Freedom from Fear, By Aung San Suu Kyi

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The Independent Culture

This collection of Aung San Suu Kyi's writings, edited by her late husband Michael Aris, begins with an essay on her father, a soldier and politician who fought for Burmese independence, first against the British, then against the Japanese, then against the British again; he was assassinated by a rival politician in 1947, just before Burmese independence was formally achieved. His death was a tragedy for his country, but his ideals live on in his daughter, now happily released from her long house arrest.

Aung San Suu Kyi's position is that of a classic democratic liberal: governments must be chosen by the people and once in power must permit opposition. The basic principle of allowing people to voice views you disapprove of is alien to authoritarian regimes, but not, she argues in the essay "In Quest of Democracy", alien in principle to Burma, or any other nation. Other pieces include an essay on politics and Burmese literature, and her Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.

There's nothing here that would seem controversial to a citizen of a Western democracy, but it's an eloquent reminder of the freedoms we take for granted.