Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

Daw Aung San Suu
Kyi
1945

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

Author Quotes

Within a system which denies the existence of basic human rights, fear tends to be the order of the day. Fear of imprisonment, fear of torture, fear of death, fear of losing friends, family, property or means of livelihood, fear of poverty, fear of isolation, fear of failure. A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve man's self-respect and inherent human dignity. It is not easy for a people conditioned by fear under the iron rule of the principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man.

When we think of the state of the economy, we are not thinking in terms of money flow. We are thinking in terms of the effect on everyday lives of people.

Whatever help we may want from the international community now or in the future, we want to make

We will not change in matters of policy until such time as dialogue has begun.

We want to empower our people; we want to strengthen them; we want to provide them with the kind of qualifications that will enable them to build up their own country themselves.

We say that the problems of Burma are due to bad government, not because the situation in Burma is bad in itself. It is because of bad government that we are in such trouble. So it is like pouring water into a bucket with a hole in it.

We just want to be free.

We have faith in the power to change what needs to be changed but we are under no illusion that the transition from dictatorship to liberal democracy will be easy, or that democratic government will mean the end of all our problems. We know that our greatest challenges lie ahead of us and that our struggle to establish a stable, democratic society will continue beyond our own life span.

We are not out to boast that there is so much percentage of growth per year. Our real concern is how it affects the lives of people, the future of our country.

We are against violence because we think violence begets violence. And we look at it with a long-term point of view. We are not looking at it just in terms of the next month or the next year. We are looking at it in terms of the future of our country, and we think that for the future of our country it is not a good idea to encourage violence.

We always think that everybody can do a little bit more, if not a lot more.

We achieve everything by our efforts alone. Our fate is not decided by an almighty God. We decide our own fate by our actions. You have to gain mastery over yourself. . . . It is not a matter of sitting back and accepting.

Those of us who decided to work for democracy in Burma made our choice in the conviction that the danger of standing up for basic human rights in a repressive society was preferable to the safety of a quiescent life in servitude. Ours is a nonviolent movement that depends on faith in the human predilection for fair play and compassion.

There is so much that we need to do for our country. I don't think that we can afford to wait.

The wellspring of courage and endurance in the face of unbridled power is generally a firm belief in the sanctity of ethical principles combined with a historical sense that despite all setbacks the condition of man is set on an ultimate course for both spiritual and material advancement. It is his capacity for self-improvement and self-redemption which most distinguishes man from the mere brute. At the root of human responsibility is the concept of perfection, the urge to achieve it, the intelligence to find a path towards it, and the will to follow that path if not to the end at least the distance needed to rise above individual limitations and environmental impediments. It is man's vision of a world fit for rational, civilized humanity which leads him to dare and to suffer to build societies free from want and fear. Concepts such as truth, justice and compassion cannot be dismissed as trite when these are often the only bulwarks which stand against ruthless power.

The struggle for democracy and human rights in Burma is a struggle for life and dignity. It is a struggle that encompasses our political, social and economic aspirations.

The quintessential revolution is that of the spirit, born of an intellectual conviction of the need for change in those mental attitudes and values which shape the course of a nation's development. A revolution which aims merely at changing official policies and institutions with a view to an improvement in material conditions has little chance of genuine success. Without a revolution of the spirit, the forces which produced the iniquities of the old order would continue to be operative, posing a constant threat to the process of reform and regeneration. It is not enough merely to call for freedom, democracy and human rights. There has to be a united determination to persevere in the struggle, to make sacrifices in the name of enduring truths, to resist the corrupting influences of desire, ill will, ignorance and fear.

The people of my country want the two freedoms that spell security: freedom from want and freedom from fear.

The effort necessary to remain uncorrupted in an environment where fear is an integral part of everyday existence is not immediately apparent to those fortunate enough to live in states governed by the rule of law. Just laws do not merely prevent corruption by meting out impartial punishment to offenders. They also help to create a society in which people can fulfill the basic requirements necessary for the preservation of human dignity without recourse to corrupt practices. Where there are no such laws, the burden of upholding the principles of justice and common decency falls on the ordinary people. It is the cumulative effect on their sustained effort and steady endurance which will change a nation where reason and conscience are warped by fear into one where legal rules exist to promote man's desire for harmony and justice while restraining the less desirable destructive traits in his nature.

The democracy process provides for political and social change without violence.

The case of human rights is the case of human dignity, human security, of human beings.

The case for human rights is hardly one that should need to be argued,

Sometimes I didn't even have enough money to eat. I became so weak from malnourishment that my hair fell out, and I couldn't get out of bed.

Some would insist that man is primarily an economic animal interested only in his material well-being. This is too narrow a view of a species which has produced numberless brave men and women who are prepared to undergo relentless persecution to uphold deeply held beliefs and principles. It is my pride and inspiration that such men and women exist in my country today.

Some believe that the only way to remove the authoritarian regime and replace it with a democratic one is through violent means. I would like to set the precedent of political change through political settlement, not through violence.

Author Picture
First Name
Daw Aung San Suu
Last Name
Kyi
Birth Date
1945
Bio

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