in Burma remains a subject of much debate.

Her son Kim Aris was granted a visa in November 2010 to see his mother shortly after her release, for the first time in 10 years.[126] He visited again in 5 July 2011, to accompany her on a trip to Bagan, her first trip outside Yangon since 2003.[127] Her son visited again in 8 August 2011, to accompany her on a trip to Pegu, her second trip.[128]

Discussions were held between Suu Kyi and the Burmese government during 2011, which led to a number of official gestures to meet her demands. In October, around a tenth of Burma’s political prisoners were freed in an amnesty and trade unions were legalised.[129][130]

In November 2011, following a meeting of its leaders, the NLD announced its intention to re-register as a political party in order to contend 48 by-elections necessitated by the promotion of parliamentarians to ministerial rank.[131] Following the decision, Suu Kyi held a telephone conference with U.S. President Barack Obama, in which it was agreed that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would make a visit to Burma, a move received with caution by Burma’s ally China.[132] On 1 December 2011, Suu Kyi met with Hillary Clinton at the residence of the top-ranking US diplomat in Yangon.[133]

On 21 December 2011, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra met Suu Kyi in Yangoon, becoming Suu Kyi’s “first-ever meeting with the leader of a foreign country”.[134]

On 5 January 2012, British Foreign Minister William Hague met Aung San Suu Kyi and his Burmese counterpart. This represented a significant visit for Suu Kyi and Burma. Suu Kyi studied in the UK and maintains many ties there, whilst Britain is Burma’s largest bilateral donor. Aung San Suu Kyi is on her visit to Europe and is due to visit the Swiss parliament and collect her 1991 Nobel Prize in Oslo.[135]

2012 by-elections

In December 2011, there was speculation that Suu Kyi would run in the 2012 national by-elections to fill vacant seats.[136] On 18 January 2012, Suu Kyi formally registered to contest a Pyithu Hluttaw (lower house) seat in the Kawhmu Township constituency in special parliamentary elections to be held on 1 April 2012.[137][138] The seat was previously held by Soe Tint, who vacated it after being appointed Construction Deputy Minister, in the 2010 election.[139] She ran against Union Solidarity and Development Party candidate Soe Min, a retired army physician and native of Twante Township.[140]

Aung San Suu Kyi (Center) gives speech to the supporters during 2012 by-election campaign at her constituency Kawhmu township, Myanmar on 22 March 2012.

On 3 March 2012, at a large campaign rally in Mandalay, Suu Kyi unexpectedly left after 15 minutes, because of exhaustion and airsickness.[141]

In an official campaign speech broadcast on Burmese state television’s MRTV on 14 March 2012, Suu Kyi publicly campaigned for reform of the 2008 Constitution, removal of restrictive laws, more adequate protections for people’s democratic rights, and establishment of an independent judiciary.[142] The speech was leaked online a day before it was broadcast.[143] A paragraph in the speech, focusing on the Tatmadaw‘s repression by means of law, was censored by authorities.[144]

Suu Kyi has also called for international media to monitor the upcoming by-elections, while publicly pointing out irregularities in official voter lists, which include deceased individuals and exclude other eligible voters in the contested constituencies.[145][146] On 21 March 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi was quoted as saying “Fraud and rule violations are continuing and we can even say they are increasing.”[147]

When asked whether she would assume a ministerial post if given the opportunity, she said the following:[148]

I can tell you one thing – that under the present constitution, if you become a member of the government you have to vacate your seat in the national assembly. And I am not working so hard to get into parliament simply to vacate my seat.

On 26 March 2012, Suu Kyi suspended her nationwide campaign tour early, after a campaign rally in Myeik (Mergui), a coastal town in the south, citing health problems due to exhaustion and hot weather.[149]

On 1 April 2012, the NLD announced that Suu Kyi had won the vote for a seat in Parliament.[150] A news broadcast on state-run MRTV, reading the announcements of the Union Election Commission, confirmed her victory, as well as her party’s victory in 43 of the 45 contested seats, officially making Suu Kyi the Leader of the Opposition in the lower house.[151]

Although she and other MP-elects were expected to take office on 23 April when the Hluttaws resume session, National League for Democracy MP-elects, including Suu Kyi, said they might not take their oaths because of its wording; in its present form, parliamentarians must vow to “safeguard” the constitution.[152][153] In an address on Radio Free Asia, she said “We don’t mean we will not attend the parliament, we mean we will attend only after taking the oath… Changing that wording in the oath is also in conformity with the Constitution. I don’t expect there will be any difficulty in doing it.”[154]

On 2 May 2012, National League for Democracy MP-elects, including Aung San Suu Kyi, took their oaths and took office, though the wording of the oath was not changed.[155] According to the Los Angeles Times, “Suu Kyi and her colleagues decided they could do more by joining as lawmakers than maintaining their boycott on principle.”[155] On 9 July 2012, she attended the Parliament for the first time as a lawmaker.[156]

Some activists criticised Aung San Suu Kyi for her silence on the 2012 Rakhine State riots.[19] After receiving a peace prize, she told reporters she did not know if the Rohingya could be regarded as Burmese citizens.[157] Under the 1982 Citizenship Law, most Rohingya are unable to qualify for Burmese citizenship. As such, they are treated as illegal immigrants, with restrictions on their movement and withholding of land rights, education and public service.[19] Some describe her stance as politically motivated.[19]

Political belief

Asked what democratic models Myanmar could look to, she said: “We have many, many lessons to learn from various places, not just the Asian countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Mongolia and Indonesia.” She also cited “the eastern European countries, which made the transition from communist autocracy to democracy in the 1980s and 1990s, and the Latin American countries, which made the transition from military governments. “And we cannot of course forget South Africa, because although it wasn’t a military regime, it was certainly an authoritarian regime.” She added: “We wish to learn from everybody who has achieved a transition to democracy, and also … our great strong point is that, because we are so far behind everybody else, we can also learn which mistakes we should avoid.”[158]

In a nod to the current deep US political divide between Republicans led by Mitt Romney and the Democrats of Obama—battling to win the Presidential election on 6 November—she stressed with a smile “Those of you who are familiar with American politics I’m sure understand the need for negotiated compromise.”[158]

International support

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at a conference in London, during 5 countries tour of Europe, 2012

May 2009 demonstration for Aung San Suu Kyi in Rome, Italy

The 2009 celebration of Aung San Suu Kyi’s birthday in Dublin, Ireland

Aung San Suu Kyi has received vocal support from Western nations in Europe,[159] Australia[159] and North[160] and South America, as well as India,[5] Israel,[161] Japan[162] the Philippines and South Korea.[163] In December 2007, the US House of Representatives voted unanimously 400–0 to award Aung San Suu Kyi the Congressional Gold Medal; the Senate concurred on 25 April 2008.[164] On 6 May 2008, President George Bush signed legislation awarding Suu Kyi the Congressional Gold Medal.[165] She is the first recipient in American history to receive the prize while imprisoned. More recently, there has been growing criticism of her detention by Burma’s neighbours in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, particularly from Indonesia,[166] Thailand,[167] the Philippines[168][169] and Singapore.[170] At one point Malaysia warned Burma that it faced expulsion from ASEAN as a result of the detention of Suu Kyi.[171] Other nations including South Africa,[172] Bangladesh[173] and the Maldives[174] also called for her release. The United Nations has urged the country to move towards inclusive national reconciliation, the restoration of democracy, and full respect for human rights.[175] In December 2008, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution condemning the human rights situation in Burma and calling for Suu Kyi’s release—80 countries voting for the resolution, 25 against and 45 abstentions.[176] Other nations, such as China and Russia, are less critical of the regime and prefer to cooperate only on economic matters.[177] Indonesia has urged China to push Burma for reforms.[178] However, Samak Sundaravej, former Prime Minister of Thailand, criticised the amount of support for Suu Kyi, saying that “Europe uses Aung San Suu Kyi as a tool. If it’s not related to Aung San Suu Kyi, you can have deeper discussions with Myanmar.”[179]

Aung San Suu Kyi greeting supporters from Bago State in 2011.

