There are no external signs by which the strange denizens of this world can be recognised. Come any week day to the headquarters of the NLD, a modest place with a ramshackle rough-hewn air of a shelter intended for hardy folk. More than once it has been described as the NLD “cowshed”. Since this remark is usually made with a sympathetic and often admiring smile, we do not take offence. After all, didn’t one of the most influential movements in the world begin in a cowshed?
One morning, while going through my daily set of physical exercises - keeping fit, as fit as possible was, in my opinion, one of the first duties of a political prisoner - I found myself thinking this is not me. I would not have been capable of carrying on calmly like this. I would have been curled up weakly in my bed, worrying my head out over the fate of those who had been at Dabayin with me. How many of them had been severely beaten up? How many of them had been dragged away to I did not know where? How many of them had died? And what was happening to the rest of the NLD?
Fear is the first adversary we have to get past when we set out to battle for freedom, and often it is the one that remains until the very end. But freedom from fear does not have to be complete.