Suu Kyi says ‘we must rely on ourselves’

Suu Kyi says ‘we must rely on ourselves’
Monday, 23 May 2011 16:34
Jim Andrews

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) - Burma’s political opposition can expect little support from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and India and must now depend on its own efforts to win democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi has told a German TV panel.

‘We know in the end we must rely on ourselves, and that is not a bad thing’, she told the panel, in a programme broadcast on Sunday to Asia by the German world news channel Deutsche Welle, in cooperation with the Hertie School of Governance.

The pro-democracy leader Suu Kyi joined the round table discussion devoted to the future of Burma from what was described as a ‘secret location’ in Rangoon. 

Suu Kyi said she was particularly ‘saddened’ by India’s ‘disappointing role’ because of the links with Burma that stretched back to colonial times. The Indian government has reportedly been attempting to improve their relations with the authorities in Burma, aware of the growing influence of China in the Southeast Asian country. New Delhi has stressed that they have strategic and economic interests to protect in Burma and that the struggle for democracy is up to the Burmese people.

As for Asean, Suu Kyi said the organization could learn much from the way African countries sorted out their problems together. ‘One of the problems is that Asean talks about non-interference, in contrast to African countries’, she said. The members of the 53-state African Union take an active interest in developments in member states, and have on occasion deployed peacekeeping troops in several troubled states.

She lamented what she said was the lack of international support and poorly coordinated international aid, claiming Europe was ‘too disunited’ when it came to Burma.

She noted during the discussion that people in Burma, subject to the censored media, had been following events in the Arab world with great interest. The protests of ‘Arab Spring’ in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen had raised questions in Burma’s exile media as to whether there might be a repeat of Burma’s 2007 ‘Saffron Revolution’ protest against the military junta, though observers claim the situation in Rangoon is very different from the streets of Cairo.

Suu Kyi said she was encouraged by the interest young Burmese appeared to be showing in politics. ‘This has been one of the greatest changes I have seen since being released (from house arrest)’.

‘Young people are much more interested now (in politics), particularly because they are frustrated and they see they must bring about change themselves.

‘[Burma’s] youth has decided it must empower itself. Young people are becoming much more self-reliant’.

Nevertheless, ‘pervasive fear’ still hindered political progress in Burma, Suu Kyi said.

Burma needed an independent judiciary as a top priority, she said. Rule of law would result in freedom for the country’s political prisoners—one of the preconditions for change.

Suu Kyi Plans Tour of Countryside in June

Suu Kyi Plans Tour of Countryside in June
By KELVIN CHAN / AP WRITER Tuesday, May 31, 2011

HONG KONG — Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Monday she plans to tour the country next month in her first trip into the provinces since a 2003 political tour ended in her lengthy house arrest.

"I hope to be able to travel out of Rangoon in the month of June, as soon as I have got rid of all the work that has piled up," she said in a videolink to an audience at Hong Kong University. Rangoon is also known as Yangon, Burma's biggest city.

She said the authorities have not given her any "particular assurances" about security. She did not provide further details.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate drew large crowds when she last toured northern Burma, and her popularity rattled the military government. Exactly eight years ago Monday, supporters of the ruling junta ambushed her entourage. Several of her followers were killed, but she escaped, only to be arrested.

She was released last November after the country, also known as Myanmar, held general elections in which her party did not participate, calling the vote unfair. Suu Kyi's party won the last elections in 1990 but was not allowed to govern. The junta was officially disbanded after the November elections, but the current government is still military dominated.

Suu Kyi answered dozens of questions from students, alumni and reporters in the videolink with Hong Kong University. She has been jailed or under house arrest for 15 of the last 21 years, and during her brief periods of freedom she has not traveled outside the country, fearing the military would not allow her to return.

She avoided criticizing China, an important backer of Burma's government. Beijing provides the country crucial economic support, military assistance and diplomatic protection at the United Nations.

Burma could maintain neighborly relations with China while having a "friendship based on shared values of democracy" with Western countries, she said.

"I don't think we have to make it either-or. We can be friends with the West and we can be friends with China each in its own special way," Suu Kyi said.

Western nations and groups critical of Burma's poor human rights record had made her freedom a key demand. They estimate the country still has more than 2,000 political prisoners, and a UN envoy said last week Burma has changed little since its stated transition to civilian rule.

Suu Kyi said her party has tried hard to establish a relationship with China's government. But party members aren't even able to break the ice with Chinese diplomats at cocktail receptions, she said.

"Somehow they seem to be able to evade our people quite successfully. I wish they would talk to us," she said.

Suu Kyi ended by answering a question on how she felt about the death of terror mastermind Osama bin Laden, who was killed by US Navy SEALs in a raid on his hide-out in Pakistan.

"With regards to the recent death of bin Laden, it just shows that violence ends with violence, and that there is too much violence already in our world and we've got to try do something about it," she said.

B.C.N. Statement on Current CFOB Crisis

Peaceful Demonstration for Peace in Burma ( Rakhine )

Burmese Canadian Protest in Toronto


NLD by Elections Manifesto p1