Vietnam, however, did not support calls by other ASEAN member states for Myanmar to free Aung San Suu Kyi, state media reported Friday, 14 August 2009.[180] The state-run Việt Nam News said Vietnam had no criticism of Myanmar’s decision 11 August 2009 to place Suu Kyi under house arrest for the next 18 months, effectively barring her from elections scheduled for 2010. “It is our view that the Aung San Suu Kyi trial is an internal affair of Myanmar”, Vietnamese government spokesman Le Dung stated on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In contrast with other ASEAN member states, Dung said Vietnam has always supported Myanmar and hopes it will continue to implement the “roadmap to democracy” outlined by its government.[181]

Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. The decision of the Nobel Committee mentions:[182]

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 1991 to Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar (Burma) for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights.

…Suu Kyi’s struggle is one of the most extraordinary examples of civil courage in Asia in recent decades. She has become an important symbol in the struggle against oppression…

…In awarding the Nobel Peace Prize for 1991 to Aung San Suu Kyi, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to honour this woman for her unflagging efforts and to show its support for the many people throughout the world who are striving to attain democracy, human rights and ethnic conciliation by peaceful means.

—Oslo, 14 October 1991

In 1995 Aung San Suu Kyi delivered the keynote address at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.[183]

Nobel Peace Prize winners (Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, Shirin Ebadi, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Mairead Corrigan, Rigoberta Menchú, Prof. Elie Wiesel, U.S. President Barack Obama, Betty Williams, Jody Williams and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter) called for the rulers of Burma to release Suu Kyi in order to “create the necessary conditions for a genuine dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all concerned parties and ethnic groups in order to achieve an inclusive national reconciliation with the direct support of the United Nations.”[25] Some of the money she received as part of the award helps fund London-based charity Prospect Burma, which provides higher education grants to Burmese students.[184]

On 16 June 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi was finally able to deliver her Nobel acceptance speech (Nobel lecture) at Oslo’s City Hall, two decades after being awarded the peace prize.[185][186]

Suu Kyi meeting Barack Obama at the White House in September 2012

In September 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi received in person the United States Congressional Gold Medal, which is the highest Congressional award. Although she was awarded this medal in 2008, at the time she was under house arrest, and was unable to receive the medal. Aun San Suu Kyi was greeted with bipartisan support at Congress, as part of a coast-to-coast tour in the United States. In addition, Aung San Suu Kyi met President Barack Obama at the White House. The experience was described by Aung San Suu Kyi as “one of the most moving days of my life.”[187][188]

Organizations

  • Freedom Now, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organisation, was retained in 2006 by a member of her family to help secure Aung San Suu Kyi’s release from house arrest. The organisation secured several opinions from the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that her detention was in violation of international law; engaged in political advocacy such as spearheading a letter from 112 former Presidents and Prime Ministers to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urging him to go to Burma to seek her release, which he did six weeks later; and published numerous opeds and spoke widely to the media about her ongoing detention. Its representation of her ended when she was released from house arrest on 13 November 2010.[189]
  • Aung San Suu Kyi has been an honorary board member of International IDEA and ARTICLE 19 since her detention, and has received support from these organisations.
  • The Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Université catholique de Louvain, both located in Belgium, granted her the title of Doctor Honoris Causa.[190]
  • In 2003, the Freedom Forum recognised Suu Kyi’s efforts to promote democracy peacefully with the Al Neuharth Free Spirit of the Year Award, in which she was presented over satellite because she was under house arrest. She was awarded one million dollars.[191]
  • In June of each year, the U.S. Campaign for Burma organises hundreds of “Arrest Yourself” house parties around the world in support of Aung San Suu Kyi. At these parties, the organisers keep themselves under house arrest for 24 hours, invite their friends, and learn more about Burma and Aung San Suu Kyi.[192]
  • The Freedom Campaign, a joint effort between the Human Rights Action Center and US Campaign for Burma, looks to raise worldwide attention to the struggles of Aung San Suu Kyi and the people of Burma.
  • The Burma Campaign UK is a UK based NGO (Non Governmental Organisation) that aims to raise awareness of Burma’s struggles and follow the guidelines established by the NLD and Aung San Suu Kyi.
  • St. Hugh’s College, Oxford, where she studied, had a Burmese theme for their annual ball in support of her in 2006.[193] The University later awarded her an honorary doctorate in civil law on 20 June 2012 during her visitation on her alma mater.[194]
  • Aung San Suu Kyi is the official patron of The Rafto Human Rights House in Bergen, Norway. She received the Thorolf Rafto Memorial Prize in 1990.
  • She was made an honorary free person of the City of Dublin, Ireland in November 1999, although a space had been left on the roll of signatures to symbolize her continued detention.
  • In November 2005 the human rights group Equality Now proposed Aung Sun Suu Kyi as a potential candidate, among other qualifying women, for the position of U.N. Secretary General.[4] In the proposed list of qualified women Suu Kyi is recognised by Equality Now as the Prime Minister-Elect of Burma.[4]
  • The UN’ special envoy to Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari, met Aung San Suu Kyi on 10 March 2008 before wrapping up his trip to the military-ruled country.[195]
  • Aung San Suu Kyi was an honorary member of The Elders, a group of eminent global leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela.[196] Her ongoing detention meant that she was unable to take an active role in the group, so The Elders placed an empty chair for her at their meetings.[197] The Elders have consistently called for the release of all political prisoners in Burma.[198] Upon her election to parliament, she stepped down from her post.[199]
  • In 2008, Burma’s devoted human rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize, was welcomed as Club of Madrid Honorary Member.
  • In 2011, Aung San Suu Kyi was named the Guest Director of the 45th Brighton Festival.[citation needed]
  • She was part of the international jury of Human Rights Defenders and Personalities who helped to choose a universal Logo for Human Rights in 2011.[200]
  • In June 2011, the BBC announced that Aung San Suu Kyi was to deliver the 2011 Reith Lectures. The BBC covertly recorded two lectures with Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma, which were then smuggled out of the country and brought back to London.[201] The lectures were broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service on 28 June 2011 and 5 July 2011.
  • In November 2011, Suu Kyi received Francois Zimeray, France’s Ambassador for Human Rights.
  • 8 March 2012, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird presented Aung San Suu Kyi a certificate of honorary Canadian citizenship and an informal invitation to visit Canada.
  • In April 2012, British Prime Minister David Cameron became the first leader of a major world power to visit Aung San Su Kyi and the first of a British prime minister since the 1950s. In his visit, Cameron invited San Su Kyi to Britain where she would be able to visit her ‘beloved’ Oxford, an invitation which she later accepted. She visited Britain on 19 June 2012.
  • In May 2012, Suu Kyi received the inaugural Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent of the Human Rights Foundation.[202]
  • 29 May 2012 PM Manmohan Singh of India visited Aung San Suu Kyi. In his visit, PM invited San Suu Kyi to India as well.
  • 18 June 2012 Suu Kyi was photographed by world-renowned visual artist Kevin Abosch in Dublin, Ireland.[203]

Rotary Peace Forum: USS Missouri

This blog looks at our Rotary Peace Forum visit to the USS Missouri.   I record my reflections as I step onto the boat and then the history as recorded by Wikipedia.

We caught the bus from the Rotary Peace forum in Honolulu to Pearl Harbour to look at the USS Missouri. 

