Aung San Suu Kyi: From human rights heroine to alienated icon


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Media captionThe leader of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has given a wide ranging interview to the BBC’s Fergal Keane

We met in the cavernous interior of the foreign affairs ministry where the old regime once plotted its campaigns against international sanctions and isolation.

On the walls are the portraits of past Burmese leaders, beginning with her father General Aung San, assassinated on the eve of independence in 1947, and continuing into the era of thuggish military rule, face after forgotten face for whom nobody had ever voted in a democratic election.

The new leader, elected with an overwhelming popular mandate, arrived surrounded by civil servants and guarded by police, fresh from meetings and with many more planned later in the day.

Her interview with me was the first this year and a rare encounter with the media.

Aung San Suu Kyi has been bruised by the criticism over her handling of the Rohingya Muslim crisis in Rakhine state. It is a long way from the days when reporters, myself included, made the journey to her home by the lake in Rangoon, also known as Yangon, to listen to her expound on the virtues of universal human rights.

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Fergal Keane first met Aung San Suu Kyi more than two decades ago

Back when I first met her in July 1995 she was a political prisoner a few days free, eager for news of the world and particularly South Africa, where I…

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