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Aung San Suu Kyi may speak on 'Freedom from Fear' in Oslo & Geneva
At last, she has received her first passport in 24 years of her confined life. The long-time..

THE 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner and Myanmar Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was at last given her passport for the first time and allowed to deliver her first speech outside the country since at least 1988. She wil deliver a lecture before a UN labour conference in Geneva on June 14, the head of the UN labour office.

The speech to the annual conference of the Geneva-based UN’s International Labour Organisation will be  the greatest event of her first trip abroad since 1988. Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest for 15 of the 22 years of the military rule. The ILO has long been a loud critic of forced labour in Myanmar. She could not attend the ceremony in Oslo, Norway, where she was awarded the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize. She plans to visit Norway where she will deliver her acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize nearly 21 years after winning it.

Her eldest son Alexander Aris, had accepted the Peace Prize on her behalf during the 1991 ceremony. Now the event will come full circle after her speech being delivered for the acceptance of the prize. She will also meet Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg during her visit. Suu Kyi is also expected to visit Britain where she got her degree in philosophy. She also plans to give an speech to both houses of parliament in Britain, where she lived for years with her husband, who is now deceased.Her European journey follows months of dramatic change in Burma, including a historic election in April that won her a seat in a parliament that replaces nearly five decades of oppressive military rule.

Last week, US President Barack Obama nominated Derek Mitchell as America's first ambassador to Myanmar in 22 years. He also announced that Washington will ease its bans on the "exportation of financial services and new investment" in the country. The announcement by the Obama administration is being viewed as a reward for the recent democratic reforms in Myanmar. All these might have influenced the Myanmar Military authority to give some freedom to the great democratic leader of the country.

Suu Kyi’s speech is expected to focus on freedom from fear. Suu Kyi used to believe that it is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it. Most Burmese are familiar with the four a-gati, the four kinds of corruption. Chanda-gati, corruption induced by desire, is deviation from the right path in pursuit of bribes or for the sake of those one loves. Dosa-gati is taking the wrong path to spite those against whom one bears ill will, and moga-gati is aberration due to ignorance.

Perhaps the worst of the four is bhaya-gati, for not only does bhaya, fear, stifle and slowly destroy all sense of right and wrong, it so often lies at the root of the other three kinds of corruption. Just as chanda-gati, when not the result of sheer avarice, can be caused by fear of want or fear of losing the goodwill of those one loves, so fear of being surpassed, humiliated or injured in some way can provide the impetus for ill will. And it would be difficult to dispel ignorance unless there is freedom to pursue the truth unfettered by fear. With so close a relationship between fear and corruption it is little wonder that in any society where fear is rife corruption in all forms becomes deeply entrenched.

For the first time, Suy Kyi will be able to tell about the need for freedom from fear: “Where the mind is without fear and the head held high”. Those who decided to work for democracy in Burma made the  choice in the conviction that the danger of standing up for basic human rights in a repressive society was preferable to the safety of a quiescent life in servitude. These views of Suu Kyi might be echoed loudly in the speech to be delivered in Oslo and Geneva.

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