Aung San Suu Ki’s release from house arrest in 2010 was celebrated in Burma and by the international community, and her work in the parliament has been praised and criticized. Here are three recent cartoons painting a picture of her triumphs, celebrity and challenges since her release from house arrest.
She has said: “Sometimes I think that a parody of democracy could be more dangerous than a blatant dictatorship, because that gives people an opportunity to avoid doing anything about it.”
Her celebrity has been a boon to her party and the pro-democracy cause, but it seems to sometimes make her colleagues invisible, as this cartoon indicates…
The Guardian reports that the situation in Myanmar is complicated by her celebrity and rising power as well: “The NLD has big cars to campaign with and Aung San Suu Kyi T-shirts to make money from,” said the NDF’s Khin Maung Swe, a former political prisoner who spent 16 years in jail before running and losing in the 2010 elections. “Look at us, look at me: I am no Aung San Suu Kyi. We have no funds, only spirit. We are pitiful.”
The NDF is a splinter group that broke off from the NLD two years ago when Aung San Suu Kyi’s party refused to participate in the elections and was temporarily banned. The NDF chose to run to “continue the struggle for democracy”, Khin Maung Swe said, but it has since been branded “political traitors” by the NLD – hence the little chance of reunification, despite their similar platforms.”
But it’s clear that her path, despite her power, is not an easy one…
She has said: ““The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear”
Despite the complexities of power in her evolving nation, she has an important role to play: despite the challenges of the task and unification of the many parties fighting to be heard, and because of her visibility and political celebrity.
She remains a leader to be reckoned with in a time of danger, transformation and crisis.