A Message from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's leader, Nobel Peace Laureate

01 September 2002
I would like to thank all of you for the interest you have taken in Burma and for all that you have done to help our cause. I think it was due to the efforts of people like you that my release was able to get through in May, but this is not really enough. My release does not mean release for all the people in Burma. What we are working for is an improvement in the situation of the country [so] that the people may benefit from the changes. Without such changes, my release means nothing at all. During the last few months, I have had opportunities to meet the people of my country again. I have been able to go around and to see what it is like. It is an improvement in my situation, the fact that I have been able to travel, but during my travels, I have discovered that there is so much more to be done for this country than I had ever imagined. The people are desperate for change. They all know that there should be a better world waiting for them and in my opinion, our people deserve a better world because they have the right sort of spirit. They have hope and they know what they want. The only thing they do not know is how they could get what they want. In order to get what they want, they need help... what they want is not wrong, what they want is security, justice, they want progress [and] they want prosperity. They want all the basic things that ordinary human beings want. They are not asking for too much, they are just asking for very simple things. For this reason, we all have a duty to do whatever we can to help our people to realize their aspirations. Our people are not greedy, they are not over-ambitious, they are simply asking for what every human being should have the right to ask for. I would like to request [our] friends all over the world to understand that quick change is necessary. Speedy change is the way to resolve Burma's problems. We cannot afford indefinite delay. If we delay too much, that in itself will create its own problems. Some people talk about a steady pace - there is a great difference between a reasonable steady pace and a slow one that can be counter-productive. The longer we take over the transition period the more likely it is that this transition period will lead nowhere. The longer we take over proposed changes, the more likely it is that people will lose confidence in the sincerity of those who say they do want change. From the point of view of the National League for Democracy, change could not come fast enough. If change came today, it would still be a bit too late because change should have come to our country many years ago. It's because change has been so delayed that our people are suffering, particularly the younger people. I have been greatly concerned over the situation of our young people who are frustrated, who know that they are capable of more than they are allowed to do. Because of that, I would like to say: change, change and change, and speedy change is what we should all aim towards. Of course, there are those who will say that not all change is for the good. Certainly, I agree with that. We are not asking for any kind of change. We are asking for the kind of positive change that will open up our country in order that our people will fulfill their potential. And this sort of change could not come too early. Our people deserve better than they have now. I do not say that the Burmese people are without weaknesses. Certainly, I should know that more than anybody else because I have worked with them and I have often been frustrated by their timidity in certain aspects. But there [are] also among them, people who are truly courageous, who are prepared to sacrifice everything for what they think is necessary for this country. Such big heartedness and such courage must not go unrewarded. Because of that, I would like to appeal to our friends all over the world to do everything they can to ensure that we progress towards democracy. By which I mean, a society which guarantees our people both security and freedom as quickly as possible. Let me thank you once again for your staunch friendship and I look forward to the day when I can welcome you all to Burma with happiness and with gratitude. Thank you. Produced by Altsean-Burma for the Euro-Burma Office