Imprisoned for a period of 15 years over a 21 year period, the world fought for her cause against what was then known as the Burmese military junta. She submitted herself to house arrest instead of voluntarily leaving Burma under the condition that she never returned. She argued that she stayed for her people and she continued to fight for her people.. These last few months have seen her fall from grace. The horrific plight of the Rohingya has been an ongoing horror for generations. However, over the last year or so, Myanmar's government have launched a series of attacks on the Rohingya (in response to Rohingya militants attacking police outposts), razing their villages and murdering countless of innocent civilians, many of them children. The UN released a statement, describing it as ethnic cleansing. This is a purge and frankly, it is not far from being a full blown genocide. Over 200,000 fled to Bangladesh. They continue to flee, with many never reaching their destination, with reports now detailing the Myanmar's military laying landmines at the border, to murder even more as they try to flee. Instead of speaking for the plight of "her people", Aung San Suu Kyi remained resolutely silent. After silence in the face of absolute condemnation from the world community, she then spoke and described the victims of ethnic cleansing as terrorist and advised that the reports coming out of the Rakhine State as being "fake news" and denied the obvious. Calls have been made to strip her of her Nobel Peace Prize. It is hard to comprehend her response. What strikes you about the torrents of criticism of Aung San Suu Kyi now engulfing Western media is the sense of betrayal. "We honoured you and fought for your freedom — and now you use that freedom to condone the butchery of your own people?" thundered Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times. "I am now elderly, decrepit and formally retired, but breaking my vow to remain silent on public affairs out of profound sadness," explained Desmond Tutu in an open letter to his fellow Nobel laureate condemning her silence as "what some have called 'ethnic cleansing' and others 'a slow genocide'" of Myanmar's Rohingya people is occurring on her watch. "Friends of mine devoted their working lives to the campaign for her release", wrote George Monbiot in The Guardian. "But it is hard to think of any recent political leader by whom such high hopes have been so cruelly betrayed." That feeling is in some sense inevitable. We're perhaps not used to seeing such a fallen angel; a face going from being stamped on wearable face masks given to entire crowds at U2 concerts, to being stamped on protesters' placards with blood-stained fangs drawn over her mouth. But I suspect there's a mythology that has led us here. One that demands a hero, then requires her to be created in our own image. And one that is therefore destined to render Aung San Suu Kyi a villain just as passionately, when that image proves to be a mirage. Is she, as Australian journalist Waleed Aly notes, simply being "true to form"? Was she always simply just a politician and did we label her as a human rights warrior because that was how we wanted to see her? What if she was that politician all along? "Please don't forget that I started out as the leader of a political party," she said in 2013 after a similar bout of criticism. "I cannot think of anything more political than that." It's true that during her heroic resistance she spoke a language of democracy and human rights. But it's also true that language was almost always general, platitudinal. Things like: "fundamental violations of human rights always lead to people feeling less and less human". Or, "the best way to help Burma is to empower the people of Burma". Or, "by helping others, you will learn to help yourselves". It is from such generalities that we sketched out an icon, then coloured it in liberal, cosmopolitan tones. It's like we assumed that because she was persecuted by a brutal regime, that because she was a worldly, attractive, Western-educated, English-speaking political prisoner, she was really just an exotic version of our idealised selves. That in our admiration and concern for her we were really constructing ourselves, assuming that the world's heroes were of a piece with us, then falling in love with this image. But you don't govern in the generalities that make image possible. The grist of politics is in the specificities. And what you're unlikely to find in Suu Kyi's history is any specific statement on the Rohingya, affirming their place as fully human or as part of Myanmar. Turns out that on the Rohingya, she has always been silent. Why should we be suddenly shocked if it turns out she acquiesces to – or even shares – the views of the people who voted for her? She never really promised us otherwise. Perhaps she was most instructive when she said "I do not hold to non-violence for moral reasons, but for political and practical reasons". If you're expecting otherwise, I suppose you're bound to feel betrayed. It is hard to argue against it. She has never spoken out for the Rohingya. So why the sense of betrayal? The answer is probably multi faceted. On the one hand, they do not consider the Rohingya as being citizens of Myanmar. They are denied citizenship and have no rights. When this horror show first started, the Myanmar government released a series of statements, describing the Rohingya as being "Bengali", denying them statehood once again, and alluding to their being illegal immigrants in a country they have inhabited for centuries. Her party spokeswoman and her personal lawyer said this about the Rohingya: And domestically the issue is clear-cut. Hatred of the Rohingya is the one thing that unites almost everyone in Myanmar, said another diplomat: “The extremist Buddhists, the masses, the army, and even the NLD.” Nyan Win, a party spokesman and Aung San Suu Kyi’s personal lawyer, voiced the views of many in Myanmar when he told Radio Free Asia: “I think everyone knows the Bengali. There are no facial features like Bengalis’ in our Myanmar, nowhere in the country.” One could easily argue that what we are seeing is the extermination phase of a genocide in Myanmar. The signs are there and have been there for a while now: Myanmar’s government now plans to arm and train an all-Buddhist militia in the same state the Rohingya inhabit. This new armed wing would be composed of ethnic Arakanese, Buddhists who are also native to the area. One international monitoring group, the International Commission of Jurists, has called this a “recipe for disaster.” But the plan is favored by one of the loudest anti-Rohingya organizations, the Arakan National Party, which favors “inhuman acts” to rid their homeland of Muslims. There is a reason why they have denied the UN and other observers access to the Rakhine State. No one expects her to be in a position to do something about it, seeing her role in the Government, but her silence and then condoning what has been happening is a bitter pill to try to swallow. So should she be stripped of her Nobel Peace Prize? Should she at least speak out for the Rohingya? Or is her silence merely to protect her political standing in a country that barely recognises them as being human beings? Is it possible that she is marching with popular opinion about the Rohingya and perhaps even holds similar views? Are we seeing the fall of a once human rights icon? Or was she always like this and we were just blind to see it before or did not really care until the situation became too horrific to ignore any longer? And what does that say about the rest of the world community? She has recently advised she would not be coming to the UN to speak to the General Assembly.. My guess is that the "Lady" does not want to face the condemnation.