Myanmar is an independent and sovereign nation. Just before Myanmar became free, the architect of our independence, Bogyoke Aung San, said our people would have to make strenuous efforts for 10 to 20 years after independence to carry out the task of rebuilding and developing the country.
As part of rebuilding efforts, he held talks with traders and merchants at the Sorrento Villa one year before independence and drew plans that were to be implemented as soon as the country achieved freedom. However, the plans could not be realized. As soon as Myanmar gained independence, the country was besieged by rifts among political parties, sectarianism, and armed conflicts. The country had to struggle once again for peace and stability, rather than focusing on rebuilding efforts.
Since the time we gained independence, we have lost much to armed conflicts. As there was no peace, there was no stability, and we lagged behind in many areas of development.
As a result, our country became one of the least developed countries. The world of today will not wait for our country.
For more than seventy years, peace, stability, and development in Myanmar have been a casualty to conflict. Even today, Myanmar is struggling to escape from the trap of poverty and conflict, and great efforts will be needed if we are to catch up with the rest of the world. We, the people of Myanmar, have been waiting for almost 71 years for a better future and we believe that only peace can help make our dreams come true.
Now is the time to decide to leave to our future generations a unified and strong country, without armed conflicts. We cannot move towards development without peace. While its neighbouring countries are enjoying the fruits of development, Myanmar has not had an opportunity to get on the road to progress. However, we can take lessons from our neighbours and turn them to our advantage.
But first, it is important that we cultivate a mindset and culture worthy of a democracy. In fact, building a democracy means building a culture. Without changing our ideology, concepts, and stance, we cannot make use of democracy. Democracy comes from the people and we must establish a culture that deserves democracy.
Today, Myanmar is transitioning to a democracy to bring about mutual respect, mutual understanding, freedom, peace, and equality to the people, which are essential to an independent nation.
To achieve these goals, our people must participate in the democratic reforms and commit to building a federal democratic nation, which can guarantee democratic rights to all its people, on the occasion of the 71st anniversary of our Independence Day.