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Words That Shook Suu Kyi’s Position

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is facing severe criticism for changing her stance on the Rohingya issue even after her struggle for democracy in Myanmar for almost a decade-and-half. Amnesty International (AI) recently withdrew its highest honour – the Ambassador of Conscience Award – from Suu Kyi due to her shameful betrayal of the values she once stood for. On November 11, Secretary General of the London-based NGO focused on human rights Kumi Naidoo expressed disappointment over Suu Kyi’s decision not to use her political and moral authority to safeguard human rights, justice or equality in Myanmar. In a statement, the senior AI official said that Suu Kyi’s apparent indifference to atrocities committed by the Myanmarese forces and increasing intolerance of freedom of expression hurt the global community. Naidoo also sent a letter to the Myanmarese leader in which he clearly stated: “As an Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience, our expectation was that you would continue to use your moral authority to speak out against injustice wherever you saw it, not least within Myanmar itself.


Aung San Suu Kyi

Immediately after the AI made the move, the Government of Myanmar announced that the South-east Asian nation didn’t need the award. It is very much expected… as the way the government is performing its duties, Suu Kyi should not have the desire to be an ‘ambassador of peace and democracy’. For the ruling party, the backing of religious majorities and the powerful Army is much more important than human rights! As the ruling NLD doesn’t bother about the human rights situation, we have to admit that the government is performing its duties in a perfect manner in Myanmar. It may be mentioned that the NLD had struggled a lot to come to power. If they lose the power for safeguarding the human rights, then would this award have much meaning and significance for them? Hence, the Myanmarese Government chose not to vie for an international recognition in this regard!
History suggests that Suu Kyi is following the same old path. As a common citizen of Myanmar, she had presented the real picture of her country to the global community in the past. Later, she struggled against the brutal rule of the Army while under house arrest. And now, she is performing the duty of an adviser to the government. Suu Kyi recently said that the Armed Forces played a positive role on the Rohingya issue. Such a puerile statement coming from a person of her stature is in reality a known course of politics. As a common citizen, a person is liable to uphold the truth (in order to establish himself/herself). (However) when the person becomes a part of the ruling machinery, the position puts another responsibility on his/her shoulder. It may be said that the person tries to justify the torture, then. And, Suu Kyi – in a likewise manner – is no exception.

Of course, Suu Kyi – once considered as the icon of democracy – has left the ‘path of justice’. Human nature and humanism are not the same. Humanism (or humanity) has a moral foundation and when that foundation becomes weak, people deviate from their moral position. The rulers have always compromised with moral issues for the sake of their position (read power). It’s difficult to find a politician who has never compromised with moral issues.
However, the value of an ideology lies in morality! The value cannot be determined by the number of politicians following the path of morality. Secondly, a politician can purify (read rectify) himself/herself even after deviating from the moral path. And, such a move is not at all rare in history.

Unfortunately, Suu Kyi is not interested in making the correction. Rohingyas were forced to leave Myanmar…. but, the pro-democracy icon remained silent. And when she broke the silence, she backed the Army’s role on this issue. Finally, the global icon of Human Rights has secured her place in the history as a supporter of state-sponsored crackdown on minorities. It’s not a happy ending!

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