Burmese democracy activist hopes to learn from Czech Republic

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The Czech Republic - as has often been said - is a country in transition. The Burmese democracy activist Banya Mon is one of a group of people from Burma hoping to learn about that transition process. Last week Banya Mon - a member of the Mon people - was a visitor here at Radio Prague. Ian Willoughby asked him just what was the aim of his organization - the Mon Youth Progressive Organization.

"We are struggling for democracy in Burma and we want to apply democracy in Burma."

Most listeners will know the name Aung San Suu Kyi. Is your organisation connected with her?

"We are struggling together with Aung San Suu Kyi. Aung San Suu Kyi is our democracy leader. We are not members of her party but we are working together."

Have you or any of your family ever been subjected to violence?

"Yes, my brother was killed by Burmese troops when he was working in my parents' field. At that time he was 17 years old."

Why have you come to Prague?

"We're trying to learn some experience from the Czech Republic, in particular about the transition period since 1989. We try to apply what is relevant to our movement."

Are you optimistic for the future of Burma?

"Yes, because of our movement and pressure from the international community the regime has been holding talks with our leader Aung San Suu Kyi for one year."

Getting back to your stay in the Czech Republic, for the last few days you've been here at Radio Prague - have you learned anything here?

"Yes, we have learned how to decide to broadcast the news and we have learned how to make recordings in the studio. I have seen the news in Radio Prague's English section on the website - I get some ideas from it."