Today, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma, who was once a prisoner in her own country, came to the Oval Office to meet with President Obama for the first time as an elected leader. Watch her reflect on her historic visit: go.wh.gov/Xs9vmP
In the same way we want peace among ourselves, we have to learn about one another – including ourselves – and that requires courage. You have to have the courage to face what you have to do as well as what you are, with compassion. And you have to have the courage to recognize the truth in others even if you don’t agree with them. Peace is not easy to achieve. Peace requires change, and change requires a lot of hard work, and hard work requires patience, commitment and courage.
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. 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. 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 civilised man.
Aung San Suu Kyi, “Freedom from Fear - Acceptance Message for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought” (1991)
Moments like this are truly inspiring - though we still have to wait for official results thousands of supporters are already celebrating. I’ve read and listened recently about the recent progress in Burma, and hopefully this will show the junta are serious about restoring democracy.
Also, if you’re interested in the history but haven’t heard much about it a good place to start is the recent film, ‘The Lady’, starring Michelle Yeoh. The film itself was good but Yeoh’s acting of Daw Suu was incredible, one of those performances when the actor becomes the person they are portraying. Apparently some of the cast were present at the original speeches featured in the film and filming had to be stopped a few times as they broke down in tears at the memory.