Aung San Suu Kyi inspired a generation of human rights activists through her long struggle with the ruling junta of Myanmar/Burma. Suffering years of house arrest, all but abandoning her family for the sake of the cause, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1991 and seemed in recent years to be finally vindicated. Freed from arrest she now sits in a position of political power.
And yet it's clear she cares very little for the suffering of Burma's various minority groups. The Rohingya Muslims, sometimes referred to as the most hated people in the world are suffering under the heavy and often brutal hand of the military junta. Suu Kyi always insisted that she respected and even venerated the army. This may go back to the legacy of her father Aung San. A controversial figure to be sure. Originally an opposition fighter against the British, he allied with the Japanese and was instrumental in their takeover of Burma during the war. Later he 'flipped' and went back to the British and fought against Japan.
When he was assassinated in 1947 not a few believed then (and now) that the British had a hand it. They used him but also feared him and wanted him out of the way.
Suu Kyi has played the role of patriotic daughter with a martyr father. It's quite possible her motivations have been misunderstood. It would seem her nationalism certainly outweighs any commitments she might have to the universality of human rights.
The liberation of Suu Kyi seemed to open a door for Burma and allow it to begin a process of escaping its pariah status. And yet the Rohingya affair (pardon the euphemism) is driving Burma back into the shadows and Suu Kyi is now part of the regime.
What's disturbing to me is that if the junta grows frustrated with the West or if sanctions are reintroduced... then what will happen?
A turn against minorities could get quite ugly. The Christian population is largely found within the various minority groups. Sadly the Karen, a group with a large Christian population continues be involved in an armed struggle with Yangon/Rangoon. Many have forgotten that for decades they were supported by US arms and Washington's old regional proxy... Thailand.
This story is far from over but one thing is clear... Suu Kyi, like not a few other Nobel Peace Prize winners has turned out to be something less than a noble champion for human rights. Not only is she refusing to do anything about the persecution of the Rohingya, she's clearly denying that anything is even happening. She has become a mouthpiece, echoing the position of the regime.