During Aung San Suu Kyi’s trip to Norway this month, DVB’s Aye Chan Naing spoke with the country’s opposition leader about accepting her peace prize and what advice she has for the Burmese community living abroad.
During your Nobel acceptance speech today, you received a heart-warming response– the biggest in the history of Nobel awards ceremonies – from the audience including the Burmese community here and the Norwegians. Can you tell us how you felt?
I am thankful. Actually, I came here in the first place to express my gratitude because Norway has helped our country without looking for anything in return and its solely based on their humanitarian spirit and love of truth.
I’ve always said that when I was released from [house arrest] and able to travel again, I would like to go to Norway first. I am here to express my thanks to the people of Norway and I am now even more thankful to have been met with such a heart-warming welcome.
In your speech, you talked about your experience under house arrest, the ordeal political prisoners deal with and the woes that [everday] people face and the international community’s assistance to the country. Can you expand on this?
I said that awarding me the Noble Peace Prize had brought the world’s attention to our democracy movement and I am thankful for that. It brought me more exposure with the world, while I was in isolation.
I was explaining how much it meant to me and to the Burmese people’s perception of peace. Everyone wishes to live in peace and we can only achieve peace by trying as best as we can to remove all the negative elements from the country that can harm peace.
You warned against having ‘blind faith’ during the political reform process currently taking place. Can you explain more about this?
‘Faith’ is only established when it is based on a practical and rational analysis of a situation. For example, if you believe in the existence of something without actually seeing anything yourself, then it’s only an assumption. Faith means you are able to understand the real situation – and then you can continue to work with faith.
There are a lot of Burmese people abroad in different walks of life including migrants, scholars, etc. What roles do you they believe they can have in developing our country?
Everyone has their own different roles because they all have different capacities so it depends on what each one of them can give and what they can contribute. They should work within whatever role they are able to.
Of course, not everyone will be able to provide the same output, but if they really work with goodwill and they wish to help, they all can contribute to the country in their own way.
Should they go back to Burma in order to help, or…?
Also, this is up to everyone to decide individually; when to return [to Burma] and under what conditions. It’s their decision. We don’t want to tell them when to come back and how. But currently, Burma does not yet have an environment where everyone can live safely and comfortably, but we will try to change that.
The NLD’s work mainly focuses addressing human rights and democracy. What kind of political policies are being prepared for the future?
The NLD has its policies laid out accordingly to its [party]’s constitution and we will go ahead with those. Sometimes a policy has to be changed in order to be relevant [with the given circumstances].