Alternative Asean Network on Burma
campaigns, advocacy and capacity-building for human rights





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The following excerpts have been translated from footage of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s tour of Mandalay Division, Kachin, State, Shan State, and Sagaing Division in the weeks leading up to the murderous attack on her entourage on 30 May 2003. She made these impromptu speeches at rallies that attracted thousands of people who traveled great distances to see her despite harassment and severe warnings by the authorities.

Photographs captured from the footage are available in the Daw Suu Photo Set 1 and Photo Set 2 in the Multimedia section. Postcards and the actual raw footage in PAL VHS form are also available upon request from Altsean-Burma


Longin/Lonkin, Kachin State
May 14, 2003

During this tour, the people have waited for us in all hours of the night to greet us. In the day, the people have waited for hours in the scorching sun to warmly welcome us. I don’t have the same speech for each town but … I would like to present something to you that we have experienced during our campaign trip. So I would like each individual to decide. That is what democracy is all about.

On our trip, we have had to endure many disturbances. We had to face them since Mandalay on our way to Kachin state. I would like the people to think about that and make up their own minds regarding this issue. The whole day, USDA made every effort to disturb us. They threatened the public by saying if people came and welcomed us, they would face problems, etc. We can not accept this type of threat. Another thing - they had these posters displayed along the way in the towns and villages but things like that do not affect us.

For more details on the attack, please see Altsean’s Report Card “Arrested”.


19 May 2003

Thank you very much for coming and attending the opening of our office despite the rain. Even though it is raining and the sky looks overcast and gloomy, your colorful umbrellas brighten up the day, just as we can see a bright future despite these dark days. Everyone has different political beliefs but it is not necessary to use force to attack one another…

If we were in a democratic country, the peoples’ freedom would be guaranteed. Only if the people are free, will our country be free. Everything is related to politics, there is nothing that is not political in nature. Politics is personal. I want to make sure that everyone understands it.

I don’t want people to say “I don’t know anything about politics” or “I don’t want to take part in it because I don’t want any problems”. One cannot have that kind of mindset. If you say politics has nothing to do with yourself, then what about when the price of rice and oil goes up? If politics has nothing to do with you, when the prices of rice and oil goes up, you should not moan or complain.

Pretend it has nothing to do with you. Is that possible? Can you do that? [People respond: No!] Yes, that is politics. Our country’s politics, our country’s future has something to do with you, each and every one of you.


Mogok, Shan State (was redesignated as being in Mandalay Division by the regime)
22 May 2003

It has been 15 years since I last visited Mogok. But during this time Mogok has not lost its strength or loyalty. You find out the true loyalty of people when one is faced with extreme difficulties in life. When things are going well, everyone is good.

If one is aware of the difference between right and wrong, but if one cannot stand behind the truth, one will become useless. I have faith in the younger generation. I know that we have the courage to stand firmly behind the truth. When we (NLD) see people like that, we understand that we have to work harder so that democracy can be achieved sooner, as soon as possible, in our country. The sooner we achieve democracy, the sooner these young people will have better opportunities. That is the time when the younger generation will be given a chance to make a positive contribution to society.


Kyat Pyin, Shan State
25 May 2003

I am so pleased to see how the people have acted and behaved in Kyat Pyin today. In today’s case, a huge number of people turned up, but all have acted responsibly with discipline and in an orderly fashion. And I honor you for that. When we first came into town, I was so proud of the people because you did not use force or violence means to deal with the protests against us. And I honor your tolerance.

People today here have shown what real strength is. Real strength does not involve violence. Another thing is, when we were on our way here I have heard people singing the national anthem. So I started thinking, the national anthem says “we love our country since it is our ancestral inheritance”. Yes, this country belongs to all of us. We must not forget that this country belongs to all of us. The main purpose of our struggle to re-establish democracy is to return the country to the people who own the country.


Thabagyin, near Mogok

NLD is an established organization. Some people could ask us why this organization would want to work for the benefit of the people. Why is your organization working for our benefit? Such questions could be asked … we believe that the democratic system necessary for the development of our country. By analyzing today’s world, we can see that most developed countries are democratic countries.”

(There are different kinds of governments) “It is said that a government despised by its people is the worst kind of government. The next kind of slightly better government is one that is feared by the people. A government praised by the people is a better one. The best kind of government is one that the people do not have to think about its existence. It means the country is very peaceful. For example, people won't notice if they’re riding in a car which is in completely perfect condition. These days we’re traveling a lot by road so I know well about cars. If the engine is working well and the road is smooth –we won’t even be aware that we’re traveling in a car from one place to another in a car But if the car is often breaking down, then you would easily notice that you’re traveling.


Monywa, Sagaing Division
29 May 2003

Whether one is involved in politics or not, actually whatever one does in life, the most important thing is one’s morale. If one has the right mindset, and if one puts in the right effort, there is no reason why one cannot successfully achieve their aims.

We depend on the people, especially the younger generation. We have gained all the strength we needed when we saw that the young people have acted responsibly in such confronting situations.

While on this trip, I have seen the people united, this makes me believe that change is coming. I have seen the people united in Monywa, right here and right in front of my eyes. Because of this no matter what difficulties we may face, it cannot distract us.

There is a difference between fortitude and acceptance. To accept things is to say that you know you are being treated in an improper way but you just let things be. It is not an approach you should adopt in life. But to have fortitude is much better. You have to keep your spirits high even in difficult times and that is the only way democracy can be achieved faster.


Date unclear

We would like to ask the authorities why they give preference to providing protection to the USDA? On one occasion, the USDA didn't heed the advice of the police. Why does the USDA treat even the police as if they are persons not worthy of attention?

Therefore, we would like to ask if the Association is an organization outside the rule of law.

Is the existence of an organization outside the rule of law proper in a country? Is that appropriate? Is that legitimate? It is very questionable. It’s politically correct to raise many questions.