January 20, 2019

What Happened to Aung San Suu Kyi?

“She won a Nobel Peace Prize for her defiance of Myanmar’s military junta. She emerged from years of house arrest in 2010 a near-mythical figure, admired for her strength and integrity. She was swept into power in a landslide 2015 election that many around the world hoped would bring greater freedom and stability to her country.

Three years later, Aung San Suu Kyi is isolated and besieged by critics. The United Nations accuses Myanmar’s military of a “genocidal” campaign against Rohingya Muslims, and says Suu Kyi and her government did nothing to prevent it. She is no longer hailed as a moral icon, but condemned for forsaking the oppressed.

How did one of the world’s most admired leaders reach this pass? Reuters spoke to friends, advisers, diplomats and other long-time observers of Suu Kyi. They describe a politician who is principled and devoted but also flawed and alone, burdened with limited powers and impossible expectations.

Some say she hasn’t been sympathetic to ethnic minorities and was slow to grasp the scale and brutality of the military’s campaign against the Rohingya. Others say she has been scapegoated for the military’s crimes, then rejected by the international community when she needed it most.
Suu Kyi did not respond to questions sent to her spokesman.”

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