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A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve man's self-respect and inherent human dignity.

Women Have the Right to ‘Freedom from Fear’, say UN Officials

It is not easy for a people conditioned by fear under the iron rule of the principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man.

The wellspring of courage and endurance in the face of unbridled power is generally a firm belief in the sanctity of ethical principles combined with a historical sense that despite all setbacks the condition of man is set on an ultimate course for both spiritual and material advancement. It is his capacity for self-improvement and self-redemption which most distinguishes man from the mere brute. At the root of human responsibility is the concept of perfection, the urge to achieve it, the intelligence to find a path towards it, and the will to follow that path if not to the end at least the distance needed to rise above individual limitations and environmental impediments.

It is man's vision of a world fit for rational, civilized humanity which leads him to dare and to suffer to build societies free from want and fear. Concepts such as truth, justice and compassion cannot be dismissed as trite when these are often the only bulwarks which stand against ruthless power. The words used by Jawaharlal Nehru to describe Mahatma Gandhi could well be applied to Aung San: 'The essence of his teaching was fearlessness and truth, and action allied to these, always keeping the welfare of the masses in view.

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Freedom from Fear - 1990

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Freedom from Fear | Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs

House Floor Speech — U. Campaign status: Won Lost. Roosevelt delivered the State of the Union address that came to be known as the Four Freedoms speech, the freedoms he enumerated, and the lack of them, are embodied in a single, divided country: Korea. Today, freedom flourishes in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula, where the Republic of Korea is one of the world's most democratic and prosperous countries. Its 50 million people live under the rule of law and enjoy the full range of civil liberties. In the North, by contrast, lies the so-called Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the world's last closed totalitarian state.

North Korea's 25 million people lack the freedoms Roosevelt spoke of: There is no freedom of speech. Religion is forbidden. Want is widespread, with malnutrition -- even, at times, starvation -- being the norm. So, too, North Koreans lack Roosevelt's fourth freedom: the freedom from fear.

Fear Is Like This

Fear is an everyday fact of life in North Korea. As in other totalitarian countries, the Kim family regime enforces its power through a practice of arbitrary arrest and detention. The regime operates a vast network of prisons and detention centers, the worst being the six known political prisons, where an estimated , people are held in conditions are so abysmal that many never return home. Political crimes can include possessing a Bible, listening to a South Korean pop song, creasing a photograph of Kim Jong Un, or attempting to make a cell phone call outside the country.

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  • Public executions are another means of regime control. A United Nations report in called them "one of the dreadful tools" in the regime's rule by fear.

    As we have learned in recent years from testimonies by North Koreans who have escaped, even children are required to watch as men and women are hanged or shot. The onlookers understand the message the regime is sending: Express disagreement with the rulers and that could be you standing in front of the firing squad. Another of the dictatorship's "dreadful tools" is its policy of punishing the families of transgressors.

    This predatory group attacks women as they perform their daily tasks — fetching water or tending to their fields — and children returning from school. It abducts, mutilates, rapes and kills, using extreme violence against the most vulnerable. Survivors are sometimes horribly mutilated — scarred for life, with their ears or lips cut off, as a warning to others. The LRA has become the most deadly militia in eastern Congo, with Christmas time marked by appalling massacres.

    And Other Writings

    At Christmas , the LRA savagely beat to death more than people. They attacked again last Christmas. Local communities say they are scared this Christmas will bring yet more violence and that they feel abandoned by the outside world. With its origins in northern Uganda, the LRA has become a regional threat. It is undermining stability in an already fragile region, where southern Sudan is set to hold a referendum on secession in January.

    But people who have repeatedly fled LRA attacks told me the most gruesome accounts of suffering — too disturbing to be repeated here. These people were farmers who should have been tending their crops, but were instead living in squalid camps. I asked one whether he still went to school. So we are giving up our future so that we can be protected now. It is absolutely understandable that communities have resorted to defending themselves. But self-defence groups are not the answer and can store up all kinds of problems for the future. Eastern DRC is full of local self-defence groups that have morphed into violent militias.