What does democracy mean? How would you describe freedom? Peace? What about human rights? These are complex abstract subjects, some of which, I’m sure, people have written entire thesis papers describing in detail. (I bet scholars somewhere pontificate these ideals for years without coming to any particular conclusion.)
Did you wake up this morning? Maybe have some coffee, drive to work, go about your usual daily routine? San Suu Kyi did not do any of these things. Even though she lives in Burma, many miles away, how do I know this?
She’s in prison.
From the 64 words website “Aung San Suu Kyi is Burma’s imprisoned Democracy leader. The brutal dictatorship that rules Burma has detained her for over 13 years for campaigning for human rights and democracy. She is the world’s only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winner.”
In response to her recent arrest, and with her upcoming 64th birthday on June 19th, her supporters have asked that like-minded people from around the world go to that website and leave “64 for Suu.” They would like people to leave 64 words of support, of hope, of message for Suu.
64 might seem like a lot. It might seem like a million little tweets to those who Twitter out there. It might seem like you could say, “go!” in a lot less than that, but, for me, 64 words of support is going to be quite difficult.
You see, I am going to have a hard time picking the *exact* 64 words. The right words. The strong words. The most meaningful poignant words of support I could possibly write. Yes, 64 words is going to be tough for me. I consider it a challenge. I mean, it’s the least I can do, right? But, I want my words to mean something, to really mean something. This is world peace, hope, human rights we’re talking about here, not Twitter or some blog post. These have to be words that really count.
Now, I do have some ideas. I could remind her that, though imprisoned, she’s not alone. She sits there with many great people, people like Martin Luther King Jr., who once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly” or even Thoreau who said, “Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.” Then there’s one of my favorite quotes, from Margaret Mead, “”Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
But, somehow, the quotations seem a bit empty at this point. They aren’t doing it for me. I mean, if you have only 64 words, don’t you want them all to be your own? Shouldn’t I be able to come up with 64 of my own words?
So, now I’m up for this challenge. I’m going to challenge myself to leave my 64 words, but to make them count. Each and every one of them. I want 64 perfect words, 64 right words, 64 just words.
It’s the least I can do.
Could you describe freedom in 64 words or less? What about justice? Democracy? Human rights? I don’t know if you can, but I do know this. The world would be a much better place if we all tried.
Until next time…
It is ridiculous that world leaders seem to have turned their backs on this situation….how many years now? At least six, I think…perhaps more by now.
My 64 words: Stop torturing, and killing. Stop the hurt at every level. And is it too much to ask that you not blow up innocent children? Talk to the people next door. Do what your heart says is right, and not what is convenient. Hug one person today. Do the best you can, given that all effort might fail. It is a big nasty world. Stay close to home. (Sorry, I may have spilled over a few words)
Mythopolis, those are wonderful “64 words.” I hope I can come up with something equally thought provoking and suitable. I had better get a move on it too, as time is running out on me.
“Tolerate harmless deviance,” Bruno Bettelheim. “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Emerson.