By Maung Maung Kyaw
My mind is still fresh with the words of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi who talked about Myanma’s democratic transition at the forum held in Nay Pyi Taw on 11 August 2017.
Myanmar State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi urged people to understand other people’s feelings and hopes for the sake of internal peace and to get rid of a self-conceited mindset as they consider the country’s transition to full democracy.
“If we don’t have such understanding we cannot work efficiently for the successful democratic transition, our unity and peace in the country,” she said.
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi made these words in her inaugural address delivered at the Forum on Myanmar Democratic Transition which kicked off on 11 August 2017 at Myanmar International Convention Centre 2 (MICC-2).
The following are highlights of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi speech.
Path to democracy
The path to democracy needs to be correct and dignified. Some think what counts, is to reach the goal regardless of whatever ways and means are used. But I have a different opinion. If we follow the wrong path, we will not achieve what we want even if we reach the goal. The goal itself cannot be dignified. That is why we need to follow the correct path in a dignified manner.
The path the country walked after gaining independence was not smooth. A change can be a change for the better or a change for the worse. Our country started with democratic norms, from which we deviated. So, we have walked on the road to democracy to put the country back on the right path to democracy with peaceful, non-violent ways.
When we are trying to change, it is not easy, she added.
The writer of this article has duly noted the speech.
Despite we regained our independence; we have not enjoyed the peace at all until today. Although we have tried in many ways in different and successive eras for changes, the worse things were there much more than the good things. Therefore, we are trying to build a democratic system with justice.
The road map of the state leaders being aspired for the future of the nation after regaining independence had been clearly mentioned and included in the national anthem.
By referring these aspirations, the State Counsellor had clarified in her speech with regards to the nation building. The messages in the national anthem must be inscribed in the hearts of all the citizens and people from all nationalities residing in the union, and they must work to uphold them. Therefore, we could visualize the implementation of three factors in crafting the democracy federal union.
The meaning of the national anthem is very much important and valuable as it referred and expounded the short and clear ways and means that the citizens must build the nation.
It also clearly mentioned the aspiration of our leaders and the forefathers how they have visualize and how they intend to maintain its position as a unified nation. The messages in the national anthem must be upheld and seriously vowed in the hearts by all the citizens and the nationalities residing in the union.
Literal translation of both verses
Where justice and independence prevail,
This is our nation, this is our land.
Where equality and rightful policy prevail,
For people to lead a peaceful life,
This is our nation, this is our land.
We solemnly pledge to preserve the Union and its heritage for perpetuity.
Until the world ends up shattering, long live Myanmar!
We love our land because this is our real inheritance.
We will sacrifice our lives to protect our country,
This is our nation, this is our land and it belongs to us.
Being our nation and our land, let us do good causes to our nation in unity!
And this is our very duty to our invaluable land.
Poetic translation of the second verse
We shall love; forevermore
Myanmar is the land of our fathers of yore!
Giving our lives for our union we fight,
This is our country, our land, ours by right.
We, for her the tasks responsibly shoulder,
As we’ll stand in duty to this, our precious land.
It started with justice
When we are looking at the national anthem, we could clearly see the arrangement of the union structure, and that it reflects union spirit with independence character and centered with justice.
Moreover, the justice and the independence go hand in hand without deviating from the intended route. The literati of that era had referred and indicated the whole nature of the union in the writings, where justice has been prioritized.
When there is no justice, the environment would be filled with mistrust and dissatisfaction, and in other words, it tantamount to bullying and high handedness by depriving the human rights and independence of the citizens.
When justice prevails, the conditions could create the society into peace and tranquility, and therefore, we must never lose sight on the justice and independence.
Peace for all human beings
Peace is very much important for an independent nation, as peace could bring to the people all the liberty, freedom and emancipation. For such tranquil peace to enjoy by the people, all the citizens must have the equal opportunities of rights.
When the equal rights are not guaranteed in the society, the individual would antagonize each other and the community would clash with one another, and eventually ended up in killings and fall dead into utter devastation.
Each and every one must have clear state of mind and have righteous ideology, only then the people could be termed as dignified people. Loving kindness is to be spread out by all to one another in the nation.
We can see and witness that the nation is heading for a democratic system with justice and liberty as aspired by Bogyoke Aung San, the fallen leaders, the national leaders, and the citizens.
In changing the system, the journey is rather tough and bumpy, and also adventurous. When we talked about democracy, it comes along with the rights and the responsibility, and that if one is expecting only the rights, then the person is not worth with the democratic values.
Democracy means the promotion of interests of the people, and in other words, it is to prioritize the greater good of the people.
Human being is naturally a body and soul of greed that always look forward for self interest, and therefore, they tend to hold tight only on the personal interest. In the democratic transition, there might be the frictions, the challenges, and the conflicts, and all these are to be settled through peaceful means without violence. This is the way of democracy.
The transition and the reform are easy to discuss, but hard to implement, with many challenges and have to work and cooperate with different types of people.
If we could have been working in unity in the nation building since the independence, then we would be enjoying the fruits of liberty with all the luxury by this time. Only in a later time, we have changed our mind and work with new concept and outlook. Some people follow the path of changes, and some adamantly remained as usual in the dogmatic ideas. Some remained opposite, some antagonize, and some remained indifferent, making hindrances and difficulties on the way to reform and development as a union.
Looking forward at the destination
In the post Second World War period, most of the nations stepped into transition and worked for development, however, Myanmar left far behind to other countries due to disunity. It is the time for all the citizens to work in zest and zeal for the reform and in building the nation for justice and independence as suggested in the national anthem. We must have to try for peace and quality of rights with clear ideology. We must preserve and maintain the legacy of our ancestors by keeping the Union sealed with eternity while stepping into the path to the destination for federal democratic Union. Therefore, let us pledge in preserving and maintaining the Union handed down by our national leaders and ancestors, sacrificing our lives in case of danger on possible shattering of the country. This land is ours, and this land is mine, and therefore let us pledges to work for the greater good of the Union by all the nationalities.
Translated by UMT (Ahlon)