Freedom of speech, thought, expression, worship and assembly are what we mostly hear almost every time and everywhere. There is no one who dislikes freedom. So, those who have not savored the taste of freedom yet, want to have freedom, while those who have gained freedom want to maintain it. As for those who have lost their freedom, they are willing and ready to fight for regaining it. Accordingly, our forefathers sacrificed their lives for independence. Even after gaining independence, we still do not have freedom to the full yet, until recent years. Officials of the video and movie censor board did not allow us to use many Myanmar words in describing English dialogues with Myanmar subtitles, for excessive fear of provoking the anger of senior officials. Excessive suppression of people’s freedom made people demand for democracy.
Here, we need to assess the meaning of democracy. Oxford Advanced American Dictionary defines democracy as a system of government in which all the people of a country can vote to elect their representatives. And, it also defines as, “fair and equal treatment of everyone in an organization, etc., and their right to take part in making decisions.” On a careful analysis of it, as we can vote to elect our representatives, we will choose leaders assumed to be acceptable and regarded to be qualified enough to lead us. According to the second definition, the wording “fair and equal treatment of everyone in an organization” highlights not only our inborn rights but also those of others. If our rights happen to harm others, will it be fair and equal treatment of everyone in our society any longer? It does not come to an end, yet. It is also defined that we have our right to take part in making decisions. As per the above definition, we are required to take part in making decisions. Whatever it is, we must be prudent to do so. After making a decision, we must implement it. Our decision or implementation will bring about a result—good or bad. In other words, the result depends upon our performances; responsibility and accountability. To sum it up, responsibility and accountability go together with human rights.
At a time when we are demanding for human rights or civil rights, we have a tendency to forget our potential contributions. As our State Counsellor frequently says, we need to ponder as to what we can give for our children, for our community and for our nation, instead of just demanding for our rights. If we aspire to have a brighter future for our children, we need to be ready to forgo our excessive demands. We experienced bitter experiences for nearly 7 decades. Now is only a short period of time that the incumbent government took office, to be exact, one-fifth of its first tenure or one-seventieth of many long years of struggle and strife working for democracy. I never mean that we must sit aside without saying anything about the government’s performances. We can criticize and point out weaknesses and mistakes, if ever, with constructive attitudes. Living in accord with laws, developing good habits in youths, abstinence from taking and giving bribes, building our self-esteem and cultivating these kinds of habits and attitudes in the minds of our offspring are in fact what we can contribute nation building. Ultimately, I want to say that we will surely reach our goal, if we take responsibility and accountability as our inborn rights.