Saturday, November 17, 2012

Majority should look through the minority’s eyes: Suu Kyi

Saturday, 17 November 2012 14:03 Mizzima News

Speaking to an audience of 8,000 Burmese, including many refugees, at Oxford Senior Secondary School in Delhi on Friday, Burmese pro-democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi said that sometimes the majority has to look at things through a minority’s eyes “When I came to India, I felt that I was coming to a friendly country with a long tradition,’ she said. “All the [Burmese] people living in India are like our family members: brothers, nephews, nieces and children. So I want you to look on [them] as family members. I want to say solemnly that our country is a ‘union.’ ”

She said that the Burmese living in India nowadays are from various ethnic origins. “The majority [Bamar or Burman] became a minority in India,” she said, addressing the audience in Burmese language. “I think that is very good. Sometimes, a majority needs to look at things through a minority’s eyes.”

Aung San Suu Kyi addresses an audience of more than 800 members of the Burmese community and Indian supporters on Friday at the Oxford Senior Secondary School in Vikas Puri, New Delhi.

There are more than 10,000 refugees from Burma in New Delhi, but data shows that less than 100 of them are Bamar. Ethnic Chins make up the majority.

Some Burmese residing near the Indo-Burmese border travelled more than 2,000 miles to hear Suu Kyi speak.

“I want our country to be a secure union where all people can live peacefully,” she said. “But we all need to make an effort to build that kind of union. Different ethnic groups have different cultures, different hopes, different languages and different religions. Despite these differences, we need to bring about unity. To bring about unity we need to have mutual understanding and mutual respect. To achieve that, one has to listen to what another person says. A person should not highlight only the things he wants. One must listen to voices from both sides.

“We entered into the pro-democracy movement in attempt to achieve national reconciliation,” she continued. “To achieve reconciliation and to get mutual understanding, we should not have one-sided views. We need to consider the opinions of both sides and the situation of the entire Union.

“In our Union, we should not think that one region’s problem is not related to ours. In fact, it is related to the whole country. Wherever a problem takes place, we need to look at its effect on the entire country. Therefore, I want you to look at problems from the Union’s point of view.

 “That’s why we need talks along the lines of a ‘Second Panglong Conference’ that brings the various ethnic groups together in achieving unity— a unity that comes from our hearts.

“I mean a conference that will promote the ‘Spirit of ‘Panglong,’” she said. “At the 1947 Panglong Conference, not all the ethnic groups attended. We acknowledge that. But, that Panglong Conference made the ‘Union Spirit’ take root [in Burma].

“We still cannot guarantee that it will take root and grow,” she continued. “The roots were not given the rights to grow. So we cannot say that today our Union is like a great strong mature tree that produces fruit and flowers,” she said.

“To achieve our objective, we must have the ‘Union Spirit.’ We must encourage it. We must water the roots. We must prepare the soil. All this needs to be done by the citizens of our time.”
The Oxford Senior Secondary School where Suu Kyi spoke accepts Burmese children; many of whom are able to attend the school free of charge. The school is situated in the Vikas Puri Quarter where many Burmese people live.

Suu Kyi and her entourage flew from Delhi to Bangalore [Bengaluru] on Friday evening.

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