The Wall Street Journal
က်မတို႔ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံမွာ အလြန္ေကာင္းတဲ့ဥပေဒေတြ ရွိပါတယ္။ တခ်ိဳ႕ဟာဆိုရင္ ကိုလိုနီလက္ထက္ကတည္းကေန သံုးစြဲေနခဲ့တာပါ။ တကယ္လို႔ က်မတို႔ဟာ အဲလိုဥပေဒေတြ အတိုင္းသာ ျပဳမူဆက္ဆံတာ ခံၾကရမယ္ဆိုရင္ က်မတို႔ အေကာင္းဆံုး ျဖစ္ေနပါမယ္။ လက္ရွိအာဏာလက္ကိုင္ရွိေနသူေတြဟာ ဒီတိုင္းျပည္မွာ ဘယ္လိုမ်ိဳးဥပေဒေတြ ရွိေနတယ္ဆိုတဲ့ ပညာသုတ နည္းနည္းသာရွိေနၾကတယ္။ ခဏျပီးခဏ က်မတို႔ကေန ဥပေဒကဒီလိုရွိလို႔ ဒီလိုလုပ္မရဘူးလို႔ ေထာက္ျပရင္ သူတို႔ဟာ မ်က္လံုးေတြျပဴျပီး၊ စာအုပ္ၾကီးေတြကို ျပန္လွန္ေလွာေလ့ရွိၾကတယ္။
ဒါေပမဲ့ လူထုကေန ေမးခြန္းထုတ္ေလ့ သိပ္မရွိပါ။ ဘာလို႔လဲဆိုေတာ့ အုပ္ခ်ဳပ္သူအာဏာရွိသူေတြက သူတို႔ၾကိဳက္သလို လုပ္ႏိုင္ေနၾကလို႔ပါဘဲ။ က်မတို႔ကေန လူေတြကို ေမးခြန္းထုတ္ၾကဘို႔ရာ ပညာေပးေနရပါတယ္။ သူတို႔ကို ဘယ္လိုပဲ ညံ့ညံ့ဖ်င္းဖ်င္း ဆက္ဆံတာခံေနရပါေစ လုပ္တဲ့သူေတြမွာ အဲလိုအခြင့္အာဏာ တကယ္မရွိဘူးဆိုတာကိုလည္း ေျပာရပါတယ္။ က်မတို႔ ႏိုင္ငံေရးအက်ဥ္းသား မိသားစုေတြအတြက္ လက္ကမ္းစာရြက္တခုကို ထုတ္ေဝပါတယ္။ သူတို႔မွာ ဘယ္လိုအခြင့္အေရးေတြရွိတယ္၊ အက်ဥ္းသားေတြ အခြင့္အေရးေတြဆိုတာက ဘာေတြလဲ။ ျပီးေတာ့ အဲလိုမ်ိဳး အခြင့္အေရးေတြကို ေတာင္းဆိုဘိုကို႔ပါ အားေပးပါတယ္။
The new book, “Justice: Faces of the Human Rights Revolution” by Mariana Cook, is a monograph filled with portraits of human-rights leaders around the world and their first-person accounts. The book, published this week, features notables such as former President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Tibetan activist and political prisoner Takna Jigme Sangpo.
The following is a look inside the book — the first-person account written by Burmese activist Aung San Suu Kyi, and her portrait by photographer Cook.
I don’t think you can say that a certain kind of person is particularly attracted to human rights. It attracts all kinds of people for very many different reasons. Some become involved in the struggle because of a personal experience; others are drawn to it because of the way they have been brought up, the values that they were taught as children. I belong more to the second category than to the first category, although what I saw in Burma during the 1988 uprising convinced me that we all had to work for human rights.
In 1990, we had the first democratic elections in Burma in about 26 years. I did not run, because I was under house arrest by then. Many of the leaders of the National League for Democracy were placed under house arrest before the elections—probably because it was felt that without our leadership the party could not fare well. But, in fact, we won a landslide victory. This was a bit of a shock to the military junta, who decided that they would ignore the results of the elections.
I was in a much easier position than many of my colleagues because, from the very beginning, I had the protection of my father’s name. My father was the founder of the Burmese army, so they were quite restrained in how they treated me. The same restraint was not practiced with regard to many of my colleagues, who were arrested, brutally interrogated, and imprisoned for years under terribly bleak circumstances.
I have often wondered why people treat others in such an autocratic way. Now we know, of course, what it is like to be deprived of one’s basic rights, and we would not subject anybody to that kind of experience. Putting it in a very general way, it is a mixture of greed and fear that pushes people to ill-treat others. They want to preserve their own security and enjoy the privileges to which their position entitles them. And also ignorance, because there are some people who really believe that it is all right to treat those who are “different” from them in any way they like. There must be some who are by nature sadistic, but I do not think that they are in the majority.
We have very good laws in Burma, some of which were carried over from the colonial period, and if we were treated in accordance with those laws, we would be perfectly all right. Those now in power have very little knowledge of what laws actually do exist in this country. We have noticed again and again that if we point out that there is a law saying that you cannot do this, they will open their eyes very wide and run back to their books and look it up. But often people do not question them because the ruling powers can do whatever they want to. We teach people that they must ask questions and not take it for granted that whoever is treating them poorly has a right to do so. We have published a pamphlet for the families of political prisoners to instruct them on what rights they have and what rights the prisoners have, and to encourage them to demand these rights.
You cannot say that these rights are never respected. If we stand firm and united, and present the letter of the law, sometimes we are successful in arguing the case of the rights of political prisoners. Perhaps we have won two or three cases in court out of the thousands of cases pleaded by our Legal Aid Committee. Nonetheless, I think our people appreciate the fact that they have somebody to stand up for them in court, to make it known that they are being treated unjustly and against all legal norms.
Our education system is in shambles. Young people in Burma may not know what a democracy is, but they certainly know that they do not want what they are getting now: they want to be well educated. That is a beginning. The next step is to make them understand that if they want things to be better, they have to do something about making things better. It is difficult to make them understand that they can do something. It is not just that they have to do something; they can do something. They are capable of doing something. They must try to bring about the changes that they want, instead of leaving it to the National League for Democracy, or to me, or to other political parties.
AUNG SAN SUU KYI (b. 1945) is a Burmese opposition politician, the former General Secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD), and the daughter of Aung San—the father of modern-day Burma. The military junta first placed her under house arrest following popular democratic protests in 1989. Subsequently, she has been detained or under house arrest on at least six separate occasions, totaling 15 years. In 1991 she received the Nobel Peace Prize honoring her as “one of the most extraordinary examples of civil courage in Asia in recent decades.” She was released once again from house arrest in November 2010 and was elected to a seat in Parliament in spring 2012. Burma’s leaders continue to ignore the fact that she and her political party, the NLD, won the majority of votes in a 1990 national election.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Aung San Suu Kyi on Her Human-Rights Journey
The Wall Street Journal