http://www.worldmeets.us/images/Suu-Kyi-congressional-gold_pic.png

Burma opposition leader and now a member of that nation's fledgling

parliament, Aung San Suu Kyi, accepts the Congressional Gold Medal,

one of America's highest civilian awards, at the Capitol Rotunda, Sept.

19. A heroine by any definition, is criticism also due 'The Lady'?

 

 

Aung San Suu Kyi: 'The Lady is No Saint' (Financial Times Deutschland, Germany)

 

"Abroad she is received as a heroine of superhuman stature on a par with Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Gandhi. Although she has expressed strong objections, the world treats her like a saint. ... And even if it almost sounds like blasphemy: this she is not. The reverence that Suu Kyi is regarded with obscures her weaknesses. It hampers the analysis of her political mistakes and shortcomings."

 

By Georg Fahrion

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Translated By Stephanie Martin

 

September 21, 2012

 

Germany - Financial Times Deutschland - Original Article (German)

Aung San Suu Kyi arrives at Queens Colege in New York to a hero's welcome: Is the time for unmitigated reverence over?

 

BBC VIDEO NEWS, U.K.: Burmese parliament speaker says 'reform process irreversible', Sept. 27, 00:02:09RealVideo

We need not wait for the pictures of this trip to visualize them: Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama listening reverently. An emotional first lady Michelle. The representatives bursting into applause as the speaker presents the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award of the U.S. Congress. At the center of it all stands a woman whose 67 years have done nothing to diminish her charm and beauty, with flowers in her hair and a quick-witted humor formed by her university years at Oxford: Burmese Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is traveling across America on a kind of victory tour.

 

"Mother Suu," as the people of her homeland affectionately call her, endured a long period of suffering. She stubbornly defied the generals who subjugated Myanmar for five decades. For fifteen years, Suu Kyi waited under house arrest. Even when her beloved husband was dying of cancer in Britain, she didn't leave Myanmar to be at his side - so great was her fear that the military would deny her reentry, separating her from her people.

 

In Spring 2011, the military government gave way to an outwardly civilian one that began opening up the country. Since then, "The Lady" is reaping the reward for her suffering. The people of Myanmar show her their gratitude with a tempestuous love for someone who was their light during years of darkness. Abroad she is received as a heroine of superhuman stature on a par with Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Gandhi. Although she has expressed strong objections, the world treats her like a saint.

 

Although it sounds almost like blasphemy: this she is not. The reverence that Suu Kyi is regarded with obscures her weaknesses. It hampers the analysis of her political mistakes and shortcomings, and it makes it almost impossible to admit that even The Lady can - and should - be subjected to criticism. To start with, she is stubborn, and others would say that she holds a grudge. "She begrudges the government anything," says a diplomat stationed in Rangoon. That may be understandable since the cabinet remains full of ex-military personnel. But an unsuccessful government is hardly in the interest of the country. For instance, Suu Kyi long resisted the suspension of Western sanctions, although they cause suffering among the people. This was her trump card against the generals.

 

 

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That particular attitude has now changed. But it doesn't follow that Suu Kyi now has a plan for economic recovery. "She has no conception of modern economics," says someone who has met her several times. The Lady has "romantic notions about social issues" and about how to differentiate between "good" and "bad" investments. A Myanmar businessman, who is well-connected to both Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) and the military, confirms, "In the NLD, there are no capable economic advisers, no economists."

 

That may also be due to the fact that the NLD holds the status of sole ruler. No political ideas are able to progress against its will, and Suu Kyi's backing is the deciding factor in the political careers of her supporters. According to one Burmese journalist, she has resisted the efforts of senior NLD veteran Win Tin to transfer greater responsibility to younger, talented party members. "She's not a good listener," says a businessman.

 

Vis--vis the other side, she also occasional allows herself the unnecessary affront. In the special election in April, the NLD secured 43 of 45 seats in parliament, one of which was for Suu Kyi. However, she didn't show up for the opening of parliament. Even in the days following the opening, she was absent. This attracted some negative attention: "Most of members of parliament have the feeling that she doesn't respect the body," said an elected representative from the military-connected Union Solidarity and Development Party [USDP].

 

 

Another source in Myanmar provided the following anecdote: After the special election, a general came to her and said: You've won. You will win the next election in 2015 as well. What's in it for us? Suu Kyi allegedly gave him the cold shoulder and said, "We'll be a democratic country." It's true that her unwillingness to make deals is founded in principle, but it is not politically astute. A military that is not only fearful of losing its privileges but also fears legal prosecution, will hardly be disposed to allow this democratic election to take place.

 

And then there is her silence in the face of the crimes that militia and murderous gangs have committed since June in the state of Rakhaing, in the western part of Myanmar, against the Muslim minority Rohingya people. It is not in dispute that Buddhists were also killed during unrest in the region. Reports by human rights organizations leave no doubt that it was primarily Rohingyas who were lynched, had their homes burned, and were driven away by the tens of thousands of people. Buddhist monks have forbidden their coreligionists from cultivating friendships among the Rohingyas. The government considers them a stateless people. A single sentence of solidarity from Aung San Suu Kyi may have alleviated the plight of these outcasts. She has said nothing about it.

 

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