Freedom From Fear by Aung San Suu Kyi


Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was the daughter of Burma’s National Hero Aung San who was assassinated along with his companions when his daughter was just 2 years old. Aung San Suu Kyi received her education at Oxford University and worked for the United States. She returned back to Burma in 1988 to see her ill mother.

In the same year, a spontaneous Revolt broke out against 26 years of political repression and economic decline. She created a party National League for Democracy in 1988 that won the election but was depressed and she was put under house arrest in 1989. She was awarded Nobel Prize in 1991 for her contribution towards peace.

Fear and Corruption

Freedom from fear is a speech delivered by her in which she tries to define the fear in an unusual way and encourages the people of Barma to muster their courage and enthusiasm against the fear and the government. She begins her speech as “it is not power that corrupts but fear.

The beginning of the speech is quite straightforward and compelling. According to her fear is possessed both by the one who is in power as well as by the one subjected to it. The one having power has the fear of losing it while the one subjected to power has the fear to be oppressed.

Aung San Suu Kyi she is that there exist four kinds of corruption (Gati) in Burma.

  • Chanda-gati (deviation from right path because of desire)
  • ?Dosa-gati (deviation to harm one’s foe)
  • Moga-gati (deviation due to ignorance)
  • Bhaya-gati (deviation due to fear)

According to her the worst of all is the Bhaya-Gati, i.e. the deviation from right path due to the fear. The fear could be of losing something, humiliation, injury etc. This type of corruption gives birth to the other three types of corruption. Fear and corruption are thus closely linked to each other.

Reasons for Democratic Movement

  1. Economic hardship has been one of the primary reasons that give rise to the movement for democracy in Burma.
  2. Denial of Fundamental Rights in a totalitarian regime. The businessmen also participated with the students as they were not given proper security.

Her Desire for Proper Laws in Burma

She cites the example of Broken pieces of glass. Even the smallest particle defence itself by becoming sharp from the one who tries to crush it. Similarly, one should not depend on the courage of others but should be courageous himself.

According to her, there should be a law that secures the basic rights of every citizen and punishes offenders. Without laws “the burden of upholding the principles of justice and common decency falls on ordinary people.”

In the next paragraph, she says that advancement in the modern weapons will be beneficial only when there would be a close relationship between politics and ethics or else these weapons will be used to dominate “the weak and the helpless”.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights programs that the government of every Nation should strive to promote basics and fundamental rights and the freedom to each and every individual of the state.

She is of the view that this should be a revolution of spirit rather than the one that “aims merely at changing official policies and institutions with a view to an improvement in material conditions”.

Aung San Suu Kyi pleas to the people of Barma to liberate their minds from “apathy and fear” and continue their struggle for the rule of people. Fear is the only thing that gives rise to all kinds of problems in society.

A few less and courageous Society sustains even under “most crushing state machinery”. She also sports Gandhi’s’ policy of nonviolence