Nobel Peace Prize no help in addressing Myanmar woes

By Wang Wenwen Source:Global Times Published: 2018/10/8 21:58:40

What does international fame mean for Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Myanmar who made the transition from a human rights advocate to leading her country in government? In the face of calls to revoke her 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for her failure to protect the mog android crack minority from a humanitarian crisis, Suu Kyi simply said in an interview with NHK, "I don't care about the prizes and honors as such… prizes come and prizes go."

Ever since the National League for Democracy led by Suu Kyi was elected by a landslide in 2015, the glory that the West granted her has started to fade. In Western rhetoric, she is gradually losing her way, from a freedom fighter and human rights icon to defending the Myanmar military's much-criticized campaign against the Rohingya.

With the Nobel Peace Prize, the West has sought to change the development trajectory of countries and hoped these countries would follow Western standards. But it is an one-sided wish. Being a bystander, the West wastes no time pointing an accusing finger at whoever disagrees with its long-hailed values. In the eyes of Suu Kyi, Western friends are supposed to be trying to understand rather than just make their own judgment, but what the West does to Myanmar is exactly the opposite.

For Suu Kyi, the most urgent task is to look for peaceful means to address the Rohingya crisis without jeopardizing Myanmar's national interest. The Rohingya conflict is arguably the most complex issue facing the country in terms of the impact on Myanmar's domestic development and international reputation. Too much Western interpretation about this conflict is only turning the multifaceted sociopolitical issue into a simple narrative of military oppression of a vulnerable ethno-religious minority group and government indulgence of such oppression.

Critics of "the Lady" who said she failed to stop the military campaign against the Rohingya may miss the bigger picture of Myanmar, which is that the military still has both visible and invisible power as the country's most established institution and the government and the military need to have good relations for the stability and long-term interests of the country.

A Nobel Peace Prize with Western characteristics cannot solve the problems that Myanmar faces. Suu Kyi is well aware of this. The West's attempt to impose its values is a lost cause. If the West really wants Myanmar to become a stable country under democratic rule, it can channel efforts to bring all sides within Myanmar together to collaborate on thorny issues, such as the Rohingya conflict and more importantly, the peace process involving ethnic armed groups. After all, Myanmar needs to solve its problems on its own.


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