On the bus I met a Rotoractor from Mexico, I found during the course of our conversation that she was such a wise young woman.  We spoke of the drug lords in Mexico, she didn’t think the drug issue could be solved given its history and how embedded it is in Mexican society. I told her answers are always there just be open.  I said what about looking at case studies of Mafia and if they had been stopped in places.  To look for what works.  To look for why it starts, who demands it, what sustains it and how it can be changed.   She explained she was not wanting to know about it for a long time until she met a guy and went out with him, he lived in the worst place in Mexico and knew well the drug cartels.  She learned through him they threw elaborate parties, they were deeply loyal to each other, they were not educated (never went to school) just enjoyed the money and spent it like there was no tomorrow.  They had no empathy for the people killed who they saw as betraying them, nor the victims of the drugs they peddled.  They lived in their illusion and others felt drawn to their lifestyle as they seemed so happy.   As police were receiving kick backs the drug lords were supported and the community had to accept it.  There were other parts of Mexico where they were not approved of but it seems that they accepted the drug trade as part of life and were powerless to stop it.  She was a delightful woman and so interesting. 

I met an Italian mediator living in New York on the bus and had a good discussion.  She learned much from disputes and enjoyed getting people to see each other’s sides.  It must be wonderful to do this work as you look through the eyes of an impartial third party and find ways to have the parties discuss the problem, listen to the other, and then resolve the problem.  She was looking at where to progress her career and came to the Rotary Peace Forum.  I sensed she would want to mediate overseas, she agreed that is what she wants and perhaps to look at which country, dispute etc to get involved in.  She and I connected and when we got to the USS Missouri we hung out together exploring the ship.

My first impression was that it is a huge ship and I saw the guns, I saw them as huge and tried to imagine the sound of them and how a person would feel when they were fired.  I see the ship as a vessel designed for killing.  I imagined those on the receiving end.  I don’t have the romantic idea of a battleship, yes it is impressive structurally, lots of buttons, wheels, turrets, steel, decking and huge chains for the anchors, but ultimately my heart goes to the intent of its use and I find myself reflecting in a sober manner.  However, I am open to those who see it differently and I understand why there is grandeur associated as well.  I am not American so haven’t grown up with the history nor an identity with it.

Our presenter was animated and I did admire the enthusiasm of Americans and how out going they are.  They are similar to Australians and there is a natural warmth between our countries.  However, I saw the aggrandisement of a war machine.  I also listened with great interest to all the descriptions of the dimensions, weights, structure, features and function of the warship.  What was interesting was to learn that the Americans consciously sought to create a sense of superiority during the peace signing ceremony through having tall soldiers appearing physically larger and having the Japanese delegation walk around the gun turrets.  I noted the issue of the first surrender was not mentioned whereby the Japanese had already agreed to surrender before the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  When I quietly asked the presenter about it, he showed genuine surprise, he didn’t know that information and was a former naval man/vietnam veteran.  He talked about the unconditional surrender and saw that as the end of the war and the beginning of peace.  What was interesting about the conditional surrender of the Japanese was the fact that they refused to give up Emperor Hirohito as he was seen as a god in Japan.  The unconditional surrender included his surrender without any Japanese conditions, hence unconditional.  However, I was to find out from this tour guide that Emperor Hirohito remained in Japan after the surrender.  What concerned me was the fact that the US Government ordered the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, which in hindsight appears was unnecessarily, as Hirohito remained in Japan.  Of course there could be much more to this than I know but this is my initial impression.  When I discussed this with my mediator friend she indicated that she viewed the issue of this bombing as a determination to end the war and that there would have been a fear of the Japanese not surrendering.  I do agree with that point.  However, the people of Japan (civilians) were not in power it was the elites in Japan and US that were at war. I suddenly saw revenge as the motive and I wondered about the testing of these weapons on innocent men, women and children.  This feeling moves us into the ethical field, not the historical negotiations, military decisions, rationale, but the human cost and whether this can be justifiable on any grounds given our own societies punish those who kill others. 

In any historical appraisal what I would like to hear is the history on the Japanese side, the American side, the Europeans and so on.  So I can get a view of the big picture.  What I heard was an American view of the ending of the war and as a peace educator I can’t determine the truth without all sides being mentioned and the courage of that truth, as all participated in the atrocities of the Second World War.  How do we learn from war if we do not know all sides.  If we glorify it then we are cheering on our side and seeing the other as the enemy still.  I always feel there are many sides and much we don’t know.

I reflected on the fact that 50 million died in the WWII and I am sure by the end they wanted it over, everyone was fatigued.  But this is the moment of truth, this is the true test of democracy and human rights, it is in these moments that who we are, at that time, is revealed.  My interest was the unnecessary suffering of innocent people and the generations that will never be as they were literally dissolved on the pavements of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there were literally shadows of bodies can you believe, the foliage of trees was completely burned and turned these cities into skeletons.  The radiation and fall out would have affected hundreds of thousands.   My concern is not only in Japan but the carnage of innocent civilians in Europe, in Pearl Harbour and so on.  My query refers to the implications of the use of such violence as a means to an end.  That we can walk away from these atrocities as winners/losers and that is okay in the eyes of history.   The reason it concerns me as a civilian is that civilians are mostly the ones killed (90%).  Thus it is civilians that must ensure the peace, we have a real responsibility to protect civilians by ensuring we create a Culture of Peace, in my view.  I wonder at how we can move towards this new culture where perhaps we create Departments of Peace or Conflict Resolution or Harmony.  My view is reinforced by Aung San Suu Kyi’s lecture at the Rotary Peace forum, where she speaks of the drastic social problems caused by unfetted military occupation of a country and their rule being absolute, where there is no room for negotiation.  In fact in the Burmese case the citizens were used as slave labour by the Military Junta.  So the civilians are impacted by those who see black and white, not shades of gray, they see domination rather than power sharing and these are real issues for governance and world peace, in my view.

I told this guide we were peacemakers and he confessed he had real conflict in Vietnam, I asked why?  he said he didn’t agree with the war.  I asked him what kept him there, he said he wanted to serve his country.  I could see his pain and dilemma there.  I felt a deep sense of empathy for his conflict.  I also realised I must be gentle with people as there are always two sides to all stories and those engaged in the violence are also feeling human beings.  I wish I had time to tell him life is as it is, and we are here to learn from our lives, in retrospect we see more, but it is not to carry the guilt but to learn from the experience and become a wise elder to show the next generation the way to peace.  Sadly I couldn’t do that for him as we were running out of time. 

As I was leaving I felt to say to the tour guide that the war hasn’t ended until we make peace within.  Until we look inside at the inner conflict which becomes outer conflict the war is not over.  I told him about The Work by Byron Katie and recommended he visit www.thework.com.  I see all war as starting within, thus to have real peace in the world we must start to work on our beliefs, that are mostly unquestioned.  We are prepared to die for beliefs, perhaps if we question them we may be prepared to live for love. 

We had to go as the ship was closing.  Myself and mediator friend gave this guy a hug and another soldier.  I jokingly said to him ‘don’t you get love from your mum?’.  He came back for a second hug so I said ‘don’t you get love from you dad?’, he laughed as he just loved hugging women.  I love Americans.  They were warm and kind.  We are all learning, each and every one of us.  Any time we think negatively we are the soldier at war or creating an enemy so I cannot look at a soldier as the ‘other’ he or she is me.  So let’s hold hands and learn from the past and recreate our future that is nonviolent.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Missouri_%28BB-63%29

USS Missouri (BB-63) (“Mighty Mo” or “Big Mo“) is a United States Navy Iowa-class battleship and was the third ship of the U.S. Navy to be named in honor of the US state of Missouri. Missouri was the last battleship built by the United States and was the site of the surrender of the Empire of Japan which ended World War II.

