Saturday, June 19, 2010

Stand with Aung San Suu Kyi and the People of Burma

Wishing Aung San Suu Kyi a Happy 65th Birthday and hoping that her next one will be in a free Burma. Not like the past 15 years serving an unjust prison sentence. Also extending this wish to the freeing of more than 2,100 Burmese political prisoners and prisoners of conscience. If you want wishes to come true, then you need to back them up with action (no matter how small). Take action here for her to demand her immediate and unconditional freedom and for ten other prisoners of conscience highlighted by Amnesty International.



Even small but concrete steps sustained over time have been shown to work. Please stand in solidarity with Aung San Suu Kyi and the nonviolent struggle for a free Burma.

Aung San Suu Kyi is a disciple of Mohandas Gandhi , an advocate and practitioner of nonviolent civic resistance, and has been described as the voice of her people. Unlike Gandhi she has been recognized by the international community both with the Sakharov Prize in 1990 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. Her biography is available online, but an excerpt of her views below should be useful there is much she can teach the world and especially pro-democracy activists. In the video she offers a concrete case for the nonviolent approach and why it is the best.



On nonviolence


Ours is a nonviolent movement that depends on faith in the human predilection for fair play and compassion. Some would insist that man is primarily an economic animal interested only in his material well-being. This is too narrow a view of a species which has produced numberless brave men and women who are prepared to undergo relentless persecution to uphold deeply held beliefs and principles. It is my pride and inspiration that such men and women exist in my country today.

Aung San Suu Kyi, Please Use Your Liberty to Promote Ours (1997)


On a just peace


Where there is no justice there can be no secure peace. ...That just laws which uphold human rights are the necessary foundations of peace and security would be denied only by closed minds which interpret peace as the silence of all opposition and security as the assurance of their own power.

Aung San Suu Kyi, In Quest of Democracy



Relationship between fear, power and corruption


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.

Aung San Suu Kyi, Freedom from Fear (Acceptance message for the 1990 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, July 1991)


It would be difficult to dispel ignorance unless there is freedom to pursue the truth unfettered by fear. With so close a relationship between fear and corruption it is little wonder that in any society where fear is rife corruption in all forms becomes deeply entrenched.

Aung San Suu Kyi, Freedom from Fear (Acceptance message for the 1990 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, July 1991)


Within a system which denies the existence of basic human rights, fear tends to be the order of the day. Fear of imprisonment, fear of torture, fear of death, fear of losing friends, family, property or means of livelihood, fear of poverty, fear of isolation, fear of failure.

Aung San Suu Kyi, Freedom from Fear (Acceptance message for the 1990 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, July 1991)


A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve man's self-respect and inherent human dignity.

Aung San Suu Kyi, Freedom from Fear (Acceptance message for the 1990 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, July 1991)


It is not easy for a people conditioned by fear under the iron rule of the principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man.

Aung San Suu Kyi, Freedom from Fear (Acceptance message for the 1990 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, July 1991)


On Investments and Sanctions


Investment that only goes to enrich an already wealthy elite bent on monopolizing both economic and political power cannot contribute toward égalité and justice — the foundation stones for a sound democracy. I would therefore like to call upon those who have an interest in expanding their capacity for promoting intellectual freedom and humanitarian ideals to take a principled stand against companies that are doing business with the Burmese military regime. Please use your liberty to promote ours.

Aung San Suu Kyi, Please Use Your Liberty to Promote Ours (1997)




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