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  • Writer's pictureMyat Tun Oo

Why Western countries should continue to support Daw Aung San Suu Kyi?

I am sorry to hear that some critics in the west are trying to criticise her for not speaking up against the military. In addition, I am sad to hear that some liberals, human right activists and some human right organisations are trying to blame her for the fighting between the rebels and the army in Burma. Furthermore, some rebel supporters, their sympathisers and their lobbyists are trying to paint her effort to transform Burma from dictatorship country to democratic one as a failure. I don’t agree with their assessment and I will point out the reason why.


Burma was under military dictators since 1962 until 2016. If you look at the world’s history of transition to democracy, there were more failure than success except in Eastern Europe. I would like to point out two examples. People revolted their dictator Assad in Syria and hoping western countries will help. There was some moral support from the west and they have supplied some weapons via Turkey and some Arab Sunni countries. But there was no success. In addition, some western countries bombed Libya as demanded per human rights’ activists but there is still a civil war in Libya and no democracy yet.

In Myanmar(Burma), Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has managed to seize power without any violence. She used non-violent method to get her power. In Libya and Syria, Human rights organisations, liberals and all western newspapers advocated war and bombing under responsibility to protect and was unable to solve their civil war until now. So, her political method and non-violent way is even superior than Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, which advocated bombing Libya and Syria to protect Human Rights but has not solved the problem there.

After three years in power, she is trying to change the constitution, that gives the military over running their own affairs and 25% seat in Parliament. The military has threatened in some way whenever she tries to change the constitution, but we need help from our friends in the west.


Burma’s economy was in tatters under the military dictatorship and there is no infrastructure. In addition, corruption was rampant in all sectors. Because of the Bengalis(Rohingya) issue, Burma is under pressure. However, Burma’s economy is growing steadily, and macro economy is improving and going in the right direction. At the moment, the big challenge for Burma is how to free itself from oligarchs who have become rich under the military. Another challenge is also from the company run by the military so called Myanmar Economic Holding limited. Daw Aung Suu Kyi’s government is trying to break the impasse by asking the oligarch to pay back non-performing loan to the banks. As a result, these oligarchs are trying to destabilise the country’s economy by spreading rumours. We will also need the vocal support from our friends in the west to overcome this.


Burma has been fighting the civil war since its independence in 1948. Daw Aung Suu Kyi has tried her best to make peace with the ethnic rebels. But rebels will demand more from the military and try to blame her if that is failed and try to tarnish her image. Their aim is to destroy her image in the world if they can’t get what they want. For the military, they don’t want to give any credit to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for the peace. Therefore, they won’t give into any demands from the rebels no matter what. As a result, this peace process will take a while until they realise that fighting is not a good option for them. In addition, most ethnic rebels group trade in heroines and amphetamine in order to finance their army. They are making a big profit from that. They are enjoying illegal trade and they have no incentive to stop the civil war. We will also need our friends in the west in order to confront the United WA State Army whose leader is wanted by United States. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is trying to make peace as much as she can, and the door is open to all to come and talk but the current Burma’s constitution does give the security power to army chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing who can decide what to do with the rebels. I would like to point out that it took a while to achieve peace in Northern Ireland where British army is under the government and it is also in Afghanistan where both Afghan and US armies are under their democratic government. Therefore, it will be more difficult in Burma where its army is not answerable to its own government.

In Conclusion, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has managed to take 75% of the power by using non-violent way. It is easy to be a liberal and Human right activist without actually being a President or Prime Minister and just to make a stand or stunt to attract publicity. President Obama will tell you how difficult to be a noble peace laurate and being a President who had to order the surge in Afghanistan. She managed her first phase of transition to democracy in Burma. What we need is the second phase where she is trying to change the constitution. She is trying the transition to democracy as evolution rather than revolution in Burma by phasing out the military by five percent each year. This is the important phase in Burma and all friendly countries in the west need to help her by asking the military to agree to it and by telling the military what will happen if they try to stage a coup. All western countries should show the world how democracy can achieve in the non-violent way by supporting her. If not, more people will use the violent way like in Palestine and other places.

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