Missouri was ordered in 1940 and commissioned in June 1944. In the Pacific Theater of World War II she fought in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa and shelled the Japanese home islands, and she fought in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. She was decommissioned in 1955 into the United States Navy reserve fleets (the “Mothball Fleet”), but reactivated and modernized in 1984 as part of the 600-ship Navy plan, and provided fire support during Operation Desert Storm in January/February 1991.

Missouri received a total of 11 battle stars for service in World War II, Korea, and the Persian Gulf, and was finally decommissioned on 31 March 1992, but remained on the Naval Vessel Register until her name was struck in January 1995. In 1998, she was donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association and became a museum ship at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Contents

Construction

Missouri was one of the Iowa-classfast battleship” designs planned in 1938 by the Preliminary Design Branch at the Bureau of Construction and Repair. She was laid down at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on 6 January 1941, launched on 29 January 1944 and commissioned on 11 June with Captain William Callaghan in command. The ship was the third of the Iowa class, but the fourth and final Iowa-class ship commissioned by the U.S. Navy.[1][2][3][4] The ship was christened at her launching by Mary Margaret Truman, daughter of Harry S. Truman, then a United States Senator from Missouri.[5]

Missouri‘s main battery consisted of nine 16 in (406 mm)/50 cal Mark 7 guns, which could fire 2,700 lb (1,200 kg) armor-piercing shells some 20 mi (32.2 km). Her secondary battery consisted of twenty 5 in (127 mm)/38 cal guns in twin turrets, with a range of about 10 mi (16 km). With the advent of air power and the need to gain and maintain air superiority came a need to protect the growing fleet of allied aircraft carriers; to this end, Missouri was fitted with an array of Oerlikon 20 mm and Bofors 40 mm anti-aircraft guns to defend allied carriers from enemy airstrikes. When reactivated in 1984 Missouri had her 20 mm and 40 mm AA guns removed, and was outfitted with Phalanx CIWS mounts for protection against enemy missiles and aircraft, and Armored Box Launchers and Quad Cell Launchers designed to fire Tomahawk missiles and Harpoon missiles, respectively.[6]

Missouri was the last U.S. battleship to be completed.[2][7] Wisconsin, the highest-numbered U.S. battleship built, was completed before Missouri; BB-65 to BB-71 were ordered but cancelled.

World War II (1944–1945)

Shakedown and service with Task Force 58, Admiral Mitscher

After trials off New York and shakedown and battle practice in the Chesapeake Bay, Missouri departed Norfolk, Virginia on 11 November 1944, transited the Panama Canal on 18 November and steamed to San Francisco for final fitting out as fleet flagship. She stood out of San Francisco Bay on 14 December and arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 24 December 1944. She departed Hawaii on 2 January 1945 and arrived in Ulithi, West Caroline Islands on 13 January. There she was temporary headquarters ship for Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher. The battleship put to sea on 27 January to serve in the screen of the Lexington carrier task group of Mitscher’s TF 58, and on 16 February the task force’s aircraft carriers launched the first air strikes against Japan since the famed Doolittle raid, which had been launched from the carrier Hornet in April 1942.[5]

Missouri then steamed with the carriers to Iwo Jima where her main guns provided direct and continuous support to the invasion landings begun on 19 February. After TF 58 returned to Ulithi on 5 March, Missouri was assigned to the Yorktown carrier task group. On 14 March, Missouri departed Ulithi in the screen of the fast carriers and steamed to the Japanese mainland. During strikes against targets along the coast of the Inland Sea of Japan beginning on 18 March, Missouri shot down four Japanese aircraft.[5]

Raids against airfields and naval bases near the Inland Sea and southwestern Honshū continued. When the carrier Franklin incurred battle damage, the Missouri‘s carrier task group provided cover for the Franklin’s retirement toward Ulithi until 22 March, then set course for pre-invasion strikes and bombardment of Okinawa.[5]

Missouri joined the fast battleships of TF 58 in bombarding the southeast coast of Okinawa on 24 March, an action intended to draw enemy strength from the west coast beaches that would be the actual site of invasion landings. Missouri rejoined the screen of the carriers as Marine and Army units stormed the shores of Okinawa on the morning of 1 April. An attack by Japanese forces was repulsed successfully.[5]

A Japanese Zero about to hit the Missouri 11 April 1945

On 11 April, a low-flying kamikaze, although fired on, crashed on Missouri‘s starboard side, just below her main deck level. The starboard wing of the plane was thrown far forward, starting a gasoline fire at 5 in (127 mm) Gun Mount No. 3. The battleship suffered only superficial damage, and the fire was brought quickly under control.[5] The remains of the pilot were recovered on board the ship just aft of one of the 40 mm gun tubs. Captain Callaghan decided that the young Japanese pilot had done his job to the best of his ability, and with honor, so he should be given a military funeral. The following day he was buried at sea with military honors.[8] The dent in the side of the ship remains to this day.

About 2305 on 17 April, Missouri detected an enemy submarine 12 mi (19 km) from her formation. Her report set off a hunter-killer operation by the light carrier Bataan and four destroyers, which sank the Japanese submarine I-56.[5]

Missouri was detached from the carrier task force off Okinawa on 5 May and sailed for Ulithi. During the Okinawa campaign she had shot down five enemy planes, assisted in the destruction of six others, and scored one probable kill. She helped repel 12 daylight attacks of enemy raiders and fought off four night attacks on her carrier task group. Her shore bombardment destroyed several gun emplacements and many other military, governmental, and industrial structures.[5]

Service with the Third Fleet, Admiral Halsey

Missouri arrived at Ulithi on 9 May and then proceeded to Apra Harbor, Guam, arriving on 18 May. That afternoon Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., Commander Third Fleet, brought his command into the Missouri.[9] She passed out of the harbor on 21 May, and by 27 May was again conducting shore bombardment against Japanese positions on Okinawa. Missouri now led the 3rd Fleet in strikes on airfields and installations on Kyūshū on 2–3 June. She rode out a fierce storm on 5 and 6 June that wrenched the bow off the cruiser Pittsburgh. Some topside fittings were smashed, but Missouri suffered no major damage. Her fleet again struck Kyūshū on 8 June, then hit hard in a coordinated air-surface bombardment before retiring towards Leyte. She arrived at San Pedro, Leyte on 13 June, after almost three months of continuous operations in support of the Okinawa campaign.[5]

Here she rejoined the powerful 3rd Fleet in strikes at the heart of Japan from within its home waters. The fleet set a northerly course on 8 July to approach the Japanese main island, Honshū. Raids took Tokyo by surprise on 10 July, followed by more devastation at the juncture of Honshū and Hokkaidō, the second-largest Japanese island, on 13–14 July. For the first time, naval gunfire destroyed a major installation within the home islands when Missouri joined in a shore bombardment on 15 July that severely damaged the Nihon Steel Co. and the Wanishi Ironworks at Muroran, Hokkaido.[5]

During the nights of 17 and 18 July, Missouri bombarded industrial targets in Honshū. Inland Sea aerial strikes continued through 25 July, and Missouri guarded the carriers as they attacked the Japanese capital. As July ended, the Japanese no longer had any home waters.[5]

Signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender

The Missouri (left) transfers personnel to the Iowa in advance of the surrender ceremony planned for 2 September.

Allied sailors and officers watch General of the Army Douglas MacArthur sign documents during the surrender ceremony aboard Missouri on 2 September 1945. The unconditional surrender of the Japanese to the Allies officially ended the Second World War.

