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Damien Rice supports the Free Aung San Suu Kyi 60th Birthday Campaign

Story: Jack Foley

DAMIEN Rice and Lisa Hannigan are to release Unplayed Piano as a single on June 20 in support of the Free Aung San Suu Kyi 60th Birthday Campaign, a global initiative to free the Burmese Nobel Peace Prize recipient on her 60th Birthday, June 19.

Written for Suu Kyi by Rice and Hannigan following a visit by Rice to Burma in July 2004, Unplayed Piano will be released through 14th Floor Records/DRM.

All profits from the sale of the record will go to support the US Campaign for Burma and Burma Campaign UK.

In addition, in support of the single, as part of a series one-off shows across Europe to highlight the campaign, Rice has announced a solo concert at London’s Palladium on Monday, June 20.

Profits from the live dates will go to the AAPPB (Assistance Association of Political Prisoners in Burma).

For further information please go to

Commenting on the forthcoming projects, Damien Rice said: "I prefer not to interfere too much with what is going on in the world, but when someone has been thrown into a hole and they ask you to throw down a rope, I am happy to look for a rope especially for a woman of such grace."

From June 1, individuals who wish to register their support and take part in the Free Aung San Suu Kyi 60th Birthday Campaign can go to the following website.

For those interested in knowing more before June 1, then click here.

Aung San Suu Kyi is the world’s only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

The new efforts to free Suu Kyi by a number of organisations is modelled on the 'Mandela at 70' Campaign in 1988.

The actions include scores of events around the world, from the USA to Europe, South Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Since 1988, Aung San Suu Kyi (pronounced Ong Sawn Sue Chee) has led an international campaign to end over 40 years of brutal military rule in the Southeast Asian country of Burma.

After a nationwide uprising was crushed in 1988, she led her political party the National League for Democracy to an 82% victory in a national election in 1990.

The ruling dictatorship refused to recognize the results and has kept her locked up for nearly ten of the past 15 years – on June 19, Suu Kyi will have spent nine years and 238 days in detention.

In the meantime, Burma's regime has recruited up to 70,000 child soldiers (far more than any other country in the world), instituted a nationwide system of modern-day slavery, and imprisoned over 1,400 political activists.

Over 2,000,000 refugees have fled their homes in Burma - many to neighbouring Thailand, where they scratch out a living in rudimentary refugee camps.

Always a peacemaker, Suu Kyi and her movement have called on Burma’s regime to agree to negotiations aimed at a transition to democracy.

Since the regime refuses to talk, she has called on individuals, nations, and the United Nations to impose political and economic sanctions on the regime until they come to the dialogue table.

Even though hundreds of her supporters have been killed she never calls for violence.

Said Desmond Tutu, 1984 Nobel Peace Prize recipient from South Africa: "As long as she remains under arrest, none of us is truly free."


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