When I saw the movie “The Lady”, it made me realize so many things about Politics, Military Strategy, Nationalism, Culture and Family. It is a story of struggle and victory, pain and ecstasy, passion and apathy, hope and death and love and contempt. The movie describes the kind of life that Aung San Suu Kyi and her people had during the shaky events in their history. But what awed me in the movie is the kind of character that Aung San Suu Kyi possesses. Despite being under house arrest for more than 15 years, despite not being with her dying husband, despite experiencing terror and misery in the hands of the Burmese military – she still managed to stand strong, keep peace and lead her people towards the fulfillment of what they desired for their country. Her attitude is big and strong and the cause that she is fighting for echoed throughout the world.
Her story reminded me of an article I encountered during my Track A Training with World Youth Alliance. The experience of Viktor E. Frankl is similar to Aung San Suu Kyi. He was under military oversight and was bound by the walls of the concentration camp. But then, he was able to transcend from being chained to experience a kind of attitude that is both transforming and liberating.
Both characters were able to pull from within themselves the strength to find reasons to live no matter how oppressive the circumstances are. They were able to attain a state of mind where it is automatic to turn bad experiences to positive opportunities and to show compassion and solidarity more than anything else.
Suu and Frankl are testimonies of freedom despite the shackles. They were examples of how man can choose his response to a seemingly restraining condition, how he can decide to change himself when he can no longer change the situation, how he can assume responsibility over himself and how he can manage to become the very solution to the problem that confronts him. Their stories teach us that no amount of prison or crippling situations can take away our freedom for we can always find a way, we can always choose and we can always decide. That is freedom.
As a student of development, I was able to see how important it is to draw inspiration from people like Aung San Suu Kyi and Viktor E. Frankl. They were able to provide us with hope that we can always reach the goal provided that we carry the values of responsibility, perseverance, courage, hope and truth.
We are all confronted by our own prisons and shackles but just like Suu and Frankl, we can find freedom from it. It is the recognition that there is something within where we can pull the strength to stand heads up. Freedom is the expression of that power within, it is the manifestation of the truth that is inside us.
By, Ms. Lovely Nazareno, Phillipine Committee Member.