Burma’s pro- democracy leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, also known as ” the lady”, made her first speech to the public on November 14th 2010. She was released the day before from being confined under house arrest for 15 years. Her first speech after her release, was made at the NLD headquarters in Rangoon. This speech was translated by reporter Show Ei Tun from VOA’s Burmese Service.
Daw Aung San Su Kyi’s first public speech on Nov 14, 2010
…. Beginning of the recording ….
I’d like to start out with word of thanks. We haven’t seen each other for so long. But, no matter how long it has been, I’m very pleased and encouraged to see we all still remain strong. In order for us to do what we want to do … we do know what the people want. But it is more important to know how to get what we want. In my view, politics is learning. We must learn. I said repeatedly when I talked to young people that I don’t believe in such thing as smart or dull people, good or bad people, I only believe in whether one is teachable or not teachable. I do believe our people are teachable. It’s not enough for us to only desire (for something). We need to know how we are going to get what we want, and how to get it in the right way. Why is it important to get it in the right way? I’m not saying as if I were perfect. If we don’t do it in the right way, no matter how good our goal is, our journey will get twisted and eventually our goal will be destroyed. Therefore, we must get what we want in the right way. I know there are many questions that people want to ask us. We also would very much like to hear (Burmese) people’s voices…………… … (audio not clear)……………….
I’ve been observing and learning peoples’ desire, what they want every single day. Wouldn’t it boring to be listening for 5, 6 hours a day? But in the name of peoples, I’ve been listening everyday. By listening like that, I think I know what the peoples want to some extent. I don’t mean I know everything. And I can’t know everything either. I welcome peoples to talk to us. Only then, we would know what we can do for our people. Without the participation of people, nothing can be achievable. Since whatever we do can be achievable only with peoples’ participation …. Only with such attitude (and determination), I believe we’ll be able to reach our goals smoothly and in the right way. That means, we will have to do a lot of work. Without work, we won’t get anything. We Burmese often say it’s just because of “karma, karma.” So I had asked youth repeatedly before if they know the meaning of “karma.” “Karma” is basically doing. So when you say yourself it’s because of “karma,” then it would mean it happened because of what you did. So if there is something we want, we must try to make it happen. ………… (audio not clear) ……………
We can’t persuade peoples by easily telling them we will do something that is impossible. ………… (audio not clear) …………… Whatever it is the case, we will all build the road toward democracy together, we’ll build together, and we’ll walk together. This is the only way to reach the goal we want. We’ll have to do it with a willing heart. We can’t do it grudgingly (half-heartedly). We can’t wait other peoples to build for us. Like how you all come and gather here. I know you come here and support with hope. The burden of hope is not small. It is a big responsibility to shoulder hope. But I’m not afraid of being responsible. But there is only one thing I’m afraid of. I’m afraid that I don’t fulfill my responsibility. I will try to fulfill the responsibility till the end. In trying so, I would like the peoples to give us advice, assistance, and point out if there is any issue. Address any issue to us properly and genuinely. Doing so would equate helping us achieve the goals we all want. May I make a request to the people (of Burma). When you deal (work) with us, please do it openly and boldly. Don’t worry whether you should say this or that. You can feel free to tell us whatever you like. If in case we disagree, we’ll of course have to say so, because it is the fundamental of democracy. Freedom of expression. Freedom of expression isn’t the same as freedom of yelling. Of course, sometimes, it might involve some anger. But it’s very important to build understanding among one another.
We must exchange our thoughts and view. For that, we’ll have to train ourselves and practice it. Now I see everyone is using (mobile phones). It shows improvement in communication. Make good use of this to build understanding and unity among one another. Please raise your hands those who have mobile phones. Let’s see how many. Wow …. many people are now using mobile phones. For me, I just got a chance to use such phone for the first time today. In the past, we didn’t have those yet.
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(Looks like Daw Su was responding to the sign “We love Su” here ………………)
What is the meaning of love? It’s not enough just saying “love” per se. We have to do the work. Love is willing to do to keep each other happy.
Please feel free to send us letters. If you worry mails might get lost, just come and drop it here (at NLD headquarters where she was giving his speech). I’d like to know what you have in mind. Over the last 6,7 years, I want to know what has been in peoples’ mind, what in their mind has changed? I can’t know right way. I’ll have to take time and learn. I’d like to talk to everyone but it’s practically not possible. If I could, I would have talked to everyone but it’ll never end. I do want to talk to people. Standing alone and only one talking is so boring. You talk and I respond vice versa would be more lively, productive and valuable. If there is only one person talking and the rest are just listening, I don’t think it’s in line with democracy.
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We need to have peoples’ “hit-taing” (meaning a place where people can vent emotions, desires, complaints, what they have in mind)
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Thank you for being patient and waiting here for so long. If I am speaking like this for long, I think people will also get tired.
