Aung San Suu Kyi and Sadat Anwar

In your view, how have rhetorical techniques been used to explore the importance of courage and perseverance in two of the speeches set for study? Anwar Sadat and Aung San Suu Kyi, in their respective speeches “Statement to the Knesset” in 1977 and “Keynote Address at the Beijing World Conference on Women” in 1995 both explore the importance of courage and perseverance through the skillful use of rhetoric.

In doing so, both speakers are able to build a strong ethos and establish pathos with their audience, which allows them to not only emphasise the importance of courage and perseverance to their intended audience, but to create a text whose idea’s are relevant to future audiences and differing contexts. Sadat uses various anecdotes throughout his speech in order to emphasise the importance of courage and perseverance. In what was to be the first time an Arab leader had ever entered Israel to negotiate a peace treaty, Sadat was initially treated very suspiciously in regards to his motives.

To overcome this, Sadat makes reference to being questioned about his actions, and what he intends to do if offered an invitation to Israel and states “I will accept i immediately. I have declared that I will go to the end of the world; I will go to Israel, for I want to put before the People of Israel all the facts”. The irony Sadat uses in stating Israel is at the ‘end of the world’ when it is in fact, geographically very close to Egypt, clearly shows how different the two nations are politically and thus, emphasises the challenges associated with Sadat’s mission.

In doing so, Sadat establishes his ethos and illustrates how courageous his actions are in visiting Israel, thus showing how important it is for both parties to act sincerely and courageously. Similarly, Suu Kyi uses personal anecdotes to explore the importance of courage and perseverance. At the time of her speech (as well as now) Suu Kyi’s actions were being suppressed by the Junta. As the rightful leader of Burma, Suu Kyi was an important political figure in the eyes of her people and the international community. Suu Kyi makes reference to her struggles, stating “Last month I was released from almost 6 years of house arrest.

The regaining of my freedom has in turn imposed a duty on me to work for the freedom of other women and men in my country who have suffered far more.. than I have”. In referencing her past and then downplaying it to the troubles of her people, Suu Kyi creates an ethos of humility and strength, in addition to creating empathy within her audience. In using this anecdote, Suu Kyi emphasises how courageous she, and more importantly her people are, and how much all the people in Burma are persevering through their time of adversity and turmoil.

This effect is furthered in a modern context, knowing that she has since been placed again under house arrest and that she decided to stay in Burma despite the death of her husband in England, thus displaying Suu Kyi’s sheer courage and perseverance for the sake of her people. Another rhetorical device that is consistent through Sadat’s speech is his skillful and repeated use of religious references. At the point of delivery of his speech, Sadat faced an extremely divided audience, polarised by their fear and hatred for each other.

Thus, it was incredibly important for Sadat to unify his audience in order to attain peace and he does so by exploring the notion of courage through his use of religious references. Sadat begins his speech with “In the name of God, the Gracious and the Merciful”, establishing an immediate commonality between the Arabs and the Israelis. He repeatedly goes back to this theme of religion, later questioning his audience “Why don’t we believe in the wisdom of God conveyed to us by the Proverbs of Solomon.. ” and then “Why don’t we repeat together from the Psalms of David.. . He also asks his audience to “Be the herald to (their) sons”, linking them with their religious figures. In this way, he challenges his audience to be brave and courageous like their religious heroes, thus emphasising the importance of courage. This technique is also made strong in that Sadat was speaking in Jerusalem, a significant religious landmark for both Israeli’s and Arabs. Similarly, Suu Kyi also explores the notion of courage within her audience through her use of religious references. In the body of her speech, Suu Kyi directly quotes Buddha, stating “..

Lord Buddha, who did not want human beings to live in silence (I quote) ‘like dumb animals’.. ”. In making reference to a religious figure so highly held by her specific audience, Suu Kyi is able to build a strong connection with the people she is speaking to. This quote deals specifically with her point that women should be able to stand and speak along side men, and in using a direct quote from Buddha to support this point, she strongly challenges her audience to follow the wishes of Buddha and display courage to persevere through the adversity of inequality.

The skillful way in which Suu Kyi uses this technique runs parallel with Sadat’s in that they both use religious figures held strongly by their respective audiences, to challenge their audience to be courageous in a time of turmoil, thus emphasising the importance of courage and perseverance. Sadat uses figurative language to emphasise the importance of courage perseverance. In the body of his speech, Sadat discusses a metaphorical barrier that exists between the two nations.

He states “Yet, there remained another wall… A barrier of suspicion. A barrier of rejection. A barrier of fear and deception”. In creating such a strong image of what exists between Israel and Egypt, he emphasises how important it is that both parties act courageously to overcome these barriers and to persevere through the turmoil they are facing. He also repeatedly used the phrase “permanent peace based on justice”, in an attempt to clearly define what it is he is out to achieve.

Given the context of the situation, it is necessary that he be absolutely clear and his repeated use of this phrase makes it blatantly obvious that he is persevering for a ‘permanent peace based on justice’. In this way he displays a personal sense of courage, as he is showing how much he is willing to persevere to attain his goal. Similarly, Suu Kyi also uses figurative language to emphasise the importance of courage and perseverance. In the body of her speech, Suu Kyi describes the women of Burma as “tender as mothers nursing their newly born, brave as lionesses defending their young”.

In showing how women are multifaceted and broadly skilled, she strongly advocates for gender equality, and in comparing women to lionesses, a creature that is stereotyped as brave, strong and courageous, she makes a definite link between her people and the concept of courage, thus emphasising the importance of this quality. Earlier in her speech, Suu Kyi also uses repetition to explore courage and perseverance. She states “The people of my country want two freedoms that spell security: freedom from want and freedom from war”.

In repeating the word freedom, she emphasises the idea that she is struggling for freedom, and will continue to persevere until it is achieved. In this way, Suu Kyi also uses figurative language to explore the importance of courage and perseverance. Both Sadat and Suu Kyi skillfully manipulate their rhetoric to explore the ideas of courage and perseverance. In doing so, they build a strong ethos and create a deep pathos with their audience and thus, create texts that has meaning relevant to future times and various contexts.

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