Strikes on Hokkaidō and northern Honshū resumed on 9 August, the day the second atomic bomb was dropped.[5]

After the Japanese agreed to surrender, Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser of the Royal Navy, the Commander of the British Pacific Fleet, boarded Missouri on 16 August and conferred the honour of Knight of the British Empire upon Admiral Halsey. Missouri transferred a landing party of 200 officers and men to the battleship Iowa for temporary duty with the initial occupation force for Tokyo on 21 August. Missouri herself entered Tokyo Bay early on 29 August to prepare for the signing by Japan of the official instrument of surrender.[5]

High-ranking military officials of all the Allied Powers were received on board on 2 September, including Chinese General Hsu Yung-Ch’ang, British Admiral-of-the-Fleet Sir Bruce Fraser, Soviet Lieutenant-General Kuzma Nikolaevich Derevyanko, Australian General Sir Thomas Blamey, Canadian Colonel Lawrence Moore Cosgrave, French Général d’Armée Philippe Leclerc de Hautecloque, Dutch Vice Admiral Conrad Emil Lambert Helfrich, and New Zealand Air Vice Marshal Leonard M. Isitt.

Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz boarded shortly after 0800, and General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander for the Allies, came on board at 0843. The Japanese representatives, headed by Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu, arrived at 0856. At 0902, General MacArthur stepped before a battery of microphones and opened the 23-minute surrender ceremony to the waiting world by stating,[5] “It is my earnest hope—indeed the hope of all mankind—that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past, a world founded upon faith and understanding, a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance, and justice.”[10]

During the surrender ceremony, the deck of Missouri was decorated with a 31-star American flag that had been taken ashore by Commodore Matthew Perry in 1853 after his squadron of “Black Ships” sailed into Tokyo Bay to force the opening of Japan’s ports to foreign trade. This flag was actually displayed with the reverse side showing, i.e., stars in the upper right corner: the historic flag was so fragile that the conservator at the Naval Academy Museum had sewn a protective linen backing to one side to help secure the fabric from deteriorating, leaving its “wrong side” visible. The flag was displayed in a wood-framed case secured to the bulkhead overlooking the surrender ceremony.[11] Another U.S. flag was raised and flown during the occasion, a flag that some sources have indicated was in fact that flag which had flown over the U.S. Capitol on 7 December 1941. This is not true; it was a flag taken from the ship’s stock, according to Missouri’s Commanding Officer, Captain Stuart “Sunshine” Murray, and it was “…just a plain ordinary GI-issue flag”.[12]

By 09:30 the Japanese emissaries had departed. In the afternoon of 5 September, Admiral Halsey transferred his flag to the battleship South Dakota, and early the next day Missouri departed Tokyo Bay. As part of the ongoing Operation Magic Carpet she received homeward bound passengers at Guam, then sailed unescorted for Hawaii. She arrived at Pearl Harbor on 20 September and flew Admiral Nimitz’s flag on the afternoon of 28 September for a reception.[5]

Post-war (1946–1950)

Missouri moves through the Panama Canal en route to the United States in October 1945.

The next day, Missouri departed Pearl Harbor bound for the eastern seaboard of the United States. She reached New York City on 23 October and hoisted the flag of Atlantic Fleet commander Admiral Jonas Ingram. Four days later, Missouri boomed out a 21-gun salute as President Truman boarded for Navy Day ceremonies.[5]

After an overhaul in the New York Naval Shipyard and a training cruise to Cuba, Missouri returned to New York. During the afternoon of 21 March 1946, she received the remains of the Turkish Ambassador to the United States, Münir Ertegün. She departed on 22 March for Gibraltar, and on 5 April anchored in the Bosphorus off Istanbul. She rendered full honors, including the firing of 19-gun salutes during the transfer of the remains of the late ambassador and again during the funeral ashore.[5]

Missouri departed Istanbul on 9 April and entered Phaleron Bay, Piraeus, Greece, the following day for an overwhelming welcome by Greek government officials and anti-communist citizens. Greece had become the scene of a civil war between the communist World War II resistance movement and the returning Greek government-in-exile. The United States saw this as an important test case for its new doctrine of containment of the Soviet Union. The Soviets were also pushing for concessions in the Dodecanese to be included in the peace treaty with Italy and for access through the Dardanelles strait between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. The voyage of Missouri to the eastern Mediterranean symbolized America’s strategic commitment to the region. News media proclaimed her a symbol of U.S. interest in preserving both nations’ independence.[5]

Missouri departed Piraeus on 26 April, touching at Algiers and Tangiers before arriving at Norfolk on 9 May. She departed for Culebra Island on 12 May to join Admiral Mitscher’s 8th Fleet in the Navy’s first large-scale postwar Atlantic training maneuvers. The battleship returned to New York City on 27 May, and spent the next year steaming Atlantic coastal waters north to the Davis Strait and south to the Caribbean on various Atlantic command training exercises.[5] On 13 December, during a target practice exercise in the North Atlantic, a star shell accidentally struck the battleship, but without causing injuries.[13]

Missouri was accidentally grounded early on the morning of 17 January 1950.

Missouri arrived at Rio de Janeiro on 30 August 1947 for the Inter-American Conference for the Maintenance of Hemisphere Peace and Security. President Truman boarded on 2 September to celebrate the signing of the Rio Treaty, which broadened the Monroe Doctrine by stipulating that an attack on any one of the signatory American states would be considered an attack on all.[5]

The Truman family boarded Missouri on 7 September 1947 to return to the United States and debarked at Norfolk on 19 September. Her overhaul in New York—which lasted from 23 September to 10 March 1948—was followed by refresher training at Guantanamo Bay. The summer of 1948 was devoted to midshipman and reserve training cruises. Also in 1948, the Big Mo became the first battleship to host a helicopter detachment, operating two Sikorsky HO3S-1 machines for utility and rescue work.[14] The battleship departed Norfolk on 1 November 1948 for a second three-week Arctic cold-weather training cruise to the Davis Strait. During the next two years, Missouri participated in Atlantic command exercises from the New England coast to the Caribbean, alternated with two midshipman summer training cruises. She was overhauled at Norfolk Naval Shipyard from 23 September 1949 to 17 January 1950.[5]

Throughout the latter half of the 1940s, the various service branches of the United States had been downsizing their inventories from their World War II levels. In the Navy, this resulted in several vessels of various types being decommissioned and either sold for scrap or placed in one of the various United States Navy reserve fleets scattered along the East and West Coast of the United States. As part of this drawdown, three of the Iowa-class battleships had been de-activated and decommissioned; however, President Truman refused to allow Missouri to be decommissioned. Against the advice of Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson, Secretary of the Navy John L. Sullivan, and Chief of Naval Operations Louis E. Denfeld, Truman ordered Missouri to be maintained with the active fleet partly because of his fondness for the battleship and partly because the battleship had been christened by his daughter Margaret Truman.[15][16]

Then the only U.S. battleship in commission, Missouri was proceeding seaward on a training mission from Hampton Roads early on 17 January 1950 when she ran aground 1.6 mi (2.6 km) from Thimble Shoal Light, near Old Point Comfort. She hit shoal water a distance of three ship-lengths from the main channel. Lifted some 7 feet (2.1 m) above waterline, she stuck hard and fast.[5] With the aid of tugboats, pontoons, and an incoming tide, she was refloated on 1 February 1950 and repaired.[5]

The Korean War (1950–1955)

In 1950, the Korean War broke out, prompting the United States to intervene in the name of the United Nations. President Truman was caught off guard when the invasion struck,[17] but quickly ordered U.S. forces stationed in Japan into South Korea. Truman also sent U.S.-based troops, tanks, fighter and bomber aircraft, and a strong naval force to Korea to support the Republic of Korea. As part of the naval mobilization Missouri was called up from the Atlantic Fleet and dispatched from Norfolk on 19 August to support UN forces on the Korean peninsula.[5]

Missouri arrived just west of Kyūshū on 14 September, where she became the flagship of Rear Admiral A. E. Smith. The first American battleship to reach Korean waters, she bombarded Samchok on 15 September 1950 in an attempt to divert troops and attention from the Incheon landings. This was the first time since World War II that Missouri had fired her guns in anger, and in company with the cruiser Helena and two destroyers, she helped prepare the way for the U.S. Eighth Army offensive.[5]

