I recently came across an article on Aung San Suu Kyi. I found it very very inspiring. I have picked up various bits from the aritcle and posted it here. The entire article can be found on The Time magazine website, the URL is at the bottom of my post.
Photo courtesy: The Telegraph.co.uk
Aung San Suu Kyi, the 65-year-old Burmese Nobel Peace Prize laureate who was released from house arrest on Nov. 13, was not in the taxi with my two colleagues and me. But she is always carried in the hearts — and her image in the pockets, lockets and secret hiding places — of millions of Burmese. Among the most oppressed and impoverished people on the planet, they draw sustenance from this graceful woman who, armed only with the principle of nonviolent resistance, dares to stand up to the generals who have controlled Burma for nearly five decades. For 15 of the past 21 years, the military regime kept her locked up.
“What we are calling for is revolutionary change through peaceful means,”
“I wish I could have tea with them every Saturday, a friendly tea,” Suu Kyi says of the generals, who refused to allow her dying husband one last visit to Burma in 1999. And if they turn down a nice cup of tea? “We could always try coffee,” she says wryly.
Today, despite Suu Kyi’s release and the influx of foreign investment that has brought the occasional Hummer and day spa to Rangoon, Burma is still a country preserved in amber. Tropical totalitarianism is deceptive.
Roughly 40% of the national budget is spent on the army, while just around 1% each is reserved for health and education
“I’m not afraid to consider change.”
“Everything goes on the Internet. Did you know that?” The equalizing power of the digital revolution ties in nicely with the philosophy that has inspired Suu Kyi, that of Czech dissident and fellow Peace Prize laureate Vaclav Havel, who wrote of “the power of the powerless.”
“My very top priority is for people to understand that they have the power to change things themselves,” she says. “Then we can do it together. Then we’ll be home and dry.”
“Our people are in and out of prison all the time,” she says. “All I have to say is, ‘Is so-and-so in or out?’ and they know exactly what I mean.”
“I want to do as much as I can while I’m free,”
Still, for all her years of imprisonment and whatever travails may come, Suu Kyi considers herself lucky. It’s not because of the people’s adoration of her but because of their respect — a value she believes stems from a generosity of spirit. “In my life, I have been showered with kindness,” she says. “More than love, I value kindness. Love comes and goes, but kindness remains.” When her son Kim was in Rangoon to see her for the first time in a decade, his kindness came in the form of a gift, a puppy to keep her company. “He’s my guard dog,” she jokes, even though the tiny mutt hasn’t shown much bark or bite. “He has an active tail and lets me know when someone is coming. That should be enough, don’t you think? A little wag of the tail?”