Friday, May 22, 2009

Speak Out for Freedom

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

Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was recently arrested for violating the terms of her house arrest because an uninvited swimmer, who pleaded exhaustion, was allowed to stay at her house before swimming back. Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her nonviolent leadership towards democracy against a military dictatorship in Burma. Suu Kyi’s latest house arrest was set to expire later this month. Supporters say the trial provides the government an excuse to continue restricting her movement. She could face up to five years of confinement for the supposed violation and could potentially be moved from house arrest to more restrictive and brutal confines of Insein Prison without medical care, as she is already ill.

When I heard the news, I began to think about what Aung San Suu Kyi stands for – freedom, love and hope. She has inspired a peaceful call for democracy against a brutal military regime that has kept her under house arrest for 13 of the past 19 years. The Burmese regime has been known for its repression of any threat to their military control. Thousands have been jailed, denied medical care and suffered significant human rights abuses. Over a million refugees have crossed the border to escape the abuses.

It got me thinking about a number of different things…First, just my complete incomprehension of why we continue to see these inhumane actions and violence around the world. Why are people driven to violence and abuse? Fear, insecurity, power – are all things that contribute to the abuses. So how may we begin to provide opportunities around the world to balance out these injustices and alleviate fear, provide security and support for our fellow human’s basic needs.

Second, it made me think about what we can all do to make a difference and speak out, first for Aung San Suu Kyi . May we lend our voices to speak out on behalf of Suu Kyi and all those that are under abuse. Let’s overwhelm world leaders with a global call to action to stop the arrests and brutality – to do so, go to: and sign the petition calling on the UN Secretary General to act now, as it will be presented on May 26th. This petition has the potential to bring a new era to Burma much like the release of Nelson Mandela from prison in South Africa and may bring hope for democracy and the release of Suu Kyi from years of unjust detention and for over 2,100 other political prisoners.

Beyond this, I wondered how we can continue to speak out against human rights violations when they happen, so we may begin working towards a world free of the violence and abuse. How are you taking action regularly in your life? What might you do to become more aware? And when you hear of something inhumane happening around the world, what can you do to take part and support a global shift away from fear and violence and towards peace and love? How can we contribute to ensuring that we may all have the freedom and security to reach our full potential and create a world of peace and hope?

Human beings the world over need freedom and security that they may be able to realize their full potential. ~ Aung San Suu Kyi

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