Missouri arrived at Incheon on 19 September, and on 10 October became flagship of Rear Admiral J. M. Higgins, commander, Cruiser Division 5 (CruDiv 5). She arrived at Sasebo on 14 October, where she became flagship of Vice Admiral A. D. Struble, Commander, 7th Fleet. After screening the aircraft carrier Valley Forge along the east coast of Korea, she conducted bombardment missions from 12 to 26 October in the Chongjin and Tanchon areas, and at Wonsan where she again screened carriers eastward of Wonsan.[5]

MacArthur’s amphibious landings at Incheon had severed the North Korean Army’s supply lines; as a result, North Korea’s army had begun a lengthy retreat from South Korea into North Korea. This retreat was closely monitored by the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) out of fear that the UN offensive against Korea would create a US-backed enemy on China’s border, and out of concern that the UN offensive in Korea could evolve into a UN war against China. The latter of these two threats had already manifested itself during the Korea War: U.S. F-86 Sabres on patrol in “MiG Alley” frequently crossed into China while pursuing Communist MiGs operating out of Chinese airbases.[18]

Moreover, there was talk among the U.N. commanders—notably General Douglas MacArthur—about a potential campaign against the People’s Republic of China. In an effort to dissuade UN forces from completely overrunning North Korea the People’s Republic of China issued diplomatic warnings that they would use force to protect the PRC, but these warnings were not taken seriously for a number of reasons, among them the fact that China lacked air cover to conduct such an attack.[19][20] This changed abruptly on 19 October 1950, when the first of an eventual total of 380,000 People’s Liberation Army soldiers under the command of General Peng Dehuai crossed into North Korea, launching a full scale assault against advancing U.N. troops. The PRC offensive caught the UN completely by surprise; UN forces realized they would have to fall back, and quickly executed an emergency retreat. UN assets were shuffled in order to cover this retreat, and as part of the force tasked with covering the UN retreat Missouri was moved into Hungnam on 23 December to provide gunfire support about the Hungnam defense perimeter until the last UN troops, the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division, were evacuated by way of the sea on 24 December 1950.[5]

Missouri fires her guns against enemy positions during the Korean War. Notice the effect on the seawater under the guns.

Missouri conducted additional operations with carriers and shore bombardments off the east coast of Korea until 19 March 1951. She arrived at Yokosuka on 24 March, and 4 days later was relieved of duty in the Far East. She departed Yokosuka on 28 March, and upon arrival at Norfolk on 27 April became the flagship of Rear Admiral James L. Holloway, Jr., commander, Cruiser Force, Atlantic Fleet. During the summer of 1951, she engaged in two midshipman training cruises to northern Europe. Under the command of Captain John Sylvester, Missouri entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard 18 October 1951 for an overhaul, which lasted until 30 January 1952.[5]

Following winter and spring training out of Guantanamo Bay, Missouri visited New York, then set course from Norfolk on 9 June 1952 for another midshipman cruise. She returned to Norfolk on 4 August and entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard to prepare for a second tour in the Korean combat zone.[5]

Missouri stood out of Hampton Roads on 11 September 1952 and arrived at Yokosuka on 17 October. Vice Admiral Joseph J. Clark, commander of the 7th Fleet, brought his command onboard on 19 October. Her primary mission was to provide seagoing artillery support by bombarding enemy targets in the Chaho-Tanchon area, at Chongjin, in the Tanchon-Sonjin area, and at Chaho, Wonsan, Hamhung, and Hungnam during the period 25 October through 2 January 1953.[5]

Missouri put in to Incheon on 5 January 1953 and sailed thence to Sasebo, Japan. General Mark W. Clark, Commander in Chief, U.N. Command, and Admiral Sir Guy Russell, the Royal Navy commander of the British Far East Station, visited the battleship on 23 January. In the following weeks, Missouri resumed “Cobra” patrol along the east coast of Korea to support troops ashore. Repeated bombardment of Wonsan, Tanehon, Hungnam, and Kojo destroyed main supply routes along the eastern seaboard of Korea.[5]

The last bombardment mission by Missouri was against the Kojo area on 25 March. On 6 March, her commanding officer–Captain Warner R. Edsall–suffered a fatal heart attack while conning her through the submarine net at Sasebo. She was relieved as the 7th Fleet flagship on 6 April by her older sister New Jersey.[5]

Missouri departed Yokosuka on 7 April and arrived at Norfolk on 4 May to become flagship for Rear Admiral E. T. Woolridge, commander, Battleships-Cruisers, Atlantic Fleet, on 14 May. She departed on 8 June on a midshipman training cruise, returned to Norfolk on 4 August, and was overhauled in Norfolk Naval Shipyard from 20 November 1953 to 2 April 1954. Now the flagship of Rear Admiral R. E. Kirby, who had relieved Admiral Woolridge, Missouri departed Norfolk on 7 June as flagship of the midshipman training cruise to Lisbon and Cherbourg. During this voyage Missouri was joined by the other three battleships of her class, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Iowa, the only time the four ships sailed together.[21] She returned to Norfolk on 3 August and departed on 23 August for inactivation on the West Coast. After calls at Long Beach and San Francisco, Missouri arrived in Seattle on 15 September. Three days later she entered Puget Sound Naval Shipyard where she was decommissioned on 26 February 1955, entering the Bremerton group, Pacific Reserve Fleet.[5]

Upon arrival in Bremerton, Missouri was moored at the last pier of the reserve fleet berthing. This placed her very close to the mainland, and she served as a popular tourist attraction, logging about 180,000 visitors per year, who came to view the “surrender deck” where a bronze plaque memorialized the spot where Japan surrendered to the Allies, and the accompanying historical display that included copies of the surrender documents and photos. A small cottage industry grew in the civilian community just outside the gates, selling souvenirs and other memorabilia. Nearly thirty years passed before Missouri next returned to active duty.[5]

Reactivation (1984 to 1990)

Under the Reagan Administration’s program to build a 600-ship Navy, led by Secretary of the Navy John F. Lehman, Missouri was reactivated and towed by the salvage ship Beaufort to the Long Beach Naval Yard in the summer of 1984 to undergo modernization in advance of her scheduled recommissioning.[5] In preparation for the move, a skeleton crew of 20 spent three weeks working 12-to-16 hour days preparing the battleship for her tow.[22] During the modernization Missouri had her obsolete armament removed: 20 mm and 40 mm anti-aircraft guns, and four of her ten 5-inch (130 mm) gun mounts.[23]

Missouri in dry dock during her modernization at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard in 1985

Over the next several months, the ship was upgraded with the most advanced weaponry available; among the new weapons systems installed were four MK 141 quad cell launchers for 16 AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, eight Armored Box Launcher (ABL) mounts for 32 BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles, and a quartet of Phalanx Close In Weapon System (CIWS) gatling guns for defense against enemy anti-ship missiles and enemy aircraft.[23] Also included in her modernization were upgrades to radar and fire control systems for her guns and missiles, and improved electronic warfare capabilities.[23] During the modernization Missouri‘s 800 lb (360 kg) bell, which had been removed from the battleship and sent to Jefferson City, Missouri for sesquicentennial celebrations in the state, was formally returned to the battleship in advance of her recommissioning.[24] Missouri was formally recommissioned in San Francisco on 10 May 1986. “This is a day to celebrate the rebirth of American sea power”, Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger told an audience of 10,000 at the recommissioning ceremony, instructing the crew to “listen for the footsteps of those who have gone before you. They speak to you of honor and the importance of duty. They remind you of your own traditions.”[25] Also present at the recommissioning ceremony was Missouri governor John Ashcroft, U.S. Senator Pete Wilson, Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, San Francisco mayor Dianne Feinstein, and Margaret Truman.[26]

