Aung San Suu Kyi Finally Free

A symbol of hope in the struggle for democracy and human rights. Being her father’s daughter, she says she cannot help but get involved. Her father, Aung San fought for Burma’s independence from colonial rule, but the struggle continues for what Suu Kyi calls Burma’s second independence. Burma’s hope to be a truly democratic country and have basic human rights such as freedom of information and freedom of speech – to live a dignified life. However, this struggle is not Burma’s alone. The struggle for democracy and human rights is very real in many parts of the world. Even as I write this, the people of Egypt are fighting for their rights, fighting for democracy.

Suu Kyi stands for compassion and self-sacrifice. It is very rare today to find a leader that is willing to sacrifice personal gain, much less loss. Suu Kyi’s leadership is very much service orientated much like the servant leadership of Mahatma Gandhi whom she cites as one of her main inspirations. Her non-violent approach and her deep concern for Burma to achieve its freedom peacefully is very much rooted in Gandhian philosophy. Suu Kyi also falls to Buddhist teachings and values as many Burmese do as a guide and yardstick for responsible behaviour. In fact, many Burmese rely on Buddhist teachings and values as an educational background to back-up their moral convictions.The people of Burma strongly identify with Buddhism. Taking this into consideration, Suu Kyi has proposed the Buddhist view of leadership or kingship as a model for future leaders of Burma. According to Buddhist teachings, a leader must always stand by his or her duties to liberality, morality, self-sacrifice, integrity, kindness, austerity, non-violence, and non-opposition (to the will of the people).

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An issue that concerns me however is Suu Kyi’s stance on the minorities of Burma. Apparently, she has said that issues pertaining to minorities will be dealt with after Burma’s “independence”. This suggests that the minorities will not be treated as equal citizens of future Burma. I hope this is not true, and if it is, then I pray for a change of heart.

People say power corrupts, but Suu Kyi says in her essay ‘Freedom from Fear’ that it is indeed fear that corrupts. Burma’s military Junta’s fear of losing power makes them act in corrupt ways. Their idea of peace seems to be when all opposition is silent. The people of Burma also need to achieve freedom from fear. The people have remained fearful and silent oppressed by military rule for too long. Forced to live in such an oppressive environment isolated from the outside world, and fed with brainwash propaganda. Freedom from fear encourages us to let go of our fears and stand for what is right. According to Suu Kyi, the revolution that has to occur now is one of the spirit.

A really good book by Suu Kyi and the struggle of the Burmese people is…

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And a gripping documentary on Burma, a documentary people risked their lives to make to tell their story to the outside world…

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