MADISON KOCHENDERFER WRITES — Aung San Suu Kyi emerged triumphant and strong after winning the Nobel Peace Prize and becoming the State Counsellor for the Burmese people in 2016. For nearly 27 years, she served as a symbol of peace, gaining the utmost support from the Burmese people who demanded a more liberal and democratic government.
Commended for her perseverance and unequivocal promise to the oppressed in Myanmar, ‘The Lady’ raised hopes that one day these concerned individuals would gain the security they very much wanted and deserved, and that Myanmar would be rebuilt into an economically prosperous and peaceful state. The oppressed saw Kyi as a principal leader in this reformation, and her promise of security and stability was especially sought by religious minorities of the predominantly Buddhist country.
Referred to as “Myanmar’s Nelson Mandela,” and placed to the same heights as Gandhi, Aung San Suu Kyi was honored for her determination in overcoming her own trials with the government and for constantly placing her followers above her own safety.
In 2012, United Nations Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon commended Kyi for her “commitment to peace, security and human rights.”
It was Kyi’s perseverance that would eventually give her a position with enough power to deliver the much anticipated security to those oppressed by the Burmese regime and begin to bridge the evident ethnic gap. However, not many expected that these feelings of hope and optimism would soon turn into utter disappointment and hatred.
While Kyi’s rejection of current events and refusal to protect the Rohingya Muslim minority of Burma shocked many of her followers and the international community, it can be argued that Kyi’s fall from grace was inevitable and there were in fact indications of her true character that can be traced back to a much earlier point in time than solely these past few months.
In 2011, Kyi is quoted saying, “I do not hold to non-violence for moral reasons, but for political and practical reasons.” This was perhaps Kyi’s first public, vocal hint that she is not peacefully protesting to uphold what is moral and right, but rather revealing her desire to have political and economic control over the Burmese people.
In 2012, 130 members of the National League for Democracy, formed and lead by Kyi herself, resigned due to her aggressive and authoritarian leadership approach.
Was it the last sense of hope for the oppressed citizens of Burma that led to the overall ignorance and subsequent rise of Kyi’s evident character? Or were Kyi’s initial intentions to bring unity to her country overthrown by human nature’s fundamental thirst for absolute power? Perhaps it was only a matter a time before Kyi’s true character would be exposed. Or perhaps, over the longer run, her current approach will be seen to have some logic that no one can comprehend at the moment.