Four months later Missouri departed from her new home port of Long Beach for an around-the-world cruise, visiting Pearl Harbor Hawaii; Sydney, Hobart, and Perth, Australia; Diego Garcia; the Suez Canal; Istanbul, Turkey; Naples, Italy; Rota, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; and the Panama Canal. Missouri became the first American battleship to circumnavigate the globe since Theodore Roosevelt‘s “Great White Fleet” 80 years before – a fleet which included the first battleship named USS Missouri (BB-11).[5]

Crewmen man the rails as Missouri formally recommissions in San Francisco, California

In 1987, Missouri was outfitted with 40 mm grenade launchers and 25 mm chain guns and sent to take part in Operation Earnest Will, the escorting of reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.[27] These smaller-caliber weapons were installed due to the threat of Iranian-manned, Swedish-made Boghammar cigarette boats operating in the Persian Gulf at the time.[28] On 25 July, the ship departed on a six-month deployment to the Indian Ocean and North Arabian Sea. She spent more than 100 continuous days at sea in a hot, tense environment – a striking contrast to her world cruise months earlier. As the centerpiece for Battlegroup Echo, Missouri escorted tanker convoys into the Strait of Hormuz, keeping her fire control system trained on land-based Iranian Silkworm missile launchers.[29]

Missouri returned to the United States via Diego Garcia, Australia and Hawaii in early 1988. Several months later, Missouri‘s crew again headed for Hawaiian waters for the Rim of the Pacific (RimPac) exercises, which involved more than 50,000 troops and ships from the navies of Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States. Port visits in 1988 included Vancouver and Victoria in Canada, San Diego, Seattle, and Bremerton.[5]

In the early months of 1989, Missouri was in the Long Beach Naval Shipyard for routine maintenance. On 1 July 1989, while berthed at Pier D, the music video for Cher‘s If I Could Turn Back Time was filmed aboard Missouri and featured the ship’s crew. A few months later she departed for Pacific Exercise (PacEx) ’89, where she and New Jersey performed a simultaneous gunfire demonstration for the aircraft carriers Enterprise and Nimitz. The highlight of PacEx was a port visit in Pusan, Republic of Korea. In 1990, Missouri again took part in the RimPac Exercise with ships from Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, and the U.S.[5]

Gulf War (January–February 1991)

On 2 August 1990 Iraq, led by President Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait. In the middle of the month U.S. President George H. W. Bush, in keeping with the Carter Doctrine, sent the first of several hundred thousand troops, along with a strong force of naval support, to Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf area to support a multinational force in a standoff with Iraq.

Missouri‘s scheduled four-month Western Pacific port-to-port cruise set to begin in September was canceled just a few days before the ship was to leave. She had been placed on hold in anticipation of being mobilized as forces continued to mass in the Middle East. Missouri departed on 13 November 1990 for the troubled waters of the Persian Gulf. She departed from Pier 6 at Long Beach, with extensive press coverage, and headed for Hawaii and the Philippines for more work-ups en route to the Persian Gulf. Along the way she made stops at Subic Bay and Pattaya Beach, Thailand, before transiting the Strait of Hormuz on 3 January 1991. During subsequent operations leading up to Operation Desert Storm, Missouri prepared to launch Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) and provide naval gunfire support as required.[5]

Missouri launches a Tomahawk missile.

Missouri fired her first Tomahawk missile at Iraqi targets at 01:40 am on 17 January 1991, followed by 27 additional missiles over the next five days.[5]

On 29 January, the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate Curts led Missouri northward, using advanced mine-avoidance sonar. In her first naval fire support action of Desert Storm she shelled an Iraqi command and control bunker near the Saudi border, the first time her 16 in (410 mm) guns had been fired in combat since March 1953 off Korea.[30] The battleship bombarded Iraqi beach defenses in occupied Kuwait on the night of 3 February, firing 112 16 in (410 mm) rounds over the next three days until relieved by Wisconsin. Missouri then fired another 60 rounds off Khafji on 11–12 February before steaming north to Faylaka Island. After minesweepers cleared a lane through Iraqi defenses, Missouri fired 133 rounds during four shore bombardment missions as part of the amphibious landing feint against the Kuwaiti shore line the morning of 23 February.[5] The heavy pounding attracted Iraqi attention; in response to the battleship’s artillery strike, the Iraqis fired two HY-2 Silkworm missiles at the battleship, one of which missed,[31] while the other was intercepted by a GWS-30 Sea Dart missile launched from the British air defence destroyer HMS Gloucester[5] within 90 seconds and crashed into the sea roughly 700 yd (640 m) in front of Missouri.[32]

Missouri firing her 16″ guns during Desert Storm, 6 February 1991.

During the campaign, Missouri was involved in a friendly fire incident with the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate Jarrett. According to the official report, on 25 February, Jarrett‘s Phalanx engaged the chaff fired by Missouri as a countermeasure against enemy missiles, and stray rounds from the firing struck Missouri, one penetrating through a bulkhead and becoming embedded in an interior passageway of the ship. Another round struck the ship on the forward funnel, passing completely through it. One sailor aboard Missouri was struck in the neck by flying shrapnel and suffered minor injuries. Those familiar with the incident are skeptical of this account, however, as Jarrett was reportedly over 2 mi (3.2 km) away at the time and the characteristics of chaff are such that a Phalanx would not normally regard it as a threat and engage it.[33] There is no dispute that the rounds that struck Missouri did come from Jarrett, and that it was an accident. The suspicion is that a Phalanx operator on Jarrett may have accidentally fired off a few rounds manually, although there is no evidence to support this.[31][34]

During the operation, Missouri also assisted coalition forces engaged in clearing Iraqi naval mines in the Persian Gulf. By the time the war ended, Missouri had destroyed at least 15 naval mines.[32]

With combat operations out of range of the battleship’s weapons on 26 February, Missouri had fired a total 759 rounds of 16 in (410 mm) shells and launched 28 Tomahawk cruise missiles during the campaign,[35] and commenced to conduct patrol and armistice enforcement operations in the northern Persian Gulf until sailing for home on 21 March. Following stops at Fremantle and Hobart, Australia, the warship visited Pearl Harbor before arriving home in April. She spent the remainder of the year conducting type training and other local operations, the latter including the 7 December “voyage of remembrance” to mark the 50th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941. During that ceremony, Missouri hosted President George H. W. Bush, the first such presidential visit for the warship since Harry S. Truman boarded the battleship in September 1947.[5]

Museum ship (1998 to present)

Missouri in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; aft deck and 16-inch (410 mm) gun turret

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and the absence of a perceived threat to the United States came drastic cuts in the defense budget, and the high cost of maintaining and operating battleships as part of the United States Navy’s active fleet became uneconomical; as a result, Missouri was decommissioned on 31 March 1992 at Long Beach, California.[1] Her last commanding officer, Captain Albert L. Kaiss, wrote in the ship’s final Plan of the Day:

Our final day has arrived. Today the final chapter in battleship Missouri’s history will be written. It’s often said that the crew makes the command. There is no truer statement … for it’s the crew of this great ship that made this a great command. You are a special breed of sailors and Marines and I am proud to have served with each and every one of you. To you who have made the painful journey of putting this great lady to sleep, I thank you. For you have had the toughest job. To put away a ship that has become as much a part of you as you are to her is a sad ending to a great tour. But take solace in this—you have lived up to the history of the ship and those who sailed her before us. We took her to war, performed magnificently and added another chapter in her history, standing side by side our forerunners in true naval tradition. God bless you all.
—Captain Albert L. Kaiss[25]

Missouri facing the sunken Arizona.

