Image for Suu Kyi should leave Burma, says Karen leader

It is time for Aung San Suu Kyi to place herself above politics and become an overwhelming figure of unity for greater Burma, says Karen National Union vice president David Tharckabaw.

By casting herself in the role of stateswoman she would become more powerful and a greater threat to the ruling military junta, the State Peace and Development Council, he said.

“She is a great leader and a very forceful figure, she can speak about democracy,” said Tharckabaw.

On November 7, 2010, the SPDC cemented its role in a supposed democracy with elections widely regarded as a sham, with large swathes of the country’s citizens banned from voting.

Aung San Suu Kyi, 65, walked free from house arrest on November 13 after the barricades from around her lakeside home were removed.

A large crowd gathered to welcome her release.

The KNU’s Tharckabaw said he personally felt the time was ripe for a reassessment of Aung San Suu Kyi’s tactics in pushing for reform in Burma.

“Personally, I think she can be more effective outside the country,” he said.

“She has sacrificed and suffered enough and this junta still has no respect for her, they could lock her up again tomorrow, it’s [Suu Kyi’s tactics] not working,” said Tharckabaw.

The 75-year-old dismissed the prospect of a political vacuum developing in Rangoon if Suu Kyi were to leave the country and was upbeat about the future generation.

“In 20 years [since the 1990 elections] young people have become politically conscious and have built the capacity for a movement for democracy,” he said.

“Some people say they don’t understand democracy, but they want to get rid of the military junta and people must respect that,” said Tharckabaw.

The Karen National Union is an elected body representing at least seven million people and has been fighting for recognition of its people and a say in how its state is run since 1948.

Daniel Pedersen’s new book on Burma, Secret Genocide, was launched last month in Hobart: Necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing