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UN tribute to Robert Burns 2004-01-14

Posted by clype in Humanities, Intolerance, Scotland.

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has hailed the 'enduring resonance' of Robert Burns, as he paid tribute to Scotland's most famous bard.

Addressing an audience in New York [USA], Mr.Annan said his work continued to have an international influence more than 300 years after his death.

The Secretary General praised the poet as he delivered the inaugural Robert Burns Memorial Lecture entitled, "State of the World, Brotherhood of Man".

The celebration, which was organised by the Scottish branch of development agency British Executive Services Overseas, was attended by Deputy First Minister Jim Wallace.

In his lecture, Mr.Annan said:

'At first glance, one might think there is an ocean of distance between the hard-nosed give-and-take of international diplomacy as it is practised here in New York [USA], and the lyrical verse that emanated from rural Scotland two centuries ago.

'But look closer and I think you will see why I am here. To take just one example, Burns was born into poverty and spent his youth working on a farm. Burns's poems dignify and illuminate the struggle faced by the vast majority of the world's population today'.

On the parallels between Burns and the UN, Annan said:

'Burns has also been described as a poet of the poor, an advocate for political and social change, and an opponent of slavery, pomposity and greed — all causes very much supported by the United Nations."

He also used his speech to warn against the dangers presented by bigotry and prejudice in modern times, particularly "Islamophobia" and "Anti-Semitism". Concluding his lecture, he said:

'Let us admire the enduring resonance of the work of Robert Burns.

'And let us dream, as he did, of a true brotherhood — and sisterhood — that embraces and encompasses all humankind, and allows all people a chance to enjoy their inalienable rights, dignity and freedom'.

Ananova 2004-01-14 We 08:35

Further on this Speech:



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