chapter  9
Aung San Suu Kyi’s Strategy
Pages 5

Ethnicism is a serious problem which must be solved. But it is quite clear that Aung San Suu Kyi’s primary objective is to bring demo cracy to the fore. To this end, she has appealed to the army ‘which my father formed’ and which, as Aung San emphasised, is to serve the entire nation and the people. This leads Ne Win to reply that the army has held the nation together and saved it from dissolving into chaos. Aung San Suu Kyi wants the monks to support demo cracy but, like her father, she would probably not make Buddhism the state religion. Ne Win could have objected to this by drawing attention to the fact that the democratic parties incited the monks to participate actively in politics, something which is considered illegal. As mentioned earlier, the monks in Mandalay have refused gifts from military personnel and their families since 1991, thereby cutting these people off from the accumulation of religious merit for their kamma. Aung San Suu Kyi is attempting to construct an interesting combination of liberalism, humanism and Buddhism-all universal ideals which cut through cultures and national parameters. The liberal element in Buddhism is that all individuals must have, in principle at least, an equal chance to acquire religious merit, according to the existing preconditions. Each individual is responsible for the administration of these preconditions according to the ethics of Buddhism. The humane aspect is stressed by equating Buddhism with the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.