There is a time to be quiet and a time to talk.
If I advocate cautious optimism it is not because I do not have faith in the future but because I do not want to encourage blind faith.
By helping others, you will learn how to help yourselves.
If you want to bring an end to long-standing conflict, you have to be prepared to compromise.
If you choose to do something, then you shouldn’t say it’s a sacrifice, because nobody forced you to do it.
If you do nothing you get nothing.
It is often in the name of cultural integrity as well as social stability and national security that democratic reforms based on human rights are resisted by authoritarian governments.
Since we live in this world, we have to do our best for this world.
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.
If I were the blushing kind, I would blush to be called a hero.
Human beings want to be free and however long they may agree to stay locked up, to stay oppressed, there will come a time when they say ‘That’s it.’ Suddenly they find themselves doing something that they never would have thought they would be doing, simply because of the human instinct that makes them turn their face towards freedom.
It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.
I wish people wouldn’t think of me as a saint – unless they agree with the definition of a saint that a saint’s a sinner who goes on trying.
I’ve always been strongly on the side of non-violence.
At this age, I should be leading a quiet life.
Burmese authors and artists can play the role that artists everywhere play. They help to mold the outlook of a society – not the whole outlook, and they are not the only ones to mold the outlook of society, but they have an important role to play there.
I’m feeling a little delicate.
The best way to help Burma is to empower the people of Burma, to help us have enough self-confidence to obtain what we want for ourselves.
As long as there is no law in Burma, any individual here can be arrested at any time.
Whatever help we may want from the international community now or in the future, we want to make sure that this help is tailored to help our people to help themselves.
War is not the only arena where peace is done to death.
I’ve always tried to explain democracy is not perfect. But it gives you a chance to shape your own destiny.
My attitude to peace is rather based on the Burmese definition of peace – it really means removing all the negative factors that destroy peace in this world. So peace does not mean just putting an end to violence or to war, but to all other factors that threaten peace, such as discrimination, such as inequality, poverty.
I’m not the only one working for democracy in Burma – there are so many people who have worked for it because they believe that this is the only way we can maintain the dignity of our people.
If you look at the democratic process as a game of chess, there have to be many, many moves before you get to checkmate. And simply because you do not make any checkmate in three moves does not mean it’s stalemate. There’s a vast difference between no checkmate and stalemate. This is what the democratic process is like.
Humor is one of the best ingredients of survival.
When you decide to follow a certain path, you should follow it to the end and not be diverted from it for personal reasons.
People keep saying I’ve changed. I used to be confrontational. But I’m – I haven’t changed. It was – it’s just that circumstances have changed.
I don’t believe in professional dissidents. I think it’s just a phase, like adolescence.
I don’t want to see the military falling. I want to see the military rising to dignified heights of professionalism and true patriotism.
I don’t want to be president, but I want to be free to decide whether or not I want to be president of this country.
This was the way I was brought up to think of politics, that politics was to do with ethics, it was to do with responsibility, it was to do with service, so I think I was conditioned to think like that, and I’m too old to change now.
Assuming the chairmanship of ASEAN isn’t going to do anything about improving the lives of people.
I would like to have seen my sons growing up.
To be forgotten, is to die a little.
For me, ‘revolution’ simply means radical change.
I don’t think of myself as unbreakable. Perhaps I’m just rather flexible and adaptable.
I’ve been repeating ad nauseam that we in Burma, we are weak with regard to the culture of negotiated compromises, that we have to develop the ability to achieve such compromises.
Human beings the world over need freedom and security that they may be able to realize their full potential.
Peace as a goal is an ideal which will not be contested by any government or nation, not even the most belligerent.
The value systems of those with access to power and of those far removed from such access cannot be the same. The viewpoint of the privileged is unlike that of the underprivileged.
With the right kind of institutions, starting with the rule of law, Burma could progress very quickly.
The Nobel Peace Prize opened up a door in my heart.
After all it was my father who founded the Burmese army and I do have a sense of warmth towards the Burmese army.
I do protect human rights, and I hope I shall always be looked up as a champion of human rights.
I think sometimes if you are alone, you are freer because your time is your own.
I don’t think you can work on feelings in politics, apart from anything else, political change can come very unexpectedly, sometimes overnight when you least expect it.
One should mature over 20 years.
The democracy process provides for political and social change without violence.
We will not change in matters of policy until such time as dialogue has begun.
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.
All repressive laws must be revoked, and laws introduced to protect the rights of the people.
If you can make people understand why freedom is so important through the arts, that would be a big help.
I could listen to the radio and I had access to books from time to time. Not all the time.
My attitude is, do as much as I can while I’m free. And if I’m arrested I’ll still do as much as I can.
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.
I only used a cell phone for the first time after I was released. I had difficulty coping with it because it seemed so small and insubstantial.
No, I was never afraid.
I think when the people in Burma stop thinking about whether or not they’re free, it’ll mean that they’re free.
Freedom and democracy are dreams you never give up.
My opinion is the greatest reward that any government could get is the approval of the people. If the people are happy and the people are at peace and the government has done something for them, that’s the greatest reward I think any government could hope for.
