Burmese Woman Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Aung Sun Suu Kyi, featured in this issue's BurmaWatch, won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize this October. The award comes with a diploma, a gold medal and a cheque for $1.13 million.

Kyi was nominated for the prize by Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel, himself one of the front runners for the 1991 prize.

"Suu Kyi's struggle is one of the most extra-ordinary examples of civil courage in East Asia in recent decades" said Francis Sejersted, head of the five-member Nobel committee.

"She has become an important symbol in the struggle against oppression," he said, praising her for heading a pro-democracy movement that favors "nonviolent means to resist a regime characterized by brutality."

Kyi has not been seen publicly for nine months. Says her husband, Harvard professor Michael Aris, "I don't know if she is alive, but I believe she is, that is my intuition."

Sem Win, present leader of the National League for Democracy Party which Kyi led to electoral victory before her imprisonment, said "It will do a lot to affect our struggle in Burma.. It will be a big morale boost to our people and it will create an awareness about what is happening inside our country."

Burmese media did not announce the award, and Burmese diplomats blasted it as interference in Burma's internal affairs.

For details about Sun Suu Kyi and her struggle in Burma, read Burma Watch in this issue.

Globe and Mail Oct. 15

Citizens Caravan Tours Yugoslavia

The Helsinki Citizens Assembly brought 400 citizens from East and West Europe together for a five-day peace caravan through Yugoslavia. The caravan met with minority leaders, union leaders, parliamentarians and other concerned persons. It culminated in a 10,000 strong rally in Sarajevo on September 29. A human chain linked the Orthodox and Catholic churches, the mosque and the synagogue, symbolizing the peoples' desire for coexistence.

The caravan opened up the sterile debate enforced by a controlled media. It nourished independent voices in each republic and internationally, in the belief that a secure peace must come from the people themselves.

By Sonia Licht in Yugofax, Oct 12

Duckworth Wins Pearson Prize

OTTAWA-Muriel Duckworth, of Halifax, has won this year's Pearson Peace Medal. The award is given every year to a peace activist by the United Nations Association, which has 22 branches and about 12,000 members.

Muriel Duckworth works with Peacefund Canada, the World Federalists, the Voice

of Women, the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, and the Canadian Council for International Cooperation, to name only part of the list. She richly deserves the honor. Congratulations!

Manipulation in Moscow

On Sept. 4, 20 Moscow City Councillors resumed an already 20-day-old hunger strike against old-style communist manipulation of municipal government.

Moscow vice-mayor Lukhov rejected the City Council's choice of Vyacheslav Kommisarov as chief of Moscow police, and insisted that the executive nominate whomever they chose. Lukhov two months later nominated Kommisarov himself, knowing that Boris Pugo, soon-to-be leader of the reactionary coup, would object. When Pugo blocked the nomination, the hunger strike began.

The strike was temporarily suspended after its leader convinced the Minister of the Interior to issue an order appointing Kommisarov, but began again when Pugo went ahead and appointed General Myrikov to the same post.

From April to August there were two chiefs of the Moscow police. Kommisarov drew a full salary for the job he was prevented from performing.

When the August coup was defeated Myrikov's compromising position forced him to resign, and Kommisarov emerged as the best candidate. With the death of Pugo and the collapse of the Union structures, there seemed to be no obstacles to Kommisarov assuming his post.

Unexpectedly, Lukhov and the mayor of Moscow, Popov, objected. Popov continued to use all his influence to secure for one of his supporters the position of Moscow police chief. He also established control over the regional KGB and the media. Sasha Kalinin, one of the hunger strikers, says the Mayor's actions constitute a "creeping coup."

Popov played a final game with the hunger strikers. He agreed to appoint Kommisarov in exchange for their ending their protest, which was rousing the emotions of Muscovites and Russian parliamentarians. A week after the agreement was struck, Popov reversed his decision.

From files of Sasha Kalinin

Peace Magazine Nov-Dec 1991

Peace Magazine Nov-Dec 1991, page 30. Some rights reserved.

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