Mandalay, Mynanmar. More often Myanmar or Burma keeps slipping into international headlines as its leader falls under closer scrutiny for a lack of stability that rivals or maybe exceeds Kim Jong-Un, so say her critics who must live with her.
For international observers, it was to be expected that the optimism of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate taking power would fade, but frustrations among those working with her government in Burma seemed to be boiling over.
Aung San Suu Kyi is a politician, diplomat and author.Some now add dictator and despot to the list. She studied abroad and came back to military-ruled Myanmar, also known as Burma, in 1988. She called on the military leaders to hand over power, demanding democracy and human rights. By 1989, she was placed under house arrest and spent 15 years in custody.
She became the darling of western liberal-democracies, her fight for democracy in Myanmar was rewarded with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.
Kyi has come in for criticism by some groups, which claim she has not spoken up for Myanmar’s minority groups, in particular muslim groups.Even more alarming, these anecdotes are delivered in hushed tones, with sideways glances, and only after reporters promised not to quote the people telling them.
Here recently the key change is a section of the telecommunications act which allows anyone to sue for online criminal defamation. Judges in Burma are using it to lock up dozens of people critical of Suu Kyi, her party and the military, without bail.
All the while, Aung San Suu Kyi has remained silent about the military’s attacks on refugees. She has not given any interviews to Myanmar journalists since taking power. Aside from a few interviews with hand-picked foreign journalists, her people barely hear from her at all.
Suu Kyi remains the country’s most popular political figure. However, whether it is outlining a vision for her nation, condemning human rights abuses, allowing humanitarian access to conflict zones, delegating authority, listening more or reforming defamation laws; if Aung San Suu Kyi fails to act on the things that lie within her power, then she fails on her own terms.