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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Freedom at what cost?

July 12, 2010

Radha Radhakrishnan
July 8, 2010

Freedom. That aspect of life which many people
living in democratic nations take for granted.
Freedom for many of us is second to breathing. We
don’t realize what we are missing till we are in
some form of captivity or till our freedom to do
what we want to do is curtailed.

Imagine being ousted from your own country, not
being able to enter it even once for more than
four decades -- Imagine living in your own
country in house arrest for over 14 years at
different points in time between 1998 and till date.

This is what Nobel Laureates Dalai Lama and Aung
San Suu Kyi have endured in their life. One is
fighting for people of Tibet and another for people of Myanmar.

There are some things common among both leaders.
The Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
for his non-violent struggle in 1989 while Aung
San Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.
Both are also recipients of the Congressional
Gold Medal, the highest civilian award in the United States of America.

The Dalai Lama received the award in 2007, while
Suu Kyi received it in 2008. They are influenced
by Buddhist teachings. More importantly, both are
fighting in their own way for the freedom of
their people and to restore the process of
democracy in their respective countries.

The Dalai Lama was pressurized by the Chinese
Military in 1951 who wanted to take control of
Tibet. When the uprising in 1959 was unsuccessful
he fled Tibet and since then is settled in Dharmashala in India.

He has established a government-in-exile. Talking
to a group of Chinese journalists recently, the
Dalai Lama said, "Using violence in the form of
fear and repression cannot solve human problems
because fear saddles the mind with needless
suspicions and anxiety and blocks the trust and
friendship essential to bring real peace and harmony”.

Returning to Burma to nurse her ailing mother Suu
Kyi plunged into Myanmar’s (then Burma) cry for
democracy. She became part of National League for Democracy (NLD).

Her party won a landslide victory in general
elections in 1990 with her certain to be the
Prime Minister of to be formed government. But
the Burmese regime never recognized the election
verdict. She is still in detention with all
visitors banned including her family and friends.
She has no access to phone or mail.

She is quoted as saying, "Isolation is not
difficult for me. Maybe it’s because of my Buddhist upbringing."

The Dalai Lama turned 75 on July 6, 2010 and Suu
Kyi turned 65 on June 19, 2010. To the
establishment in their country they are
dissidents. To their people they are the saviors.
To the people of the world, they are the most audible voice against oppression.

In the modern world, The Dalai Lama and Suu Kyi
represent resilience, bravery, courage,
non-violence and more importantly humanity. Both
symbolize people’s strong desire to be free.

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