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Speech by Aung San Suu Kyi
- Subject: Speech by Aung San Suu Kyi
- From: saeliw@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 27 Feb 1997 20:56:00
Unofficial translation of speech by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi delivered at the ceremony
to mark the 50th anniversary of the Union Day held at her residence in Rangoon on
February 12. 1997 - NCGUB Information Office (USA).
Speech By General Secretary Of The National League For Democracy
At The 50th Anniversary Of The Union Day on February 12, 1997.
Efforts were made to undermine our Union Day and impair our work _ the work of a
political organization that the people have mandated through fair and free elections to
lead the nation into the future. In spite of the difficulties that had arisen as a result of
these efforts, people have come here to join the celebrations and others had expressed
their support for me from afar. I'd like to express my respect and my thanks to all these
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Panglong Agreement. When our great
national and ethnic leaders signed the Panlong Agreement, they did not intend it to be
an agreement on paper only. They made a pledge from their hearts to show that all the
nationalities in Burma believe in unity.
As of today, the Union of Burma has been a sovereign nation for about half a century.
But it is very difficult to call in a true sense because we have not been able to achieve
genuine unity among the nationalities. What is needed to achieve genuine national unity
is a system under which all our nationalities can freely and fearlessly express their
hopes, objectives, concerns, grievances and dislikes. Only when such a system is in
place can we get rid of the misunderstanding and distrust that exist among us. I
promise that our National League for Democracy will strive with sincerity to rebuild
complete trust among all the nationalities.
I take this opportunity on the occasion of his 50th anniversary of the Union Day to call
on our ethnic nationalities to join us in our efforts.
Fifteen ethnic organizations and other ethnic representatives held an Ethnic
Nationalities Seminar at Mae Tha Raw Hta from February 7 to 14 and issued a
The statement in part reads:
... since the time of independence in 1948, successive regimes in power have violated
the right to equality of all citizens, irrespective of race as provided for in Panglong
agreement. Armed subjugation by successive regimes practicing rectal chauvinism for
the last 49 years has been a disastrous experience of suffering unprecedented in
history for the ethnic nationalities.
It is indeed distressing to note that our ethnic people have lost faith in the Union
because of their bitter experiences. These wrongs of our past must be corrected by all
of us. By all, I mean, us, the majority Burmans, as well as the ethnic nationalities. We
must know the aspirations of our nationalities. What are their aspirations? According
to the Mae Tha Raw Hta Agreement they are:
a) to dismantle the military dictatorship and establish peace in the country.
b) to precise the democratic political system,
c) to achieve the rights of equality and self-determination for each and every
d) to establish a federal union
A paper regarding democracy and equal rights for nationalities was also issued and
according to that document, what is vitally needed for our country are:
1) Democracy and political equality for all nationalities
2) Unity among all the nationalities
3) The emergence of a genuine Union
4) The building of a modern and progressive nation in which all component states will
enjoy proportionate development
5) the end to all forms of dictatorship
6) Prevalence of peace in the country
>From the documents above we know that bringing and end to dictatorship,
consolidating peace in the country, and ensuring democracy and equality for all
nationalities are the foundations that we cannot do without if we are to build a strong
and lasting Union. We must work together to realize these goals and there is no doubt
that our ethnic brothers and sisters know it too.
That fact is made evident in the concluding part of the document dealing with
democracy and equal rights for nationalities.
... efforts should be made through discussions to build unity among people with
political background above with political organizations that have legal standing and
with those organizations that have concluded ceased-fire agreements. should we fail
to do this, all the parities concerned will gradually disintegrate in a sea of hardships
and finally get destroyed. Therefore, we must all unite ourselves wherever possible
and strive to free ourselves from the general hardships.
The Mae Tha Raw Hta Agreement in part also said:
.. we agree also to join hands with the pro-democracy forces led by Daw Aung San
Suu Kyi and act unitedly and simultaneously for the achievement of rights of the
nationalities as well as democratic rights.
In sum, it is evident that in order to establish a genuine Union on the basis of equality
for all nationalities, forces who are endeavoring to restore democracy and human rights
and the ethnic organizations must be firmly united and work closely with each other.
In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Union Day, I invite all the ethnic
leaders, the people with political background above ground, the party organizations
with legal standing and the organizations that have entered into cease-fire agreements
to work with our National League for Democracy for the emergence of a preliminary
conference to prepare for a future convention that will genuinely represent the people
and is geared to revive the spirit of the Panglong Agreement.
Long Live the Panglong Agreement.
Long Live the Panglong Spirit.
May a Genuine Democratic Union Emerge Soon.
Our Cause will Prevail.