Imperial War Museum Build The Truce
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Aung San Suu Kyi delivering her Nobel Lecture at the Oslo City Hall, 16 June 2012.

Aung San Suu Kyi delivering her Nobel Lecture at the Oslo City Hall, 16 June 2012. Copyright © Nobel Media AB 2012 Produced by NRK

The Nobel Prize for Peace was awarded to Aung San Suu Kyi in 1991. 21 years later she was able to accept the award in person and delivered her acceptance speech in Oslo last weekend.
I watched this on Saturday. After working on the Build the Truce project for nearly 3 years I have met with, and heard the stories of, a lot of people with different experiences of conflict. Some of these experiences were of violent, armed conflict and war. Others were related to  undeclared, underlying conflict – situations of apparent ‘peace’ where people still lived with fear, threat and injustice every day. So this is the part of Aung San Suu Kyi’s speech that stood out for me personally:

‘War is not the only arena where peace is done to death. Wherever suffering is ignored, there will be the seeds of conflict, for suffering degrades and embitters and enrages.’

If you haven’t already, you can watch or read the speech here.

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Image of Lloyd George's Versailles Doodle

These doodles were done by Lloyd George at a meeting of the Inter-Allied Council to discuss the terms of the Armistice to be imposed on Germany in November 1918. Difficult and complicated business, reflected in this sketch from blotting paper on the negotiation table. A small figure is trapped in an endless red cage of intersecting lines – does this  suggest the complicated carve-up of postwar Europe, and the helpless individuals within it? The lines are repeated over and over again, like an unresolved conflict that continues to replay itself  – as it would in 1939, in a chain of events  rooted in the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.

IWM explores the cycle of conflict and war, and how it shapes our lives. This includes our efforts to address and respond to the causes and consequences of war, and to break conflict cycles. This is why the Museum’s collections contain evidence of peacekeepers, peace makers and peace builders from 1918 to the present day.

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