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0 comments | Monday, November 06, 2006

All We Want Is Our Freedom
by Daw Aung San Su Kyi

Traveling across Burma, I ask people why they want democracy. Very often the answer is, "We just want to be free." They do not have to elaborate. I understand what they mean. They want to be able to live their lives without the oppressive sense that their destiny is not theirs to shape. They do not want their daily existence to be ruled by the orders and whims of those whose authority is based on might of arms.

When I ask young people what they mean by freedom, they say that they want to be able to speak their minds. They want to be able to voice their discontent with an education system that does not challenge their intellect. They want to be able to discuss, criticize, argue; to be able to gather in the thousands or even hundreds of thousands to sing, to shout, to cheer. Burma's young people want to play out the vitality of their youth in its full spectrum of hope and wonder--its uncertainties, its arrogance, its fancies, its brilliance, it rebelliousness, its harshness, its tenderness.

What do the women of Burma want? They tell me that they want to be free from the tyranny of rising prices that make a household an exhausting business. They want to be free from anxiety that their husbands might be penalized for independent thinking--or that their children might not be given a chance in life. Many -- too many --
long to be free from having to sell their bodies to support their families.

The farmers and peasants I meet want to sow and plant as they wish, to be able to market their products at will, unhampered by the coercion to sell it to the state at cruelly low prices. They struggle daily with the land. They do not want unreasonable decrees and incomprehensible authority to add to their burden.
And what about those of us in the National League of Democracy? Why are we working so hard to free our country? Is it not that we see democracy through a haze of optimism. We know that democracy is a jewel that must be polished constantly to maintain its luster. To prevent it from being damaged or stolen, democracy must be guarded and unremitting vigilance.

We are working so hard for freedom because only in a free Burma will we be able to build a nation that respects and cherishes human dignity.

As I travel through my country, people often ask me how it feels to have been imprisoned in my home --first for six years, then for 19 months. How could I stand the separation from family and friends? It is ironic, I say, that in an authoritarian state it is only the prisoner of conscience who is genuinely free. Yes, we have given up our right to a normal life. But we have stayed true to that most precious part of our humanity--our conscience.

Here is what I want most for my people: I want the security of genuine freedom and the freedom of genuine security. I would like to see the crippling fetters of fear removed, that the people of Burma may be able to hold their heads high as free human beings. I would like to see them striving in unity and joy to build a safer, happier society for us all.

I would especially like to see our younger people stride confidently into the future, their richness of spirit soaring to meet all challenges. I would like to be able to say: "This is a nation worthy of all those who loved it and lived and died for it--that we might be proud of our heritage." These are not dreams. These constitute the reality towards which we have been working for years, firm in our faith that the will of the people will ultimately triumph.
(via uscampaignforburma)

posted by သက္စံ
at 6:48 PM Permalink