The following are salient points from the speech delivered by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the state counsellor and chairman of NRPC, at the first anniversary of signing of NCA.
I believe progress has been made over the past year. I would like to appreciate and honour the previous government led by former president U Thein Sein for their (important) contribution to the signing of this NCA.
As known to all, the first step is the most important step when treading on a path. And this step has already been taken to move forward. We are all aware that those who we would like to participate and those who are worth participating are not yet included. All inclusiveness is very important to our country. Peace is a treasure which cannot be exchanged for whatsoever thing. Reflecting in the wording NCA, the notion of fire struck my mind. Should we want peace and ceasefire, we had better start with extinguishing of anger and prejudice which are likened to fire burning inside our heart and soul. So, only when all the individuals and organizations involved can subdue their fire-like anger and prejudice, will we be able to achieve the genuine peace.
And only when these fire-like mindsets can be calmed down within our organizations, will the worries of the (entire) people can be relieved to naught. So, ceasefire should be meant for extinguishing the fiery concerns of our people. All organizations are wanted to reflect on this very notion of the two semantic components of cease and fire. We have our own opinion, we can’t deny. But I’m confident we are all able to overcome these bitter experiences. What we ought to compete is who the most forgiving individuals and / or organizations are. We are not to compete in our firing power. We need to vie with one another for our fire-extinguishing power. The whole country is watching us with great expectation.
There is a world famous saying: Many can be deceived for a while, some, forever but all cannot be done so forever. People will know in the long run. What appeals to me more is an advice by a senior monk from Inle region in around 1988.
He gave me two case studies of U Poe Sein, a great theatrical artiste of his days, and Sein Bayda,the leader of a famous Myanmar orchestra. The former is noted for his skills in negotiation of steps whereas the latter is a world famous performer. Our reverend monk said that although Poe Sein, the great, is highly skillful in negotiation of steps, the audience know when he misses one movement in performance. Similarly, although the audience cannot perform as good as Sein Bayda, they know when he misses a beat. The message he would like to give to me is to never think lowly of my supporters, followers and fans.
So, I’d like to advise you all not to underestimate the reasoning power of our people. So, I want you all to take steps forward with the popular support. In this regard, we need to be courageous enough to tread on the path of change. Naturally, we are more convenient with our daily routine activities. But to start something new, we need courage, (correct) thinking, qualification. I believe we are all possessed with this ability.
It is sorrowful to learn that there are still some organizations who have not signed NCA yet. What I’d like to say is who harbours greater magnanimity–the government, the Tatmadaw or the indigenous organizations? Who are more forgiving? Who are living in the present, forgetting the past? Instead of competing with one another in firing power, we’d better vie in fire-fighting power.
Then the state counsellor talked about the seven-point roadmap( separately reported on the front page).
Concerning the democratic federal union, I’ve repeatedly explained what democracy means. But I don’t think it is still not enough. So, I’d like to reiterate that democracy has both rights and responsibilities. The rule by people is a system of governance under which each individual is responsible. So, I’d like all those involved in this peace process to bring the responsibilities to the fore, leaving the rights behind. Let bygones be bygones.
Nothing is permanent, it is said. So, we’d better ponder over what kind of heritage we’ll leave to the country when we leave (this earth). I’d like you all to leave legacy that will have a historical value. It’s easier said than done. It’s really difficult (to admonish oneself), to extinguish the internal fire. As known to you all, the flames of war are raging rather wildly in Rakhine State which we need to put out.
The external fire can be extinguished in no time but the anger and hatred burning in our heart and soul will be rather difficult to bring under control. So, subduing these evil feelings is incumbent upon each and everybody. We’re all responsible to avoid talking hate speech, putting the fuel into the fire, fanning the flame, saying the frost is fire. We are brave enough to take drastic, legal action within the framework of law. I’m confident we’ll be supported by our people.
So, who want the genuine peace? Who don’t want it? These people will know soon. And the people will be watching closely. As we’re treading on the path to democracy, we’d lay emphasis on public opinion, public idea and public view. I don’t say our people are always right. They may stay on a wrong path for some period of time. But they will not always be in wrong direction. If there are things they don’t understand, it is our duty to clarify things. As long as people understand (the situation) well enough, they are believed to support the peace process in a correct manner.
May I conclude by saying that I understand you brethren might have harboured some bitter feelings.
I request you not to look back at the past, just draw lessons from it. Just think of our future generations in a manner in which they will not suffer the woes and sorrows we have felt in our past. Leave the best heritage to your nation i.e. peace. To achieve it, put out the fire burning in your heart and soul. This is my request.
I thank you.( An unofficial translation)