Welcome, reader! According to Antony Hegarty in this second decade of the new century our future is determined. What will it be? Stays all the same and do we sink away in the mud or is something new coming up? In this blog I try to follow new cultural developments.

Welkom, lezer! Volgens Antony Hegarty leven we in bijzondere tijden. In dit tweede decennium van de eenentwintigste eeuw worden de lijnen uitgezet naar de toekomst. Wat wordt het? Blijft alles zoals het is en zakken we langzaam weg in het moeras van zelfgenoegzaamheid of gloort er ergens iets nieuws aan de horizon? In dit blog volg ik de ontwikkelingen op de voet. Als u op de hoogte wilt blijven, kunt u zich ook aanmelden als volger. Schrijven is een avontuur en bloggen is dat zeker. Met vriendelijke groet, Rein Swart.

Laat ik zeggen dat literaire kritiek voor mij geen kritiek is, zolang zij geen kritiek is op het leven zelf. Rudy Cornets de Groot.

Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rage at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Dylan Thomas.

Het is juist de roman die laat zien dat het leven geen roman is. Bas Heijne.

In het begin was het Woord, het Woord was bij God en het Woord was God. Johannes.

dinsdag 15 maart 2011

Documentary: Lady of no fear (2010), Anne Gyrithe Bonne

The family life of a modern Jeanne d’ Arc.

In this documentary the Danish filmmaker Anne Gyrithe Bonne shows the British years of Aung San Suu Kyi, who was born in Birma in June 1945. Her focus is especially at the family life of Suu, as she is called by friends like Peter Carey. Collegues from the university, Ann Pasternak and Suzanne Hoelgard and lady Gore-Booth also tell about their memories.

The documentary starts with husband Michael Aris, who says that he did not see his wife for 18 months and their last letter was a year ago. That must have been in the early nineties. Later in the film Suu explains she did not want to talk to her family through the eyes of the military regime.  

From 1964 Suu studied at the University of Oxford and stayed with lady Gore-Booth and her husband who was the British ambasssador in Birma from 1949 to 1953. A friend says that she was oldfashioned about boyfriends. Suu herself says that she got a strict education. Her mother was a politician, her father a general. Lady Booth says Suu was sensitive but also determined. On early pictures she indeed looks like an Eastern princess, as Suzanne says.

Suu met Michael, who wrote books on buddism and a biography of the Dalai Lama. They married in 1972 and lived since 1975 in Oxford, but Suu remains a citizen of Birma. Peter carey says they were a perfect couple, Suu more distanced than Michael.  
Because of the academic career of Michael, Suu toke care of their suns Alexander and Kim. Ann says Suu had problems feeding Kim and massaged the baby with oil. Peter thinks she was looking in those days for her own role, Ann says she became more focused and learnt Tibetan en Japanese. She wrote a biography of her father Aung San who talked to Churchill about Birman independence and was killed in 1947, when he was 33 years old was Suu only two years old.

In June 1988 her mother gets a stroke and Suu goes back to Birma. She notices a revolutionary atmosphere in the country, but is not politically involved. Her older brother lives in the U.S. and not want to become a politcal leader in Birma. On August 26 the speech of Suu in the Shwedagon Pagoda in Ragoon impresses a lot of people.

After the death of her mother in august 1989 she stays in her country, which was a cavalry for Michael, Peter says. The regime promised elections but manifestions were forbidden. The National League for Democracy got a large majority of the votes, but the militaries denied that outcome. Democratic leaders were sent to jail, but Suu only got house arrest. Because of her father, Suu thinks. It made her a political being, she says. She writes a poem that starts like these lines:

‘In the Quiet Land, no one can tell
if there's someone who's listening
for secrets they can sell.
The informers are paid in the blood of the land
and no one dares speak what the tyrants won't stand.’

Michael now takes care of their two sons and recieves in 1998 a honorary degree from the university of Bath, because Suu cannot travel. In 1990 he received the Sachorov prize.
The regime in Birma puts pressure on Suu to leave the country but she refuses and stops communicating with her family, because she doesn’t want the militaries to read their letters.
in 1991 Suu get the Nobel Peace Price for her nonviolent resistance. Alexander and Kim are sad because their mother is so far away and they were not allowed to visit her. Alexander speaks about her spiritual quest: ‘The essential revolution is the revolution of the spirit.’  
Suu says in buddism life is about having a goal, the right attitude, perseverance and wisdom.
Peter says truth is not in the secret books but in life.

In 1995 the house arrest ends and Suu speeches from her garden. Michael was not allowed to visit her. In March 1999 he dies because of prostate cancer. Peter heard about the disease in January. Michael thought he would beat his cancer. Suu was not allowed to visit or bury him. She asked her sons to pick flowers from the field and lay them on the coffin. Alexander says at the funeral The salutation of dawn:

Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn!
Look to this Day!
For it is Life, the very Life of Life.
In its brief course lie all the
Verities and Realities of your Existence;
The Bliss of Growth,
The Glory of Action,
The Splendor of Beauty;
For Yesterday is but a Dream,
And Tomorrow is only a Vision;
But Today well lived makes every
Yesterday a Dream of Happiness, and every
Tomorrow a Vision of Hope.
Look well therefore to this Day!
Such is the Salutation of the Dawn.

Peter still would like to ask Suu if she has any regrets about leaving her husband and children, but Suu says she doesn’t answer personal questions. After 1988 she says she had another family to take care of: her people. This very moving documentary about her broken family,  her torn life but unshaken dedication to a Birman democratic development can be seen on the 24th, 28th and 29th of March in Moviesthatmatterfestival.nl in The Hague or on http://www.boeddhistischeomroep.nl/uitzending.aspx?lIntEntityId=1369

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