Freedom From Fear

Freedom from Fear was published in 1991 awarded for Nobel Peace Prize. It is the
collection of Aung San Suu Kyi’s speeches and essays regarding to her father who played an essential role in fighting for Burma’s independence, her political figure, history, culture and politics in Burma. All those collections were organized and published by Aung San Suu Kyi’s husband, Michael Aris. This book is split into three sections which are “The Inheritance”, “The Struggle” and “Appreciations” and each sections are divided into other chapters.

The book initiates by showing the dignity and the nationalism that Aung San Suu Kyi’s
father had. As Aung San was born under the colony, he felt the responsibility of freeing his own country from the colony. His flexibility over political issues and his heroic action played an important role over fighting for Burma’s independence. However, he didn’t make it. He was assassinated in 1947 one year before Burma got independence from British on 4th January 1947. Once he was murdered, U Nu, one of the Executive Council, governed the country. However, his rule lasted only around a decade because later on he was overthrown by the military force led by General Ne Win. People in Burma lived unsatisfactory because their freedom and right were deprived during General Ne Win’s regime. The media, business and everything were controlled by the government. The protests always occurred in Burma. Aside from that, for Aung San’s family, after he was assassinated, his family went to live in India because his wife was appointed as an ambassador there. His children got to know about his sacrifice for Burma through his wife and the newspaper. For his daughter, Aung San Suu Kyi, she was not really interested in politics. However, when she came back from Lon Don to Yangoon to look after her ill mother in 1988, she began to feel the responsibility that she had to make this country become a democratic country. She said “I could not as my father’s daughter remain indifferent to all that was goingon.” (193) She formed a party called National League for Democracy in 1988. Her party got a lot of support from people in Burma because of her dignity, wisdom and especially because she is a daughter of Aung San, Burma’s hero. Due to her action of opposing the government and fighting for democracy, she was placed under house arrest in 1989. Though she was placed under the
house arrest, but her popularity made her party won the election in 1990. Unfortunately
government denied the result and the country was still under the totalitarian dictatorship.
Notably, under house arrest, she wrote many books including Freedom from fear and this book made her win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

The themes that the author hopes to convey in this book are indeed about democracy and
human right. People in Burma were craving about those two things because even after getting independence from British, Burma was still trapped under the dictatorship. However, Aung San’s daughter, Aung San Suu Kyi did not lose her courage. She even gave up her family for the sake of Burma’s democracy. She thought that it’s time for her to take action. She also believes that each individual’s actions play an important role to fight for democracy and democracy can be brought up if the people are consolidated and well-discipline. The main theme in the book is that people have the right to oppose to the government and the role of the government is to fulfill the needs of the citizen. Therefore, she and the people in Burma unified together and fight non-violently against that dictatorship.

The book teaches us a lot of lessons regarding to political issues that have been occurred
in Burma. In political world, there are those who are powerful and get the chance to control others; whereas, there are those who are lack of power and got control by others. In Burma, during the period where it was under British colony, citizen in Burma kept thinking about how to get their independence and their freedom back from British. Interestingly, for people like Aung San, he was not only thinking about it, but he put what he thought into practicality. Even though he was just a university student, his passion and intrepidity in getting independence for Burmese made him severely involve in politics. His nationalism and flexibility in making political relationships with the others like Japan and other organizations were the principle that led him successfully in fight for independence. Another example of people struggling in Burma is his daughter, Aung San Suu Kyi. Once Aung San Suu Kyi went back to Yangoon to see her ill mother, she felt the responsibility to demand for Burma’s democracy. She said “I could not as my father’s daughter remain indifferent to all that was going on.” (193) She sacrificed herself,
her freedom and her family just in order to make Burma become a democratic land. She faced humiliation and was placed under house arrested because she proclaimed about human right and freedom. She was given two options either to leave Burma and never come back or to stay under house arrest. Due to her dignity, wisdom and nationalism, she decided to live under house arrest. She believes that there’s nothing stronger that people desire’s for freedom. She was known as her non-violent champagne.

