Thursday, 5 January 2012

The Power of Integrity and Passive Resistance

Yesterday I went to the cinema to see The Lady. It is the story of Aung San Suu Kyi the pro democracy activist and leader of the Burmese opposition party and her husband Oxford academic Michael Aris. I guess at heart it's a love story and an example of the sacrifice of individual happiness for the greater good. 
The story is made more powerful by knowing it's true and for me there were moments when I was truly horrified by the unfolding events. There seems to have been no heinous act that the ruling generals would be unwilling to commit to enable them to hold onto their power. This thought provoking film has made me reflect on the power of integrity and passive resistance.

I guess Mahatma Gandhi is the name that immediately sprang to my mind when I started to think of passive resistance and Aung San Suu Kyi is seen reading him and absorbing his philosophy in the film. One of his powerful quotations she repeats is 'you may not think of politics but politics thinks of you'. Though Gandhi is thought of as a pacifist there was nothing passive about Gandhi. He was proactive in the extreme. The passive in this context really means non violent. Nelson Mandela was another proponent of this method and both men were hugely successful in moving their countries towards freedom and democracy. 

Of course Aung San Suu Kyi, Gandhi and Mandela are big characters with big causes but their example can be used in a much smaller way in our everyday lives. By that I mean we can highlight injustice and work to eradicate it. We can get involved with the political party of our choice. We can support charities. We can give time to helping others. We can petition. We can vote. We can shake off apathy and get involved. That's my take what do you think?

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