Skip navigation.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

(1945 - )

Biography:

Burmese Political Leader, Chairman and General Secretary of the National League for Democracy in Burma, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Rafto Prize and Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought

Quotes
A more significant phase should mean serious political dialogue.
Among the basic freedoms to which men aspire that their lives might be full and uncramped, freedom from fear stands out as both a means and an end. A people who would build a nation in which strong, democratic institutions are firmly established as a guarantee against state-induced power must first learn to liberate their own minds from apathy and fear.
But passive compassion alone is not enough to achieve victory in the struggle against inhumanity. A Buddhist story that illustrates the inadequacy of the mere feeling of compassion tells of a mother with paralyzed arms who helplessly watched her child being swept away along a fast-flowing river. Those who are compassionate but who do not possess the wisdom to find the means of relieving the sufferings of their fellow human beings are compared to that mother. Meaningful compassion has to be active; it must seek the means to bring comfort to those who are in need of succor. Wisdom is necessary to enable us to discover those means.
But we know that we are not alone. The cause of liberty and justice finds sympathetic responses around the world. Thinking and feeling people everywhere, regardless of color or creed, understand the deeply rooted human need for a meaningful existence that goes beyond the mere gratification of material desires. Those fortunate enough to live in societies where they are entitled to full political rights can reach out to help their less fortunate brethren in other areas of our troubled planet.
Confidence-building is not something that can go on forever. If it goes on forever then it becomes counterproductive.
Each man has in him the potential to realize the truth through his own will and endeavor and to help others to realize it. Human life therefore is infinitely precious.
Every government must consider the security of the country. That is just part of the responsibilities of any government. But true security can only come out of unity within a country where there are so many ethnic nationalities.
Fear is not the natural state of civilized people.
Fearlessness may be a gift but perhaps more precious is the courage acquired through endeavour, courage that comes from cultivating the habit of refusing to let fear dictate one's actions, courage that could be described as grace under pressure — grace which is renewed repeatedly in the face of harsh, unremitting pressure.
Gandhi, that great apostle of non-violence, and Aung San, the founder of a national army, were very different personalities, but as there is an inevitable sameness about the challenges of authoritarian rule anywhere at any time, so there is a similarity in the intrinsic qualities of those who rise up to meet the challenge.