I broadcast a few links that were less than flattering about Aung San Suu Kyi. Someone felt it necessary to take me to task about that.
Here’s my preliminary response that I put on Facebook:
Now I’m grateful that there are people in the world who stand up against injustice and people who are willing to sacrifice their lives via imprisonment or worse for that. World would be much more horrific than it is without resisters.
Resisters, dissenters and rights fighters are still human though. Still with human motivations, political considerations and so forth. Elevating them to godlike or celebrity status clouds the issues, removes focus from what they represent, doesn’t allow us to see their human failings…and they are very much human and ultimately can lead not only to huge disappointments but even backlashes against both them and their causes.
Aung San Suu Kyi, the Dalai Lama, Gandhi, MLK and so many others are as much politicians as activists (in some cases literally). It is necessary, especially for movement leaders, to not only understand the political climate in which they are trying to effect change but to have the savvy to effect that change. Sometimes that means political maneuvering, leveraging other, less savory elements of the political landscape and consorting and compromising with those who may be diametrically opposed to their ends. It can be a very ugly business behind the scenes.
So before people jump on me for harshing the mellow on the superstars consider the bigger picture. The spotlight only shows a very small and particular moment of their entire lives.