'Achieve Equality Among Nationalities'

In a program aired on Jan. 14, Aung San Suu Ky reiterates the equality of Burma’s ethnic groups, discusses Wikileaks, and expresses her concern for Burmese nationals jailed in Thailand.


Q:  I am a student of international studies in the United States. There are many ethnic nationalities in Burma, but I have never come across anyone calling a Burman an ethnic national. I am of the view that everyone is equal. I do not want to see the Burman as a separate race, with a special status that is different from other ethnic nationals and treated in a special manner. How can we have equality among the ethnic nationalities with regard to this matter?

A:  I have often said that the Burmans are also one of the ethnic nationalities of Burma. I also think that since the Burmans are a majority, the ethnic nationalities in our country must put more effort into living together in a friendly and united manner. With regard to the question of what should be done to achieve equality among the ethnic nationalities, I think that in addition to making an effort to understand one another, we must also strive for the emergence of a political system that will encourage such equality.

Q:  What is the most important thing in one’s revolutionary struggle for the freedom of a country or for a people and for the truth? What kind of attitude or spirit should we uphold?

A:  The most important thing in the revolutionary struggle for the truth is to ensure that the truth one is fighting for is genuine. The struggle must also be carried out in a correct manner. As for the right kind of attitude or spirit, I think that an attitude and spirit of pure kindness with resolute steadfastness is needed. It is important to be united [with others] in realizing one’s convictions. It is also important to understand one another so that all can be united. I also think that it is important to constantly work to try and improve your abilities. These are just my own thoughts. Other people may also have very valuable ideas. That is why I would like to ask you to listen to others and make your own decisions.

Q:  I am a Burmese national who is in prison in the Bangkwin jail in Thailand. I think that there are about 5,000 Burmese nationals who are in prison in Thailand. If you had the authority, would it be possible for you to arrange for Burmese nationals in prisons in other countries to be returned to Burma? Even in prisons, we Burmese nationals are underprivileged. Prisoners from other countries are able to make telephone calls to their respective countries with the recommendation of their embassies, but not only does our own embassy not come to see us, they have never given such recommendations when we ask for them.  [This question is sent in a letter which is read on the air.]

A:  I am very unhappy to hear your letter. I would like to request all Burmese political and social organizations in Thailand to provide as much help as they can to those Burmese nationals who are in Thai prisons, for whatever reason. In the long run, we will have to discuss these kinds of matters and find ways to deal with them. We will not ignore the plight of our nationals in other countries.

Q:  I heard a news item on RFA about the National League for Democracy (NLD) that was revealed by Wikileaks. The item said that the “uncles” [the elderly senior leaders] of the NLD were not able to accomplish anything during the time that you were held under house arrest. I would also like to know how you view the release by Wikileaks of this kind of confidential information. Is this a good thing or not?

A:  We constantly endeavor to make appropriate changes if criticisms of the NLD are found to be credible. We will follow up in the same way to the revelations made by Wikileaks. Wikileaks has said that their revelations are meant to encourage transparency. However, I think that when these kinds of things are done, one must be very careful not to hurt other people unnecessarily or put them in danger.

Q:  Burma’s young people respect your words a lot. I would like to ask you to advise us once every week or so through the media or through the website Facebook so that young people can understand the current political situation. This may help them to get involved in activities for the good of the people around them in matters relating to social welfare and health. It is my belief that everything that is done in the best interest of our country is, in fact, politics.

A:  I agree with what you say. I will constantly endeavor to make the youth of our country understand the current political situation. I will say as much as I can about it. Courses will also be given. The NLD, not only with words but also with actions, will encourage young people to get involved in activities for the good of the people around them in matters relating to social welfare and health. This is why the NLD is increasingly working on social welfare matters and other activities for the good of the people.

Q:  I now live in Texas, in the United States. When you came to Pa-an to visit and pay your respects to the Venerable Thamanya Sayadaw, you wrote for me in my notebook, “A strong and steadfast spirit will give you success.” Could you please explain to me, and to everyone, how one can practice to have a strong and steadfast spirit that will lead to success?

A:  If I may briefly answer your question, I would only say that you must have a strong will in trying to achieve whatever you want in the right manner. This means that you must nurture a strong spirit that will make you work continuously until you succeed, no matter what problems or difficulties you may encounter.


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