Tuesday, June 09, 2015

The Rohingya genocide, and Aung San Suu Kyi's silence

More than two years ago, back in April 2013, which now feels like it was a long time ago, I blogged about the atrocious treatment of the Muslim minority in Burma, where even the Buddhist monks--yes, the monks--were leading the genocidal attacks on the Muslims.

The situation has been deteriorating for the Rohingya community.  In November 2014, I blogged again when I noticed from the news reports that the situation was spinning out of control.

Here we are in June, and it is a crisis of epic scale.


I am not the only one who has been thinking all through, "where the hell is Aung San Suu Kyi?"

In case you forgot, Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her committed opposition to the brutal military regime and for her insistence on non-violence.
"In awarding the Nobel Peace Prize. . . to Aung San Suu Kyi," the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced in 1991, it wished "to honour this woman for her unflagging efforts and to show its support for the many people throughout the world who are striving to attain democracy, human rights and ethnic conciliation by peaceful means."
Suu Kyi, the Committee added, was "an important symbol in the struggle against oppression."
We would then expect her to make public statements on, and to lead the opposition to, the violence against the Rohingya, right?

She is missing in action.  Big time.  What a shame!

Oops, she is not missing in action; she made a decision not to interfere!
Ms Suu Kyi, 69, has defended her reticence over alleged Rohingya persecution by saying she is a politician and not a human rights defender.
She argues that the problem of thousands of Rohingya migrants who have fled Myanmar - and are now believed to be stranded at sea - was for the government to solve.
What a shame!

Even the Dalai Lama couldn't get her to move on this:
The Dalai Lama has urged fellow Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, a main opposition leader in Myanmar, to do more to help protect the persecuted Muslim Rohingya minority in her country amid a worsening migration crisis.
Despite thousands of Rohingya fleeing on harrowing boat journeys to Southeast Asia to escape a wave of deadly attacks and discriminatory treatment by the country's Buddhist majority, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has yet to speak out against their plight.
The Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader said on Thursday she must voice her opposition to the persecution, adding that he had already appealed twice to her in person since 2012, when deadly sectarian violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state pitted the Rohingya against local Buddhists, to do more on their behalf.
"It's very sad. In the Burmese (Myanmar) case I hope Aung San Suu Kyi, as a Nobel laureate, can do something," he told The Australian newspaper in an interview in advance of a visit to Australia next week.
What a shame!

From a country with its own terrible experiences, another Nobel Peace Prize recipient chimes in:
Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, another winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, said in a recorded message aired this week that aid donors, including the European Union, should make their funding for the impoverished country “conditional on the restoration of citizenship, nationality and basic human rights to the Rohingya.”
“A country that is not at peace with itself, that fails to acknowledge and protect the dignity and worth of all its people, is not a free country,” Archbishop Tutu said in remarks that were broadcast at a conference on the Rohingya in Oslo this week.
He said he agreed with those who say a “slow genocide” was being committed against the Rohingya.
What a shame that Aung San Suu Kyi has stayed silent all these years over the Rohingya genocide!

Oh, I suppose she is too busy traveling around, especially to countries that care not about human rights!

What a shame!


Shachi said...

I simply could not get past the picture you have posted :(. The word genocide gives me chills and nightmares....I hope no human soul has to ever suffer from it.

Anne in Salem said...

I will never, ever understand violence against one group by another, whether for religious, ethnic, racial, or any other reason. Why is it so hard to treat others the way we want to be treated?

I had not noticed her silence so appreciate your comments. How does she reconcile her own contradiction? She says she won't comment since she is a politician not a human rights defender, yet she says it is a government problem to solve. Don't politicians work in the government to solve such problems? I wonder what is really behind her inaction.

gils said...

The curse of being born in a continent full of people is that, any atrocity is a mere statistic. Strangely this incident has found little takers in any media from any country for that matter!! never knew the burmese were so powerful!!!

Sriram Khé said...

All of us are in agreement that the situation is horrible, and it is awful that Aung San Suu Kyi has stayed silent throughout. Her silence is reasoned as a low form of political calculation: that there is more than merely a few who are targeting the Muslims--Rohingya--and that by speaking out she will alienate them and lose their votes at the elections this coming fall.
The military government is making sure that she stays in this politically tough corner.
Oh well, all Nobel Prize recipients are not Desmond Tutus--apparently most are the realpolitik, calculating, Kissinger kind! :(

The Burmese are powerless and puny, but are at an interesting geo-political situation, backed by the Chinese ... but, that's another post some other time.