June 15, 2012 | New York Times
OSLO — Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the symbol of Burmese resistance to dictatorship, arrived in Norway on Friday to finally deliver the Nobel lecture for the peace prize she won in 1991, which she will do Saturday. But even during her years of house arrest, she said at a news conference here, she never doubted that one of her first trips abroad would be to Norway. She repeated, “I never doubted that,” then grinned and asked, “Did you?”
Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, who turns 67 next week, looked frail and tired from her travels and a brief illness, but she was very clear in her comments. When the Norwegian prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, said he would now encourage Norwegian companies to invest in Myanmar, formerly Burma, she politely but firmly said she would encourage only foreign investment that was “democratic-friendly, human-rights friendly” and “transparent,” and that went to the private sector, not to the government, which is dominated by the army.
“Burma has been a command economy for too long, and we did not prosper,” she said.
She said Myanmar was at the beginning of a long and difficult path to democracy. “We are not at the end of the road, by no means, we are just starting out,” she said.
She also emphasized that she honored the military, which was founded by her father, Gen. Aung San, a hero of the Burmese independence movement who was assassinated in 1947. “I fight against what is dangerous for the democratic process, and the military having the kind of powers that they shouldn’t have certainly endangers the democratic process.”
Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, now a member of Parliament in Myanmar, was asked if she felt muzzled in her new role as a legislator. She answered firmly: “I’ve never felt muzzled. I never hesitated to say what I thought I should say, at any time, even when I was under house arrest.” Then she added: “I’m doing the same thing now. I only say what I can take responsibility for.”
She said that she was coming back to Europe after so long “with different eyes” on “a journey of discovery and rediscovery.” Many have compared her to Nelson Mandela, and she said the years of internal exile and house arrest had changed her.
She has been working on her Nobel lecture only for the last week or so, she said. “What I am now is reflected in that lecture,” she said.