Missouri remained part of the reserve fleet at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington, until 12 January 1995, when she was struck from the Naval Vessel Register. On 4 May 1998, Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton signed the donation contract that transferred her to the nonprofit USS Missouri Memorial Association (MMA) of Honolulu, Hawaii. She was towed from Bremerton on 23 May to Astoria, Oregon, where she sat in fresh water at the mouth of the Columbia River to kill and drop the saltwater barnacles and sea grasses that had grown on her hull in Bremerton,[32] then towed across the eastern Pacific, and docked at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor on 22 June, just 500 yd (460 m) from the Arizona Memorial.[25] Less than a year later, on 29 January 1999, Missouri was opened as a museum operated by the MMA.

Plaque commemorating the surrender of Japan to end World War II

Originally, the decision to move Missouri to Pearl Harbor was met with some resistance. The National Park Service expressed concern that the battleship, whose name has become synonymous with the end of World War II, would overshadow the battleship Arizona, whose dramatic explosion and subsequent sinking on 7 December 1941 has since become synonymous with the attack on Pearl Harbor.[36] To help guard against this perception Missouri was placed well back from and facing the Arizona Memorial, so that those participating in military ceremonies on Missouri‘s aft decks would not have sight of the Arizona Memorial. The decision to have Missouri‘s bow face the Arizona Memorial was intended to convey that Missouri now watches over the remains of Arizona so that those interred within Arizona‘s hull may rest in peace.[37]

Missouri was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on 14 May 1971 for hosting the signing of the instrument of Japanese surrender that ended World War II.[36] She is not eligible for designation as a National Historic Landmark because she was extensively modernized in the years following the surrender.[37]

On 14 October 2009, Missouri was moved from her berthing station on Battleship Row to a drydock at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard to undergo a three month overhaul. The work, priced at $18 million, included installing a new anti-corrosion system, repainting the hull, and upgrading the internal mechanisms. Drydock workers reported that the ship was leaking at some points on the starboard side.[38] The repairs were completed the first week of January 2010 and the ship was returned to her berthing station on Battleship Row on 7 January 2010. The ship’s grand reopening occurred on 30 January.[39]

Awards

Missouri received three battle stars for her service in World War II, five for her service during the Korean War, and three for her service during the Gulf War.[37] Missouri also received numerous awards for her service in World War II, Korea, and the Persian Gulf.[40]

 

Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star

Bronze star

Silver star

Bronze star
Bronze star

Bronze star
Bronze star

 

  Combat Action Ribbon  
Navy Unit Commendation Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation Navy E Ribbon w/ Wreathed Battle E device China Service Medal
American Campaign Medal Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ 3 service stars World War II Victory Medal Navy Occupation Service Medal
National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 service star Korean Service Medal w/ 5 service stars Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Southwest Asia Service Medal w/ 2 service stars
Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon w/ 2 service stars Korean Presidential Unit Citation United Nations Korea Medal Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)

Rotary Peace Forum: T Shirt Theatre is Drama and Education

The T-Shirt theatre did a quick performance at the Rotary Peace Forum.  Their performance received a standing ovation.

Information about them as follows.

http://rehearseforlife.com/about/

Since 1985, ADE has continued to work with every incoming FHS student, inviting the most talented and generous ones from Farrington, Kalakaua and Dole High Schools to audition for ADE’s flagship, T-Shirt Theatre of Kalihi. This low tech, high zest company of performers embodies our mission to help Hawaii’s youth rehearse for a life full of jobs, justice and joy.

45 multi-ethnic adolescents, ages 13-20, rehearse after school in the Farrington High School auditorium, home to the largest inner-city student body in Hawaii. This district, teeming with talent, lies in the shadow of five federal housing projects and has a disproportionate amount of poverty, crime, and new immigrants with language challenges.

Like the lychee in Kalihi Valley, the students are rough on the outside but sweet on the inside. Public perception of Farrington is of gangs, violence and low achievement. We want to change that perception to more accurately reflect the wide array of positive talents, accomplishments and possibilities of our urban youth. We are establishing a model that other ‘tough’ high schools can adopt. We consciously work to meet the demands of Hawaii‘s employers and communities for worker-citizens with higher-order thinking skills: critical thinking, agility in judgment, creativity, imagination, cooperative decision making, literacy, communication, and the capacity for problem-solving. Kalihi Works is a program dedicated with this charter.

We want to change that perception to more accurately reflect the wide array of positive talents, accomplishments and possibilities of our urban youth 

TST engages youth in all aspects of play production. They write original material, dance, sing, act, run lights and sound, manage front-of-house, and perform for back-to-back assemblies of 1200 students. Topics range from anger management, bullying and ecology to dealing with death, money and friendship.

Students also tour to 5th grade classes and teach performer and audience skills. These Envoy Tours to Kalihi elementary schools help youngsters gain the performing courage needed to score in class while underscoring the support an audience needs to offer shy classmates the courage to take their turn in front.

This tour ranks as irreplaceable base line to insure our kids understand what a REAL work commitment entails and to realize what being a trouper requires. After offering a short performance together, each of 6-8 TST performers solo coach 6-12 fifth graders and bring them to supported performance before the period ends. They do this 5 to 7 times per day.

The T-Shirt Theatre program helps Graduates embark with enhanced esteem that encourages future life success.

Rotary Peace Forum: Holy Mosher Filmmaker is Bonsai

Holly Mosher spoke of Muhammad Yunus Vision people may recall he is the founder of Grameen Bank and has developed other projects to help empower people with access to solar panels, micro credit, removing night blindness for children (healthy green vegetables) and developing social businesses (see below). 

Muhammad one the Nobel Peace Prize for his work impacting the third world and the empowerment of women.  He has found by tapping into women, change happens.

Molly shared her journey as a filmmaker and how filmakers can create peace by telling the stories of those who are creating the change in the world, in positive empowering ways. Her film is called Bonsai.  This is about the planting of a seed and when contained in a pot becomes a Bonsai.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/filmmakerforchange/share-muhammad-yunus-vision-bonsaimovie

Funded! This project successfully raised its funding goal on May 3, 2011.

A documentary feature film based on Nobel Peace Prize Muhammad Yunus’ work from microcrediit to social business. Director Holly Mosher

  • Launched: Feb 1, 2011
  • Funding ended: May 3, 2011

What if you could harness the power of the free market to solve the problems of poverty, hunger, and inequality?

To some, it sounds impossible. But Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus is doing exactly that. BONSAI looks deeply at Yunus’ extraordinary humanitarian work, which started when he simply lent $27 to 42 people out of his own pocket. As the founder of Grameen Bank, Yunus pioneered microcredit, the innovative banking program that provides poor people – mainly women – with small loans they use to launch businesses and lift their families out of poverty. His Grameen Bank currently lends to one out of every 1,000 people on Earth and with a 98% rate of return – unheard of in the financial world.

But Muhammad Yunus didn’t stop there. Now, he’s gone beyond microcredit to pioneer the idea of social business – a completely new way to use the creative vibrancy of business to tackle social problems from poverty and pollution to inadequate health care and lack of education. BONSAI offers a glimpse into his visionary work.

While Muhammad Yunus didn’t invent the notion of doing business for social good – it is a concept that needed a leader and Yunus has become that person. And BONSAI is the feature length documentary film that is going to be his megaphone. BONSAI received a grant to make the film, but we still need finishing funds and money to share it with the world.

We still need to pay the composer, sound designer, graphics artist, dvd manufacturer and lastly and most importantly ignite a word of mouth campaign to get people to see this important film. We are excited to share how microcredit and social business work and how it can be replicated successfully around the globe.

We are looking for and excited about creating partnerships with like minded individuals and organizations to really ignite this new social movement. Join us in the new social business movement today!

——————— Bonsai is fiscally sponsored by Meaningful Media – 501(c)3 Produced by Hummingbird Pictures LLC http://bonsaimovie.com (Bonsai Official Website) http://on.fb.me/evJmZc (Bonsai Facebook page)