Is it time to end the unquestioned reverence for Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi? With Suu Kyi in the United States to accept the Congressional Gold Medal, Financial Times Deutschland columnist Georg Fahrion outlines why flaws in character and her status as a ‘saint’ may now be hampering democratic progress in her nation.

For the Financial Times Deutschland, Georg Fahrion writes in part:

In Spring 2011, the Myanmar military government gave way to an outwardly civilian one that began opening up the country. Since then, “The Lady” is reaping the reward for her suffering. The people of Myanmar show her their gratitude with a tempestuous love for someone who was their light during years of darkness. Abroad she is received as a heroine of superhuman stature on a par with Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Gandhi. Although she has expressed strong objections, the world treats her like a saint.


Although it sounds almost like blasphemy: this she is not. The reverence that Suu Kyi is regarded with obscures her weaknesses. It hampers the analysis of her political mistakes and shortcomings, and it makes it almost impossible to admit that even The Lady can – and should – be subjected to criticism. To start with, she is stubborn, and others would say that she holds a grudge. “She begrudges the government anything,” says a diplomat stationed in Rangoon. That may be understandable since the cabinet remains full of ex-military personnel. But an unsuccessful government is hardly in the interest of the country. For instance, Suu Kyi long resisted the suspension of Western sanctions, although they cause suffering among the people. This was her trump card against the generals.


That particular attitude has now changed. But it doesn’t follow that Suu Kyi now has a plan for economic recovery. “She has no conception of modern economics,” says someone who has met her several times. The Lady has “romantic notions about social issues” and about how to differentiate between “good” and “bad” investments. A Myanmar businessman, who is well-connected to both Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) and the military, confirms, “In the NLD, there are no capable economic advisers, no economists.”

READ ON IN ENGLISH OR GERMAN AT WORLDMEETS.US, your most trusted translator and aggregator of foreign news and views about our nation.

WILLIAM KERN (Worldmeets.US)
Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2012 The Moderate Voice
  • ShannonLeee

    Odd article, have to wonder which business interests thinks it will help them.

  • slamfu

    Its entirely possible that she is incompetent in any role other than a national symbol of resistance to oppression. So lets hope they get her some help and a good staff. Its still a step in the right direction if the principles of democracy and human rights are being respected.

  • ShannonLeee

    You mean like that one guy from s Africa?

  • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

    The un-named witnesses to this woman’s imperfections are according to article:

    “a diplomat stationed in Rangoon.”
    “someone who has met her several times.”
    “A Myanmar businessman, who is well-connected to both Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) and the military”

    that last, is especially questionable, it would be like a person saying they are well connected to Obama’s camp and they are also well connected to the tea party. Hard to have both as bona fides without being considered untrustworthy by both groups. And ‘well connnected’ is not defined in the article. Did the ‘businessman’ sell each group office supplies, or they bought a dinner in his restaurant, or is the ‘businessman’ the consigliari to each group without the other knowing… there is no ‘there there’ in these ‘witnesses.’

    There is no doubt that ‘the lady’ would be the first to say there is no perfection in anyone. She’s a Buddhist and one could trust that point of view as a basis. The article writer seems to not actually know the system of Than Shwe’s corruption and murder of the Burmese tribal people and monks and regular citizens, nor of his cocaine trafficking to his personal benefit $$$$$, and more.

    Suggest reading the many articles at TMV and elsewhere during the imprisonment house arrest of ‘the lady’ while Than Shwe and his army murdered monks and nuns who tried to help the Karon tribe and protested against Than Shwe for greedily raising the price of cooking oil to the poor so he himself could fill his own coffers. The context of the miserable evil done to the Burmese in our time, is left out of this article completely. Without that context, one cannot clearly see the reasons for various decisions, actions or plans.

    Just my .02 having had running contact w nun correspondents on the ground during Than Shwe’s reign of terror.