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The Political Obituary of Aung San Suu Kyi

By Timothy McLaughlin

07 Dec 2021 · 8 min read

As Aung San Suu Kyi climbed the steps of the gargantuan parliamentary building into her first session as an elected lawmaker, I watched along with my colleagues in the offices of The Myanmar Times, where we crowded around and turned our heads upward to the boxy televisions that hung precariously above the newsroom.

This was July 2012. Suu Kyi’s arrival had been delayed by a whirlwind 17-day lap around Europe. She’d collected an honorary doctorate from the University of Oxford and accepted the Nobel Peace Prize she’d won 21 years earlier while under house arrest as the country’s leading dissident. During the trip, Suu Kyi had surprised some when she struck a conciliatory tone while speaking about her military captors. “In some ways, I don’t think they did anything to me,” she replied when asked whether she forgave the military for her treatment. The comment provided an early, if at the time overlooked, indicator of how she viewed the organization that had inflicted decades of hardship on Myanmar (known as Burma until 1989).

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