Speech Comparing Aung San Suu Kyi and Emma Goldman
Of all the countless speeches recorded throughout time, only a select few have withstood the test of time, their original contexts and political battles continuing to maintain relevance today. Aung San Suu Kyi and Emma Goldman’s empowering speeches have spanned across decades, united in their aim to draw attention to a lack of freedom, justice and democratic rights their outspoken ideas and reception remain relevant within our changing society regardless of altering values.After living through the most unstable times in Burmese history, Suu Kyi was put under house arrest for six years in 1989 by the State Law and Order Restoration Council of Burma for her fight for democracy and freedom of the Burmese people. In this political turmoil, Suu Kyi delivered her 1995 speech Keynote address at the Beijing world conference on woman by videotape, for she feared that if she went to Beijing she would not be allowed to return to her home country and fight for its freedom.
Emma Goldman’s speech of 1917 “The political criminal of today must needs be the saint of the new age” was received at a time when her insistence on challenging the conventions made her seem a dangerous rebel and a threat to the order in society. Her being an Anarchist and a Russian immigrant made for a lack of acceptance and she was not considered equal among American people. In Aung San Suu Kyi’s speech in China, she speaks with deep conviction regarding the lack of freedom that women suffer.Her speech focuses on the role of women in government, society and politics to “struggle for justice and peace” in the world.
She expresses her belief that this role should be centred on the biological qualities woman possess and their dedication to “nurturing, protecting and caring for the young and the old. ” Emma Goldman also deals with this issue when she delivered her speech to a jury consisting entirely of men. The discrimination that these two women discuss exemplifies women across the world, continuously being persecuted for their gender.Suu Kyi chose to develop a sense of intimacy and appealed to her audience’s intellect through a close up video recording. Her tone and stoical approach invites her listeners to adopt new perspectives and to include women in the political process as “no war was ever started by women”. She begins her speech with a hopeful introduction, using positive emotive language such a “splendid” and “wonderful”.
Her campaign continues with an age-old proverb of her culture that “the dawn rises only when the rooster crows” metaphorically depicting how women are subserviently treated today by the “rooster”.Suu Kyi uses sarcasm when discussing the “war toys of grown men” reducing men to mere children whose lust for power is a game that is having extensive fatal consequences for women and children. The contrast of negative and positive connotations represents the contributions of men and women to society in juxtapositions such as “compassion and self-sacrifice, their courage and perseverance” to “the darkness of intolerance and hate, suffering and despair. ” All the language devices she occupies illustrate how important women are in keeping the world from becoming desolate.Goldman too addresses the issue of discrimination by analysing the way women are treated by power wielding men, more specifically in the legal and political system. During her defence against claims of conspiracy she defends her anarchist position and utilises sarcasm and truncated sentences to ridicule the jury when she repeatedly declares that she is facing “Gentlemen of the jury”.
The anaphora illustrates her contempt that there are no females present in the jury, and that these men are supposed to be honest gentlemen, an oxymoron in her eyes.Emma Goldman’s clever use of rhetoric defies tradition and emotion, and she alienates her audience by stirring negative opinions and calls upon her intellect to win her battle. Goldman pleaded to the jury, urging the court to form an unbiased opinion and recognise her fight for freedom of speech as she alludes to her fellow so called anarchists “Jesus, Socrates, Galileo, Bruno, John Brown” to prove she is not wrong and that nothing will make her change her position. Goldman also uses a series of rhetorical questions.
A personal interpretation examines men’s hold on power in society and way females were to be seen and not heard. Suu Kyi’s speech comes at a time when China is stepping out of the shadows and recognising women as their own entities when it once saw them as 2nd class. Its reception today would not have altered since she spoke but there are more people supporting her cause and helping to fight for the freedom of women. There is global understanding that throughout history we are eternally urged to fight for equality and justice.While injustice was inflicted upon social groups, Aung San Suu Kyi and Emma Goldman stood up and managed to defy old-fashioned social and political beliefs of their time to be recognised in our contemporary society. When delivering their speeches they gained the attention and support of a crowd through their stage presence, and use of rhetoric and language devices.
In order to be renowned they needed to give their audience a purpose and through earnest ideas of freedom, justice and democratic rights their reception has not altered from when they were delivered to now as we are continually fighting for such causes.