Paul Keating and Aung Ann Su Kyi

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Some texts are universal, that is they relate to everyone in the themes that they explore. Paul Keating’s speech at the funeral service of the Unknown Soldier (1993) and Aung San Suu Kyi’s keynote address (1995) have the power to move and challenge us in the sense that they both explore universal themes of peace, unity, democracy, human rights and war. Suu Kyi’s keynote address explores the idea that women have an important and even vital role to play in the establishment of “peace, security, human rights and democracy.” This role has been undervalued and needs to be elevated and allowed to blossom especially public affairs so that all people may enjoy these human needs. In her exordium, the orator opens with a tone of humility in the lines “wonderful but daunting task that has fallen upon me,” which endears her to all people listening whether they be male or female and whatever historical period the may be in. in using the word “wonderful” she acknowledges the great assembly of people listening who are interested in the values she goes on to mention. The word “daunting” allows us to see that she feels humbled by being chosen to speak to such a great assembly. She wrote this speech specifically for the people at the world conference on Women, most of whom, but not all were women. Her opening line sets the stage for a speech which pays homage to women everywhere and which positions us to see her as part of the female but also the Burmese effort to bring peace to all. Throughout her eulogy Kyi’s uses of cultural references and the use of metaphorical language to emphasise what women can achieve in establishing peace. Trough referring to the Burmese proverb “the dawn rises only when the rooster crows,” she examines the way Burmese men have interpreted this proverb to elevate their own status. She also discusses her belief that women “have done much to dissipate the
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