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You’re tired for over 20 years so you’re probably getting used to it. Tiresome is not a problem. But what’s important is if it’s worth getting tired at all. We must use our energy in a way so that it’s worth getting tired. Now I’d like to say to you this. Don’t loose heart. Sometimes, you might get depressed looking at our country ….saying we haven’t reached anywhere yet and there isn’t still any progress yet. But don’t get depressed. We must have perseverance. We must have perseverance in whatever we do, until the end (we reach the goal). There is no such thing is the work is done. If one task is done, there will be another. So this applies to building a nation (a country). We’ll have to do one thing after another. In life, there cannot be a complete satisfaction. But we certainly need to a certain degree of satisfaction. For that, we must all work together. It’s not possible we don’t work hard so. I can’t say I will do (fulfill) everything. But if there is peoples’ participation, peoples’ trust and support, our effort will be more energized. I will work together with the peoples’ efforts. I can’t do alone. I don’t want to do it alone either. …………. I have no intention at all to do it all alone. I will work with others, I will work with our fellow men and women in the country, and with our fellow men and women around the world who support us with genuine hearts. We will all work together to reach the goal we want. We must anchor this in our mind firmly.
Courage, as some might think, is not something like going in the front, raising their fists in anger or in a show of defiance. Courage is something we make efforts tirelessly with a strong determination to make what we want happen in reality. We have to nurture such kind of courage.
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Really courage is something we do on daily basis. Our peoples (of Burma) have to be courageous daily from the mornings to face each day. We must make good use of our courage, effectively for the people and for the country, not just of oneself or one’s own family. I want to say this repeatedly. Also, don’t hold the attitude that we have nothing to do with politics. I have said this since in the past … that … we can probably say we have nothing to with politics, but politics will come to do with you. We can’t avoid it. Everything is politics …. Alright? Not just who come here and support us. Women who staying home cooking is also politics, because they have to work with the budget they have. So it’s also politics. Struggling for your children well being is also politics. Everything is politics. No on can be avoided from politics. Those who say they have nothing to do with politics, they don’t want to participate in politics are those who don’t understand politics. ……… audio not clear …………. So try to understand politics.
Please also teach us. We have to learn from one another. The peoples and the democracy activists must teach us so that we won’t make mistakes. There is one thing important about democracy, and that is, those who follow should be able to, must have a right to manage (have a say to or keep accountable) those who lead at the front. And that is democracy. The general public should be able to manage those who governed (who are also minority in numbers). This is democracy. For us also, we are willing to be managed by the peoples. … hover, I don’t want to be managed (detained) by …… audio not clear ……
As a matter of fact, let me tell you this. During my time of being detained, I had to deal with security guards (those who are responsible for security). They had been good to me. They did treat me properly. This is the truth that I’m telling. As we know we must thank who we owe, I am thankful for the ordinary security staff who had treated me well. I’m saying this with a sincere heart.
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Many might wonder how and where our political journey will go. We will work toward national reconciliation. To me, I certainly don’t have a certain people/group that I can’t talk, or I can’t work with. Whoever it is, we can work if there will a willingness to work things out. We can talk if there will a willingness to talk. We will continue to go along this line. For that, we do need peoples’ energy and support. Whatever we do or decide, we’ll let the peoples know. For now, we, within NLD, hasn’t had a chance to sit down and have a proper discussion yet. But we will work with not only NLD. I’d like to work with all groups that are working toward democracy. And the peoples need to surround these efforts. We’ll have to tell the peoples, explain to them. Sometimes, there might be issues where peoples will not agree with what we do. Not every single one can have the same opinion. The ability to work out despite disagreements is also the fundamental of democracy. Why do we have to do it? We will have do it, explain it in order to get trust and understanding from the peoples, not the same as trying to get votes from the peoples. (Audience laugh …. ) We will continue to work by getting trust, understanding and support from the peoples. I do apologize that for the time being, I can’t tell you know exactly what we will continue to do. If I had told you, I would do thing and that immediately after I’ve been released, it will be like I’m saying without prudence and reason.
In the meantime, we’d like to hear from the peoples as much as possible. By listening to the peoples, we’ll decide how we will continue to do our future work. But as I said because, we’ll work with peoples’ support, and we’ll work together with all the groups that are striving for democracy in order to achieve national reconciliation in our country. We’ll work toward national reconciliation in the least possible way to cause pain to the peoples. I can’t guarantee however that there will be no pain. Sometimes, we do have to bear pain. We do suffer and our colleagues do suffer. But we’ll try our best to seek out ways that will least hurt the peoples. If in case there is any pain involved for the peoples, I’d like to request you in advance to remain tolerant. Regardless, we must do the work. It is not possible that we only want something but we don’t want pain.
I’d also want to say that we must be able to distinguish between the right and the wrong. We must have the courage to stand on the side that is right. What is right and what is wrong cannot be the same from time to time. As time changed, as circumstances changed, answers (solutions) do also changed. But, whether we should or should not do, we should ask our conscience. There is one thing my dad had said. He said he dares to stand in front of his court of conscience. For me to, I do stand in front of my court of conscience daily to be trialed. Likewise, our fellow peoples should also stand before your court of conscious daily and get trialed. If you do so, the answer to which whether you are really doing what you ought to do will appear. If we all do so, our efforts will gain values (strength). We must use our energy and strength in the right way. No one can destroy the power of using (our) strength in the right way. Please take a note of that.
Let’s test the spirit of consideration, understanding and good heart of our peoples here. Let me try it a little bit, ok? People over there are shouting because they can’t hear well. I’m also about to finish my speech. So, those who are at the front… why don’t you move to the side and make a space so that those who are at the back can move in here closer.
.…. End of the recording …..