A Message to the Students Taking Part in the Al Neuharth
Free Spirit Program
by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
I would like to speak directly to the high school students taking
part in the
Al Neuharth Free Spirit Program and to people all over
How fortunate that you are honored for your free spirit and not
given a place in a prison cell. This is how it is in Burma. You
can not express a free spirit without endangering your liberty.
And this is something of which I would like you young people to
be aware -- that it is a priviledge to be able to excercise a free
spirit. This is not so for the young people of Burma.
This does not mean that
their spirit is not free, it is certainly free, but they're not
about to take wing. And you who have been allowed to take wing,
I would like you to go to our young people because they are the
hope of our country.
And while Burma now may seem a small and perhaps relatively unimportant
country on the international map, I believe strongly in the spirit
of our young people. I am absolutely confident that the day will
come when they too will be able to spread their wings, but I would
like that day to come soon. So I would like to count on you, you young
people who are able to stretch your wings and to fly and to soar, to
help our young people to do the same thing.
Because the spirit of youth is the same all over the world. This is
something I have found to my great joy, this is the hope for our
country that the spirit of our young people has not been crushed
by an authoritarian regime. And I would like people all over the
world to understand this -- that our spirit has not been crushed,
not through lack of trying by the authoriatarian regimes that
have ruled Burma for decades, but because the human spirit reasserts
itself under all circumstances. And this is why there is always
hope for our world.
But I don't believe in hope without work. You have no right to hope
unless you struggle. You have no right to hope unless you work for
the things for which you hope. And this is what I always try to tell our
young people -- you must hope, but you must work. The two must go
together. The struggle must be your hope and your hope must be the
struggle. These two go together. Just as freedom and security
go together, hope and struggle must go together.
So you who are lucky, I would like you always to keep in mind those
young people who are not so fortunate, but who will one day be able
to contribute a great deal to the free spirits of the world because
they have known what it is like to be deprived of the right
to exercise their freedom.
And I hope that the time will come when the young people of Burma
will be able to welcome you to a Burma that is at liberty to exercise
our right to take part in the freedom of the world.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy, video
taped this message which was shown at the
Freedom Forum Dinner held on April 24, 2003 in Washington, D.C. Within a month of the taping, on May 30 2003,
she was again arrested by the military government and imprisoned without