Hand-wringing in some quarters that Myanmar’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, did not stand up to her global reputation and, instead, seems to have endorsed the violent and repressive actions of the military junta, ignore a vital fact. Which is that she could have stood by principles of liberty, equality and democracy only by alienating the junta, and thus, finding herself marginalised in the sharply divided polity of the troubled State. Her refusal to condemn the arrest and conviction of two Reuters journalists is a case in point. She took shelter behind their conviction by a court for the alleged violation of the Official Secrets Act.

Of course, it was pure balderdash. The two were penalised for reporting the broad daylight murders of the Rohingya men by the army. Suu Kyi’s silence when lakhs of Rohingya were driven out of the country too made her complicit in the excesses of the junta. Earlier, she had openly sided with the Buddhists with the latter’s violent clashes with the Muslim Rohingya. Sticking by higher principles and values would have made her unpopular. She dumped principles for the sake of power, something ordinary politicians everywhere do. Her Nobel Prize she did not allow to come in the way of her pragmatic politics. Politics can often be cruel. We can sympathise with the Nobel laureate.