After reading this book, we perhaps have the sense that we’ve already learned some
political issues that have been discussed in this book such as the absolute power of the military or military dictatorship and democracy. For absolute power of the military, the government has the power to do whatever they want. They controlled everything and they even have the power over people’s right. Within the control of General Ne Win, Burma was a totalitarian country where people’s freedom was limited and the government was the one who could do everything. Because of that unjust govern, people started to protest, but the government abused their right; therefore, some of them were humiliated while some of them were killed. As for democracy, it is the believe that people are equal and they have their own freedom. The role of the government is to protect the people and to fulfill what the people need. Notably, Aung San Suu Kyi, the daughter of Aung San believes in this ideology. She believes that each individual’s action are really crucial to change the whole government and each individual should participate in the politics. However, she was put under the house arrest even though her action against the government was a non-violent act and Burma were still under the dictatorship.

Freedom from Free portrays several politics including colonialism, dictatorship, and democracy. The first chapter of the book basically pinpoints some information about colonialism in Burma. Having the foreigner control their sovereignty, people in Burma did not satisfy with British colony at all. All of them always protested against the colony. The students, citizen and even religious people like monk also participated in the protest. The group of people led by Aung San and his friends gathered enough strength and force to break through the colony and brought independence to Burma. Right after getting independence, Burma became a democratic country only about a decade before the government was overthrown by the military led by General Ne Win. Under Ne Win regime, people’s rights were deprived. Every aspect of the society such as business, media and everything were governed by the government. Those who were dissatisfied with the regime, and fought against it would be suppressed brutally and violently; some even got
killed. However, nothing is stronger than people willingness to fight against everything that they think is unjust. Though a number of people in Burma were killed, the ongoing protest still occurred in Burma for this country to become a democratic country. People in Burma were craving for their freedom. For them what they want is the basic human right that can guarantee a tranquil, dignified existence free from want and fear (173). All in all what Burmese want is a democratic country where people are free and equal.

In the process of demanding independence and freedom for Burma Aung San and his
daughter got some opportunities, but still faced some constraint as well. Aung San was born in Natmauk, a small town in the central Burma. He had the magnificent desire to free his country from foreign control. Even though he was just a university student, he was so fortunate that he could get the support and help from his friends as well as other people. His leadership and his intrepidity of express his ideas led him involve in politics and he became president of the Rangoon University Student Union as well as the All-Burma Students Union. His cleverness and flexibility over political issues helped Burma gain independent from British in 1948. For the people of Burma, Aung San was the man who had come in their hour of need to restore their national pride and honor (37). As for Aung San Suu Kyi, she has faced a lot of constraints. Once she consolidated her party and traveled across the country to promote about democracy and human right, she was placed under house arrest. Nonetheless, her father influence and her nationalism made her NLD party won 82% of the election, but unfortunately the government neglected the result; hence, she was still under the house arrest up until 1995. She was given a chance to leave Burma and never come back. This was a great opportunity for her since she could get her freedom back as well as could live happily with her family, yet she was chosen to live under the house arrest because she wanted to stay near her people.

Freedom from fear illustrates clearly that each individual plays an essential role to change
the politics process. Nothing is stronger than the merging of every people fighting for their whole interest. Each individual has the opportunity to express what they want and the role of the government is to fulfill the need of the citizens. Once the government neglects the citizens and once they deprive the citizen’s right, we as the whole has to stand together and demand back from what we’ve lost. However, we do not need to use our force to fight for our freedom and right; instead we should use non-violent ways in order to solve this problem peacefully and magnificently. All in all, each individual has to participate on the issues regarding to politics because all of us has the power to can change the process of politics and all of us are the one who control the destination of our country. We have to be aware that government doesn’t have the right to abuse our freedom and they are just a group of people that we form to fulfill our needs.

I highly recommend this book to both political and non-political learners because this
book shows that we as the whole citizen can change the destiny of our country. This book
demonstrates how important the independence is as well as how crucial our freedom is. It also elaborates about what we should do to get those two crucial things. Moreover, it also encourages people to participate in political issues not only old generation, but the young generation. In addition, this book also encourages people to try to solve problems by using non-violent ways and it also depicts that people should unify together.

In conclusion, Freedom from fear is a great book which illustrates some political patterns
such as colonialism, dictatorship and democracy. It makes us understand more about human right and makes us realize that we are the one who can change the state and make it become better. The unifying of the people are really important and each citizen can oppose to the government if their government doesn’t serve the whole interest and only exercise their power by abuse on the citizens’ right and freedom.


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