'Protect the Interests of Our Country'

In a Jan. 28 broadcast, Aung San Suu Kyi defends Burmese monks’ and nuns’ right to political activity and urges Burmese businesspeople living abroad to examine the ethics of their dealings with Burma’s military rulers.

2011.02.02
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Q:  I am a member of the Myanmar Student Monks’ Association of Sri Lanka. The present government in Burma not only says that the Sangha [the community of monks and nuns] should not be involved in politics, but also that they will not allow them to be involved, and they have even arrested some for becoming involved. Is it your view that the Sangha should be involved in politics? Also, I think that in our country there is no freedom of religion. How do you view this situation?

A:  The word “politics” has many different meanings. We understand the word to refer to matters that concern the interests of the country and its people. That is why I believe there is no reason to find fault with monks working for the good of the country and the people. With regard to the freedom to conduct religious work, this is the right of all religious workers. I do not think that religious workers will have the right to do missionary work freely as long as comprehensive human rights do not exist in our country.

Q:  Burmese people who have become permanent residents or citizens of Singapore have been working with the cronies and businessmen of the SPDC [Burma’s ruling junta] and have been forming companies. Their main business is import and export. It seems that those people and the work they do are in conflict with the economic sanctions [applied internationally against Burma]. Is it right that they are doing this?

A:  I think that these people know very well whether the work they are doing is in the interest of their country or just for their own profit. Everyone must be responsible for their own activities. In particular, Burmese people living abroad can know what kind of work is appropriate, since they are free to do research and analyze the situation.

Q:  What do you and the NLD think about the investment contracts that have been signed between the SPDC and foreign countries? Will you honor them? Also, since we are building a democratic country, I and many others believe that it will helpful if you and the NLD cooperate with [Burma’s] top military leaders so that things will reach a stage where everyone can benefit. Is this in line with your own views and the views of the NLD?

A:  Just as there are ethical standards that must be honored among nations, we must be mindful of the duty we have to protect the interests of our own country. We must take these views into consideration when we deal with treaties and contracts that are signed between countries. And we absolutely accept that the best and quickest way for the country to achieve democracy and prosperity will be for the military leaders and the democratic forces to cooperate and work together. We are trying to bring this situation about.

Q:  I have often heard you talk about national reconciliation. And I have also heard you say that in trying to achieve national reconciliation, changes can be made without bloodshed. But since our country has been ruled for so long by a dictatorship, it may not be easy to bring change without bloodshed unless we have the cooperation of the Tatmadaw [the military]. What do you think we should do to get the Tatmadaw to cooperate? I would also like to ask you what role the educated youth of Burma should play in this process.

A:  Although we cannot accept some of the actions of the Tatmadaw government, if the military leaders and the soldiers understand that we do not hate them or are hostile toward them, we can then have an understanding and can work together for the good of the country. I would like the educated youth to help in any way they can so that such an understanding can be achieved.

Q:  There are many Burmese people here in the United States, and most of them avoid politics. There are usually a lot of people who attend festivals like the Thingyan [the Burmese New Year Water Festival] and religious ceremonies at the Buddhist monasteries. But if the ceremonies at the monasteries are related to politics, attendance will be low. Please give me some advice on how to encourage people to be more interested in Burmese affairs.

A:  People may be unconcerned with politics because they are afraid or lacking in awareness of civic duty. We must identify different ways to help them find the courage and will to be involved in politics. Communication technology can be especially helpful. Please try especially to target the young people so that they will become more interested in politics.

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Anonymous
Apr 01, 2011 03:47 AM

She is a great woman i've ever seen before.