Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Problems for Burma's Freedom (Bo Gyoke Aung San Speech)


We have then a big historic task which we have received from those who have gone ahead and passed, as an inviolable trust. How shall we fulfill it? Before we seek the answer to this question, it is essential in my opinion that we look round and find the threads that could lead us to the final solution. For the problems that confront humanity today are closely interwoven and form one indivisible fabric. Such is the order of the world today which is in a vast melting pot. Internationalism and nationalism, economics and politics, politics and sociology, sociology and culture, religion, ethics, etc., are but different parts of the one complex whole, each related to the other, ever changing in form and content.

We cannot think, live and move in watertight compartments only. We cannot keep on holding fixed, rigid dogmas which can no longer be in tune with the spirit of the times. Today in our country several of us have not yet been able to comprehend the phenomena of life and society in truer light. Some of us have been going still, consciously or unconsciously, about the same old way of “dirty” politics. But is politics really “dirty”? Certainly not. It is not politics which is dirty, but rather the persons who choose to dirty it are dirty. And what is politics?

Is it something too high above us to which we can just look up in respectful awe and from which we refrain, because we are just mortal clay in His hands and cannot do it? Is it, as some charlatans, roaming occasionally about in distant nooks of our country, used to prey upon the credulous imagination of some of our people, the kind of thing capable of being set aright only by fanciful tales and legends? Is it a dangerous ground which we must be wary to tread and might as well avoid, if we possibly could? Is it just a question of “race, religion and language” forever, as we were once wont to say? What is it, then, really?

The fact is that politics is neither high nor low, neither magic nor astrology nor alchemy. Nor is it simply a dangerous ground to tread upon. It is not also a question of bigoted or parochial nationalism either. It must always approximate to the truth of marching events. In short, after all is said and done, politics mean your everyday life. It is you in fact; for you are a political animal as Aristotle long ago declared. It is how you eat, sleep, work and live, with which politics is concerned. You may not think about politics. But politics thinks about you. You may shun politics. But politics clings to you always in your home, in your office, in your factories. There, everyday you are doing politics, grappling with it, struggling with it. The worker works for his wages, the peasant tills for his living, the clerk and the official toil for salaries, the trader and the broker struggle for decent incomes. It is, all, the question of livelihood. The worker wants to have higher wages and live in better conditions. The peasant desires to improve his land and his lot. The clerk and the official want something more than the drudgery of office, something more secure, more complete, more independent. The trader and broker want fair opportunities for trading and business.

Thus you have to live and get certain things that are yours for your living, and this is your politics. This is your everyday life; and as your everyday life changes, so changes your politics. It is for you to have such opportunities for your livelihood and better life that we say there must be freedom, freedom to live, freedom to create and develop nationally, and individually, freedom which can raise your and our standards without affecting others. And this is politics. Politics, then is quite human! It is not dirty. It is not dangerous. It is not parochial. It is neither magic nor superstition. It is not above understanding.

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