Vice President Duwa Lashi La: First Speech to the people of Myanmar

My fellow citizens!

Firstly, I would like to say that I am really privileged and honored to serve the country and the people I love.

Let me start by giving you a pledge that I will do all I can, all the time, to SERVE you. For decades our experience has been different. We – as the people, -have always been ruled by governments that oppressed and exploited us. They have never tried to serve us. I will do all I can, myself and in collaboration with colleagues from the NUG, to build a new kind of government, one that is listening to the people. A government that is serving the people and that is here to care and protect.

As we all know, our democracy came under deadly attack at dawn on February 1st by the military coup. With the coup, our freedom was snatched and our future was stolen. Under the coup, more than seven hundred people have been brutally killed, more than three thousand people have been arrested and dozens of people are missing. Every day, people are tortured, and killed, shops are looted and houses are raided. Villages are attacked by airstrikes and thousands are forced to flee to forests. As a result, families are torn apart, lives lost and hopes diminished! Growing up in a war-torn state, I know how it feels to live under such brutality.

Despite such brutal acts of military terrorist, we have seen millions of people getting out of their houses, taking to the streets and exercising democracy to end the military dictatorship and restore our hard-earned democracy. Thank you, people. Thank you very much for your bravery. As the vice-president of the country, I would like to pay tribute to the sacrifice of those women and men, girls and boys who courageously fought for our freedom to the point of losing their lives. They are our heroes; they will go down in history as the heroes of democracy and the heroes of the people. We will always pay tribute to the ultimate sacrifice they made for the freedom of our country. Condolences to those who have lost their children, their parents and their loved ones. My heart is also broken. We will never forget your loss. I also give this pledge to you: we will work as long as it is needed to bring those responsible for loss of life to justice. We will bring to daylight, truth; full truth and we will bring justice. Thank you very much!

I also would like to remember those who are arbitrarily arrested, unjustly charged and wickedly tortured. They are suffering, not for committing any criminal act, but for just peacefully exercising their right to show their disapproval of the military dictatorship. We have seen and heard the news of torture and suffering. Friends and families of those who are arrested, we are with you. Thanks for the sacrifice you are making for our freedom, our democracy and our future. We, as the National Unity Government, will gird our loins and flex our muscles to ensure their release and vindicate their innocence. Thank you very much!

With Regard to the ASEAN Summit resolution, Myanmar appreciates ASEAN’s efforts to find a way to resolve the political conflict. However, it would be better if ASEAN valued the views of the Myanmar people and approached with resolution that helps the country’s problems, but the negotiated path decided by the ASEAN Summit is not the solution that the people of the whole Burma want. Our National Unity Government (NUG) will not use negotiations with the Military regime against the will of the people. Our government will consider negotiations only when the public desire reflects such conditions.

My fellow civil servants, thank you very much for faithfully serving our country. Moreover, thank you very much for refusing to yield to the rules of the military dictatorship by joining the Civil Disobedience Movement. Although the military have taken power in Naypyidaw, they have not been able to exercise that power over the country because of you. Thank you! I know you have made a lot of sacrifices; you have lost your income, your careers and some of you have even lost precious time with your loved ones as you had to run and hide. I know you are threatened, blamed by the junta propagandists and even named in warrants as subjects for arrest. However, you are respected by all the people of the country. People recognize and appreciate that you have refused to be the servants of the evil terrorist usurpers of state power and have remained true to the noble mission of your profession – to serve the people. To serve life and not to serve death. To work for order and peace, and not to spread chaos and violence. And to protect and help those who are vulnerable and in need. By nominating you for the Nobel Peace Prize even the world has recognized your actions and praised the courage and dignity with which you are serving the true mission of your profession. I know what it feels like to live in fear as I myself am one of the most wanted men by the dictators. Again, thank you very much for your bravery and tenacity. You can be assured that we, the National Unity Government, will do whatever we can to help you. You will be the backbone of the future structure of our federal democratic country that will care about peace, development and prosperity of all nationalities, of all families and all individuals, of the whole nation.

Generation Z, (young men and women) you are the future of the country we love, and today you are the ones shaping and creating that future with your incredible bravery and with your inspiring talent and creativity. I have seen your courage; I have heard your voice. I feel encouraged by your courage; I feel inspired by your talent. I will take your lead and be with you on this journey. I have a lot of confidence in you. I know that your vision of a future Myanmar is the right one. A vision of the country where children are safe and happy and without fear. A country where young people can get a good education. A country which is fair and inclusive and nobody is left behind and nobody suffers discrimination. A country where you can have 21st century jobs. Thank you very much for those innovative actions and creative protests against the military coup, the military dictatorship and the military brutality. I would like you to keep on fighting for freedom and democracy, and peace and prosperity. As you take the fight as yours, the reward will be yours and the future will be yours. Thank you very much.

Let me add how much respect and appreciation I have for the work of our journalists, reporters, photographers and citizen journalists. Thanks to you, we know what is going on all around the country. How bravely people are opposing the attempted military takeover.  Thanks to you, no crime nor atrocity committed by the junta’s soldiers remains hidden and in secret. Thanks to you, we all know and the whole world knows. Thank you for that. On behalf of the NUG, I am making a pledge that we will build a country in which the media will be free to do their work independently and professionally, without censorship and oppression.

There are many more to mention, journalists, volunteers, humanitarian aid workers, musicians, social influencers, from all walks of life – a list too endless to mention. Thank you very much! Finally, I would like to say that we, the National Unity Government, have a clear road map; a road map to end the military dictatorship, a road map to build a federated democratic union that the country has been envisaging for more than seven decades, and a road map to build a nation that embraces everyone regardless of our gender, our skin color, our religion, and our ethnicity; a road map to build a nation characterized by peace, prosperity and charity. May our cause succeed!  Revolution shall prevail!