Sunday, December 12, 2010

Transcript of a conversation with Aung San Suu Kyi

This is a transcript of a recorded conversation between Nora Murat (the Director of Amnesty International Malaysia) and Aung San Suu Kyi. This conversation took place on 24 November, 2010. The transcript and the recording were supplied Amnesty International Malaysia.
You can listen to the audio of the conversation here.
Nora: Madam my name is Nora and I am the director of Amnesty International Malaysia and I have with me right here youth activists and youth members right now in Malaysia. We have been trying to get you and right now Amnesty International Australia is also listening in. We were unable to contact you earlier but we have about 10 countries with us that wanted to speak to you especially the youth of Asia Pacific. We are wondering if right now if you can give a personal message to the youth of the Asia Pacific if that is alright with you. If we can just have 5 mins of your time right now and we will then record your message and then we will give it to our youth is that alright?
ASSK: Alright. Are you going to read out the questions?
Nora: We have a few questions here, can we ask you?
ASSK: Ok.
Nora: This is one from Amnesty International youth activist. His name is [...]. His asking you can you kindly advise us on how youth can continue working on Burma and who should our action be targeted to?
ASSK: At the moment what we would like our young friends abroad to do is try to do everything they can to bring about the release of the remaining 2,200 political prisoners in Burma. Some of them are young people like themselves, some are not out of their 20s yet, and yet they have been given long long prison sentences. So the first thing that we would like is the youth to increase awareness of the situation of political prisoners in Burma. Do you think that they would be happy to do that?
Nora: Yes we would definitely be happy to do that. The second question Madam is from Amnesty International Australia - her name is Larnie. She is asking you, "how can we help to further the democracy and human rights for people of Burma?"
ASSK: I think first of all people all over the world needs to know exactly how much human rights violations are going on in Burma. I think some don’t quite know. Yesterday I was speaking to somebody from India. And she was surprised because I said that in order to link up to the internet I had to make an application and this is not always granted. So we have very little freedom of information and freedom of communication compared to other countries in this region, so if the youth of other countries use their opportunity to increase awareness of situation in Burma, for us, because they have more access to IT technology and they have more access to freedom of information than we have. That would help us a great deal. In other words if they would do the work that we are prevented from doing ourselves.
Nora: Alright Madam the last question will be from Amnesty International New Zealand - her name is Lena. Her question to you is "what inspired you to continue with your cause for all these years despite all the obstacles in your way?"
ASSK: ...the lot of our people when I look at what people are having to go through in this country, then I think that its everybody’s duty to do everything they can to change the situation. And I must also add that I have very, very good colleagues. They’ve really been through so much and yet they don’t stop trying. So with colleagues like that how I can even think of stopping trying?
Nora: Yeah. Madam we have one final question is that alright? One more?
ASSK: Yes dear.
Nora: This is from Amnesty International Philippines. His name is Nathan. His question is "how is the situation in Burma since your release from the house arrest?"
ASSK: Well at the moment of course I have been walking the streets for about 10 days what I’ve seen certainly is that there are a great many more youth involved in our democratic process than there used to be. There’s a lot of enthusiasm on the part of young people which I did not see 7 years ago so that is very, very encouraging for us and I would very much like the young people of Burma to be able to communicate with young people abroad, so they can find new ways of helping to bring our struggle to a victorious end.
Nora: This is a question from me and my colleague Jenny Leong in Australia: "Madam - because we do a lot of campaign for Amnesty International - but which regional government do you see as being the most important for the young people from this region to lobby in order to put political pressure on the Burmese authorities to meet basic human rights standard? Which target?"
ASSK: I think we need all the ASEAN countries to rally around to work in coordination - as well as, of course India and China, I need hardly add that. But if we’re talking about ASEAN countries we need all of them to work in coordination. Thailand is important of course because its our neighbour and Singapore is important because it’s an economic power, Malaysia is important because in some ways we should have progressed along the same lines, and Indonesia is important because (laughs) Indonesia used to be a military dictatorship... and the Philippines are important because it’s a democratic government with a President at present who is very, very sympathetic to us. So each ASEAN country is important in its own way and what I would like to see is for the youth of those countries to be united in an effort to help us in Burma
Nora: Madam thank you so much from Amnesty International Malaysia, Amnesty International Australia and all the youth network in the region and all the youth and who are really working hard for the release of Burma political prisoners and hopefully that we will see a better future very, very soon. Thank you very much madam.
ASSK: Well thank you. What I would like to see is a group of ASEAN youth coming to visit us here.
Nora: We will do.
ASSK: If you could possibly arrange it.
Nora: We will do.
ASSK: Very good.
Nora: Say HI to her.
Everyone: Hiiiiiiiiii!
Nora: Thank you madam.
ASSK: Thank you. Good bye.