"Aung San Suu Kyi receives a standing ovation after her Nobel peace prize acceptance speech." Image Source: Markus Schreiber/AP via The Guardian.
Aung San Suu Kyi is a Millennial time traveler. To be a time traveler is to weave in and out of different continuous realities, to survive in a house of paradoxes.
Is political repression a means to freeze time? Do nations follow different chronal paths? These are not just questions of relative imbalances in economic, political and social development. It appears that whole societies occupy different cultural points in time. In that sense, Aung San Suu Kyi was Burma's primary futurist. Now we know she was at least two decades ahead of her time.
Suu Kyi's 1991 Nobel Peace Prize drew a line in the sand. She had been living under house arrest almost continuously between 20 July 1989 and 13 November 2010 and could not collect it in person. There was a sense that Burma's clock had started again as Ms. Suu Kyi accepted her Nobel Prize in Oslo on 16 June 2012. Like other prisoners, time had partly stopped for her. A symbol of democracy, caught between worlds, her personal style and image have never changed; she has waited in stasis for her country to catch up with her:
Yet with her freedom regained, she is a relic of suppressions past. She is only now encountering the full brunt of the technological changes which the world has undergone. It is something she mentions constantly in interviews: the switches, the gadgets, the screens. She is touring the UK and Europe for the first time in 24 years. She insists that the critical time is now, a point when everything thwarted in Burma's past must be mobilized for the future. How does a futurist survive when the world finally catches up with her, and threatens to leave her behind, in exactly the same moment?"Often during my days of house arrest, it felt as though I were no longer a part of the real world. There was the house which was my world. There was the world of others who also were not free but who were together in prison as a community and there was the world of the free. Each one was a different planet pursuing its own separate course in an indifferent universe. What the Nobel Peace Prize did was to draw me once again into the world of other human beings, outside the isolated area in which I lived, to restore a sense of reality to me."
Image Source: AFP/Getty via The Telegraph.