« | Home | »

From Icon to Politician

Tags:

During two decades spent mostly under house arrest, Aung San Suu Kyi was a symbol of democratic resistance at home and abroad: she won the Nobel Peace Prize and inspired her compatriots to continue struggling against the regime. But because she was essentially kept out of politics by the government, she rarely had to behave like a politician. Since she had so little freedom to act, she was nearly impossible to criticise: I never met anyone in Burma with a bad word to say about her.
 
In the past year, however, freed from house arrest, running for parliament in the upcoming by-elections and working closely with the government of President Thein Sein, Suu Kyi has become a politician again, losing some of her iconic status and no longer above criticism.
 
She has begun making political trade-offs which some of her supporters are angry about. She has publicly called for the country to move on from the past, and to forgive old transgressions. Such a compromise is probably necessary – the military is Burma’s most powerful institution by far, and could stage a coup whenever it wanted – but some Burmese activists are quietly furious that there may be no justice for former leaders responsible for human rights abuses. Some activists question why Suu Kyi has allowed her party to re-enter politics, even though the parliament will still be stacked with former military officers, and the media, though freer, remains constrained and timid. Suu Kyi has been criticised by the leaders of the Kachin, an ethnic minority at war with the government, for not paying enough attention to their cause. And some younger activists worry that she is working too closely with Thein Sein, although this too may be essential if Burma is going to move forward. If Mandela had refused to work with de Klerk, South Africa would be a different place today.

Comment on this post

Log in or register to post a comment.


  • Recent Posts

    RSS – posts

  • Contributors

  • Recent Comments

    • editor@dailydetox.org on Pinter’s ‘American Football’: Not only does it seem to say something that may not have seemed at the time you read it on Tavistock Square all those years ago, but it also seems to ...
    • IPFreely on He won, won, won: I thought that the malarkey would come to an end once the oath was taken, but no, Trump and his sidekick are claiming that the crowd at the inaugurati...
    • Delaide on Inauguration Day: I know it's not cool to praise Obama, or HRC for that matter. But in the context of what's possible in American politics, I think he did a remarkable ...
    • trumpaverse on The Nightmare Begins: It's not an incipient nightmare anymore: it has arrived. I did much searching this sad evening to locate something online to help me deal with my an...
    • suetonius on He won, won, won: You know what's funny? In Trump's description of the Twilight Zone episode, the guy dies in an accident. Actually, he's shot by the police. I find ...

    RSS – comments

  • Contact

  • Blog Archive

Advertisement Advertisement