Aung San Suu Kyi secretly recorded in Burma, delivering the first of this year’s BBC Reith Lectures. She speaks movingly of the price she and fellow activists have paid while traveling what she calls the “hard road to freedom” — and of her heartfelt belief in the justice of their cause, which sustained her during nearly 15 years in jail or under house arrest.
"Human contact is one of the most basic needs that those who decide to go into, and to persevere in, the business of dissent have to be prepared to live without.
In fact living without is a huge part of the existence of dissidents. What kind of people deliberately choose to walk the path of deprivation? Max Weber identifies three qualities of decisive importance for politicians as passion, a sense of responsibility, and a sense of proportion.
The first — passion — he interprets as the passionate dedication to a cause. Such a passion is of crucial importance for those who engage in the most dangerous kind of politics: the politics of dissent. Such a passion has to be at the core of each and every person who makes the decision, declared or undeclared, to live in a world apart from the rest of their fellow citizens; a precarious world with its own unwritten rules and regulations, the world of dissidence.
Whenever I was asked at the end of each stretch of house arrest how it felt to be free, I would answer that I felt no different because my mind had always been free. I have spoken out often of the inner freedom that comes out from following a course in harmony with one’s conscience.”
Her existence is the best resistance. Stand with her today.
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