Sunday 30 April 2017

Global icon of human rights risks world's ire over ethnic cleansing

Today it is hard to imagine Bono or Amnesty organising a welcome concert in Dublin for Aung San Suu Kyi

Lack of leadership: Fergal Keane with Aung San Suu Kyi - they have known each other for years, but Keane says the shutters can still come down
Lack of leadership: Fergal Keane with Aung San Suu Kyi - they have known each other for years, but Keane says the shutters can still come down

Fergal Keane

I remember the day she came to Dublin. Although I was considered a friend and had known her for nearly 20 years, I made a point of watching from a distance. That was June 19, 2012 and Aung San Suu Kyi was the toast of the liberal world.

Bono spoke of how her Irish supporters were "humbled, grateful at the fact one of your first trips overseas, you have chosen a small rock in the north Atlantic".

I knew then that she had metamorphosed from being an international icon of human rights to a political leader. Free from house arrest and at the head of the National League for Democracy, Suu Kyi was contesting for power. Hence the distance. As a journalist it was my job to stand back and subject her words and deeds to scrutiny.

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