'Direct Engagement'

In her latest weekly conversation with listeners, Aung San Suu Kyi discusses her out-of-Rangoon trips and infighting within her NLD.


Q:  Why are you now making trips to travel around the country? The Burmese people and foreigners, too, are concerned that another event like the Depayin incident may happen to you.

A:  The National League for Democracy believes in conducting politics by engaging directly with the people of the country. I am a member of a political party, and when one is involved in politics one must be in touch with the people. That is why I cannot only sit and work in Rangoon. I must also look into and study the activities of our members where appropriate. Those are the reasons I have planned to make these trips. There is no reason for events like the Depayin incident to happen in countries where the rule of law prevails. As I have mentioned many times before, it is the duty and responsibility of the government of our country to protect the security of its citizens. I will not be doing things without caution and in a haphazard manner. This is why I would like to say that you should not be too concerned.

Q:  I am from the Shan States. Fierce battles are now being fought between the Kachin army and the Burmese army in the northern Shan States. Many local ethnic nationalities have fled to the Chinese border because of the fighting, and we think that the fighting is going to extend over a long period of time. Could you implement a peace plan between the Kachin and the Burmese troops? Also, do you have any plans to visit the armed ethnic nationalities areas?

A:  The National League for Democracy (NLD) has recently issued a statement with regard to the fighting that is occurring in the country. We have categorically stated that the problem must be resolved politically rather than with arms. As for me, at this moment, I do not have any plans to visit the areas of the armed ethnic nationalities.

Q:  I don’t know if you will remember me, but I was an NLD member from 1993-99 in the Bahan Township. Can you do anything to quickly quench the fires of fighting that have started to burn within the country? I believe that there are at least 500 NLD members now in the United States, but there are a lot of problems among our party members. Could you give a talk and advise our NLD members to be more united?

A:  With regard to peace within the country, it is necessary for everyone within the country to work together with a sense of responsibility. The NLD has already issued a statement urging that the problems must be resolved politically in a peaceful manner. Just as the people inside Burma must work together for internal peace, the NLD members who are abroad must also strive to work on their own to strengthen unity among themselves. If they themselves have no desire for unity, it would be useless for me to give a talk to them about unity. You must keep in mind that if there is no unity, our desired goal will be farther away, and our country will get deeper into trouble.

Q:  I am from the Thailand branch of the Kachin Women’s Union. The Burmese military is at this moment staging military offensives in the Kachin State. In the midst of the fighting between the KIA and the Burmese army, many women have been raped, and other human rights violations have been committed against them. We would like to ask your help, and that of the NLD, to alleviate the suffering that is being faced by our women. What should we do to help in the formation of a United Nations inquiry commission to deal with these human rights violations?

A:  It is really a matter of great concern for our country that fighting has started again in the Kachin State. That is why the NLD and I would like to urge as much as possible that all the ethnic nationalities be united among themselves so that problems may be resolved in a peaceful manner. As for the formation of an inquiry commission, this is a decision that must be made by the international community and the Secretary General of the United Nations. They must be urged to do this.

Q:  I am a student attending distance education classes at the Dagon College. When we began these courses, we had to submit assignments before sitting for the examinations. And in writing these, we would just copy the assignments that had been done before by others. During the examinations themselves, we would just write what the teacher had taught us in a short 10-day course just before the exam. We would use this system every year, and eventually we would pass our distance education course. How does this compare with the distance education systems of other countries? What standards do they use?

A:  The ways that distance education colleges operate in different countries are not exactly the same. But teaching methods where individuals are not encouraged to think for themselves, as in Burma, do not exist in progressive and developed countries. Instead, these countries emphasize education systems that develop the ability of students to think on their own and to acquire knowledge that conforms to the modern age. These systems prescribe very organized curricula and teaching methods.

Q:  I am from Win Khin Nye village in the Pegu Chaung Phyar village tract in the Pegu Township. The irrigation system for the farmland in our area was not built properly, so although the water runs well during the hot season, it overflows and floods the farmland in the monsoon. At this time, not only are thousands of the paddy fields flooded, but our village is almost completely destroyed. The villagers now have to live near the highway. We submitted this problem to the township authorities, but nothing has been done to resolve it, and up until now they have not responded to us. Can you help us?

A:  We have given instructions to our organization’s members from the Pegu Division to make detailed enquiries regarding what is happening in the area around Win Khin Nye village. We will investigate and let you know how to resolve the problem as soon as possible.

Program broadcast in Burmese on July 1, 2011.


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