‘Freedom for fear’ Aung San Suu Kyi’s story

“It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.” ‘Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is a Burmese opposition politician and chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Burma. In the 1990 general election, the NLD won 59% of the national votes and 81% (392 of 485) of the seats in Parliament. She had, however, already been detained under house arrest before the elections. She remained under house arrest in Burma for almost 15 of the 21 years from 20 July 1989 until her most recent release on 13 November 2010, becoming one of the world’s most prominent political prisoners,’ after Nelson Mandela. She won the Nobel Prize in the meanwhile.

‘On 18 January 2012, Suu Kyi formally registered to contest a Pyithu Hluttaw (lower house) seat in the Kawhmu Township constituency in special parliamentary elections to be held on 1 April 2012. On 1 April 2012, the NLD announced that Suu Kyi had won the vote for a seat in Parliament. A news broadcast on state-run MRTV, reading the announcements of the Union Election Commission, confirmed her victory, as well as her party’s victory in 43 of the 45 contested seats, officially making Suu Kyi the Leader of the Opposition in the lower house. On 2 May 2012, National League for Democracy MP-elects, including Aung San Suu Kyi, took their oaths and took office.’ (Source:Wikiepdia)

Slavo Zizek defines the liberal idea of freedom exactly, even if he does not agree with it. To him it is: “freedom of choice grounded in the notion of the “psychological” subject endowed with propensities he or she strives to realize.” Suu Kyi is an example of this carried out in its positive manner. Having a clear understanding of her country and its needs, she opts for democracy and not exclusion, isolation or Mayanmar’s retrogressive political or religious drives and is self actualizing the potential of democracy in her own imperilled life, becoming also an example of gender courage meanwhile. A question may be, when and if she comes to power, how will she fare? The international lobby that now supports her will have to be bartered with. In her own country the wrong understanding of liberal freedom may obstruct her. Her real contribution is thus as a symbol, in politics, of not compromising, in the face of opposition that would make a lesser mortal flinch, besides showing forth an exemplary life of sacrifice and dignity with no hint of scandal and corruption. She says, after going through much suffering: “”We wish to learn from everybody who has achieved a transition to democracy.”

A life of struggle, a life that was spent mostly in prison, a life that could make the tyrants’ seats quake in her country, is an example of courage and grit. Indian youth ought to learn to respect freedom, learn the story of courage and finally learn to love one’s own motherland above everything from this great fearless woman.

 Aung San Suu Kyi still speaks of politics as an ethical vocation, a moral mission as it were, when there is so much of scepticism, mistrust and cynicism about politicians and politics almost everywhere in the world. She still dreams of exchanging Fear for Freedom.

To end with Rabindranath Tagore

If they answer not to thy call walk alone.

If they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall,
O thou unlucky one,
open thy mind and speak out alone.

If they turn away, and desert you when crossing the wilderness,
O thou unlucky one,
trample the thorns under thy tread,
and along the blood-lined track travel alone.

If they do not hold up the light when the night is troubled with storm,
O thou unlucky one,
with the thunder flame of pain ignite thy own heart
and let it burn alone.

 

Image source : Wikipedia

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