'Acknowledge Different Views'

In her latest weekly conversation with listeners, Aung San Suu Kyi discusses NLD membership, upcoming by-elections in Burma, and the state of the country's political prisoners.


Q:  Is it possible to teach the subjects of democracy and human rights in Burma? Also, are there plans to set up a website so that one can easily apply online for membership in the National League for Democracy? Finally, I have a personal question. What were the happiest times of your life?

A:  Until now, democracy and human rights training courses have been given in Burma by the National League for Democracy, organizations under the United Nations, and some people’s organizations. Although these subjects are included in the curricula of government schools, one cannot say whether these topics are covered in a complete way. As you have suggested, we will try to set up a website so that one can apply for NLD membership online. I would say that one of the happiest times in my life was when I was a university student together with my friends, being innocent and having fun.

Q:  I have not previously been an NLD member. Instead, I work with a social organization in Tokyo. Now that the NLD has been reorganized, and now that new members are submitting their applications, I would like to become an NLD member and support you. How can I do this from Japan? What kind of information and supporting documents will I need?

A:  Just as I said [in my previous answer], we will try to set up a website so that applications for NLD membership can be submitted online. Thank you very much for supporting us in this way. The NLD has existed for 20 years with the support of the people, and will continue to operate in their interest.

Q:  I have heard that elections are going to be held. How can we help to prevent voting irregularities in the upcoming by-elections and in future elections?

A:  We have plans to give courses and distribute pamphlets on how to monitor elections. If all of the people cooperate as much as they can, we should be able to expose irregularities and dishonesty and have an election that is at a standard acceptable to the majority of the people.

Q:  President U Thein Sein said at a press conference in Bali that he does not agree that there are people who have been sent to prison in Burma because of their beliefs. I think that President U Thein Sein is turning a blind eye to the present situation. What would you say to this?

A:  It is our conviction that there are people in prison because of their beliefs. The important thing is to accept the fact that differences in conviction exist and to try and reconcile those differences in the interests of the people. Acknowledging the existence of differences in views and thinking is the basis of democracy itself.

Q:  I have heard that the government of U Thein Sein has offered you a position in the government. Is this true? I also heard that one of your representatives has met and spoken with three government ministers. I would like to know what was discussed at that meeting, if this would be possible.

A:  Both of those reports are rumors, my child. Those things did not really happen. At times like this, there is a lot of speculative talk and there are a lot of expectations. This is why you should make careful enquiries before believing anything. It is good that you are asking me about this directly in this way.

Broadcast on Dec. 2, 2011.


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Dec 08, 2011 08:00 PM

Including human rights in an educational curricula has to be important if we want our citizens to be aware of not only their rights but the rights of others. Even though I was a 'civil servant' the training that I had was very different from what civil servants have to know in other countries. We need some form of 'administrative laws' for the protection of the people from the 'public servants' who are supposed to serve them.