Freedom address calls for cooperation and democracy
BURMESE opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi gave a public address at NLD headquarters in Rangoon on Sunday following her release from house arrest. The following is from a translated transcript distributed by the UNDP in Rangoon.
Part 1 of a three-part transcription.
I have to begin by thanking you for your support. We haven't seen each other for a long time, but I am happy to see that our mutual faith remains strong; it fortifies me. In order to do our work, we must know what the people want " you do know what you want, don't you? Well, it's fine to know what you want, but you must also know how you are going to achieve what you want. I believe that politics must be learned. I have often said, in my talks with the youth, I don't believe there is such a thing as good people or bad people, or smart or stupid people. I only believe that there are people who can learn and people who can't. I believe that we, the people, can learn very well. It's not enough to know what you want, but also to know how to achieve it with integrity. I say this not to patronise, I say from experience that no matter what the goal, if the path is without integrity, it will lose its way and be destroyed. This is why we must achieve what we want with integrity.
I know you have lots of questions to ask me, and I want to hear the voices of the people. I believe that I will now have the chance to listen to the voices of the people. While under restriction, I listened to foreign radio broadcasts to hear what the people are saying. Its very tiresome to listen to the radio for five to six hours a day, but I do this out of regard for the people. So I believe that I am, to a degree, aware of the wishes of the people.
I don't believe I know everything. This is not possible. So the people must make their voices heard by us. This will help us help the people. I believe that the people now realise that nothing can be accomplished without the participation of the people. Because nothing can be accomplished without the people's participation, we would like to create a democracy network across the world, of the people and by the people. It is only when we strive with this mentality, can we serenely achieve our democratic goals. In short, it means we have a lot of work to do. You will not get anything without working for it.
We Burmese blame it all on luck. But do you know what luck means? Luck means you reap what you sow. So if there is anything you want, you have to work to achieve it. We cannot simply bribe the people and promise them the impossible. We will try hard and pave the road that the people want. We will pave it together and we will take that road together. It's not right that one person paves the road while the other stands idly by.
Speaking of paving roads, maybe I picked an inappropriate analogy. It was a slip of the tongue. What I mean is that we will walk the road that leads to the democratic goals. We will walk on it together, we will pave it together. It is only this way, can we reach our goals. Don't wait for others to do it for you. We will not "force" you to do it (alluding to forced labour). If you do not put your mind and soul into achieving it, who knows whether it will end up with the tar being stolen (alluding to the shoddy quality of roads being built because of corruption).
I know that your show of support is not without expectation. The burden of these expectations is great and the responsibilities are immense. But I am not one to shy away from responsibility. But I am afraid of not being able to live up to my responsibilities. I will do my utmost to live up to these responsibilities, and call on the people to help us, to advise us, to point out our shortcomings. Pointing out shortcomings, if done in sincere goodwill, is very helpful. It will help us help the people achieve their aspirations.
I would like to ask the people to please communicate with us openly and courageously. Please don't have any qualms about talking to us. We won't do anything to you. If we are not in agreement, we will let you know. This is the basis of democracy ??" that of freedom of speech. But freedom to speak is not the same as freedom to be abusive. Well, there may be a bit of admonition. It is very important to be able to achieve mutual understanding. To be able to exchange views. We have to practice this and improve on this.
Upon my release, the main change that I have seen is that there is a proliferation of camera-phones. I see camera-phones all over the place. This shows the development of communication. This development must be used for the good of the majority. Communication brings understanding. Please use communication to foster mutual understanding and unity. I used a phone like this for the first time yesterday. Six years ago these did not exist here. I did not even know where to talk into.
But it is not enough just to say you love me, you have to work. So I thought what love means. Love means the desire for mutual happiness and the implementation of that desire. It is not enough to keep repeating "I love you".
I want to ask the people, to tell us what's on your mind. You can deliver the letter here, if you don't trust the postal service. I want to know what's on your mind. What has been in your mind over the past six years? What has changed? I can't know all of this at once. I have to study it. It's not feasible to speak to all of you individually. If possible, I'd like to hand over the mike to you and listen to what each of you has to say. It's so boring to be the only one to speak. If there is an exchange of dialogue, it creates harmony and is more beneficial. I feel that it is not democratic if one person does all the talking.
Please have discipline. Don't be impatient. There will be other opportunities for us to talk. This will not be the only occasion. There will be many others. Let's be patient. I thank you for your patience.
As I said just now, there is so much to do, so you must save your strength. Well, it's been twenty years of having a hard life, so you must be used to it. I don't want you to continue to have a hard life. Having a hard life isn't the point. The point is that the hard life must be worthwhile, and then one can have endurance. So you must save your strength to make it all worthwhile.