The judiciary in Burma is not independent. It’s widely known, everybody knows that.
Sometimes I think that a parody of democracy could be more dangerous than a blatant dictatorship, because that gives people an opportunity to avoid doing anything about it.
In terms of the history of a far reaching movement, 20 years is not that long.
I felt that it was my duty not to senselessly waste my time. And since I didn’t want to waste my time, I tried to accomplish as much as possible.
Fundamental violations of human rights always lead to people feeling less and less human.
I haven’t heard any music on the BBC World Service in a long time. Maybe I’m listening at the wrong times. But not one single piece of music.
What does Burma have to give the United States? We can give you the opportunity to engage with people who are ready and willing to change a society.
Dissidents can’t be dissidents forever; we are dissidents because we don’t want to be dissidents.
I look forward to trying the Internet.
In the end, I think people prefer the good to win rather than the bad.
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.
I don’t want Burma to be a basket case forever.
In politics, you also have to be cautiously optimistic.
I was heartened that people everywhere want certain basic freedoms, even if they live in a totally different cultural environment.
I’ve always said that the more coordinated the efforts of the international community are, the better it will be for democracy in Burma.
Maybe it is something to do with age, but I have become fonder of poetry than of prose.
You cannot compromise unless people talk to you.
I was a bit of a coward when I was small. I was terribly frightened of the dark.
One wants to be together with one’s family. That’s what families are about.
The history of the world shows that peoples and societies do not have to pass through a fixed series of stages in the course of development.
There is so much that we need to do for our country. I don’t think that we can afford to wait.
I do not hold to non-violence for moral reasons, but for political and practical reasons.
Frankly, if you do politics, you should not be thinking about your dignity.
More people, especially young people, are realising that if they want change, they’ve got to go about it themselves – they can’t depend on a particular person, i.e. me, to do all the work. They are less easy to fool than they used to be, they now know what’s going on all over the world.
Even one voice can be heard loudly all over the world in this day and age.
When the Nobel Committee chose to honor me, the road I had chosen of my own free will became a less lonely path to follow.
I’m rather inclined to liking people.
I think by now I have made it fairly clear that I am not very happy with the word hope. I don’t believe in people just hoping.
All military regimes use security as the reason why they should remain in power. It’s nothing original.
I think, if you have enough inner resources, then you can live in isolation for long periods of time and not feel diminished by it.
I am not unaware of the saying that more tears have been shed over wishes granted than wishes denied.
A family is very special. So when a family splits up, it’s not good, it’s never good.
History is always changing.
Books always help.
The people have given me their support; they have given me their trust and confidence. My colleagues have suffered a lot in order to give me support. I do not look upon my life as a sacrifice at all.
Confidence-building is not something that can go on forever. If it goes on forever then it becomes counterproductive.
I have been free for more than a month. Some people may think that that is long enough. Others may think that that is not quite long enough.
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 always think that everybody can do a little bit more, if not a lot more.
Sanctions and boycotts would be tied to serious political dialogue.
I was surprised by the response of young people because there is a perception that those younger than the 1988 generation are not interested in politics.
People must work in unison.
Democracy is when the people keep a government in check.
One person alone can’t do anything as important as bringing genuine democracy to a country.
Suffering degrades, embitters and enrages.
I learned to work on a computer years before I was placed under house arrest. Fortunately I had two laptops when I was under house arrest – one an Apple and one a different operating system. I was very proud of that because I know how to use both systems.
I knew some of the army quite well.
Fires of suffering and strife are raging around the world.
In general people feel more relaxed about participating in politics. They aren’t frightened as they used to be.
Sanctions are not really an economic weapon.
What I have experienced is nothing compared to what political prisoners in prisons suffer.
It doesn’t seem right for anybody to get so much attention.
I don’t think I have achieved anything that I can really be proud of.
Of course I regret not having been able to spend time with my family.
If I was afraid of being killed, I would never speak out against the government.
I think I was the healthiest prisoner of conscience in the world.
A revolution simply means great change, significant change, and that’s how I’m defining it – great change for the better, brought about through non-violent means.
Regime is made up of people, so I do put faces to regimes and governments, so I feel that all human beings have the right to be given the benefit of the doubt, and they also have to be given the right to try to redeem themselves if they so wish.
I think I should be active politically. Because I look upon myself as a politician. That’s not a dirty work you know. Some people think that there are something wrong with politicians. Of course, something wrong with some politicians.
Once serious political dialogue has begun, the international community can assume that we have achieved genuine progress along the road to real democratisation.
It could achieve a lot if everyone in Burma could stop saying something is good if it is not good, or say something is just if it is not just.
A more significant phase should mean serious political dialogue.
I saw many aspects of the country which I needed to see in order that I might know what we need to do.
I am prepared to talk with anyone. I have no personal grudge toward anybody.
The judiciary must be strengthened and released from political interference.
When I was under house arrest, it was the BBC that spoke to me – I listened.
I feel that the BBC World Service is not as versatile as it used to be – or perhaps I’m not listening at the right times.
I don’t understand why people say that I am full of courage. I feel terribly nervous.