Ask someone in Myanmar a question about politics, and the answer will often revolve around a female personal pronoun. “She will bring change.” “She can do anything.” “We believe in her.” In this context, such statements require no further clarification; the person the speakers have in mind is entirely obvious.
Aung San Suu Kyi, opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is unrivaled in the affection of her compatriots. Those who might have doubted this simple fact got their comeuppance in November, when the people of Myanmar had their first chance in a quarter-century to put their political preferences on display in a national election. Ms. Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy, or NLD, won more than 80% of the contested parliamentary seats.
It was thrilling to see Myanmar’s citizens cock a snook at the generals who have ruled this country with unforgiving harshness since 1962, but the extent of her people’s adoration also raises some worrying questions about “the Lady” or “Mother,” as Ms. Suu Kyi is often known. How will she wield her newfound power?