Sunday, January 10, 2016

Peace is War. Slavery is Freedom. Strength is Ignorance.

The Nobel Peace Prize has never been without controversies.  Take the case of Mohandas "Mahatma" Gandhi, for instance:
Gandhi was nominated in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947 and, finally, a few days before he was murdered in January 1948.
Gandhi was not recognized for the phenomenally peaceful methods he preached and practiced.
Up to 1960, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded almost exclusively to Europeans and Americans. In retrospect, the horizon of the Norwegian Nobel Committee may seem too narrow.
"In retrospect" the Committee ought to feel awful about handing the prize to Barack Obama too, as I have often blogged about!

A few months ago, I blogged about another Nobel Peace Prize recipient behaving in ways that were anything but about peace.  "What a shame!" I commented about Aung San Suu Kyi's silence over the systematic campaign against the country's Rohingya.  She intentionally even shut off the strong advice from two other Peace Prize honorees: the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu.

In his column, Nicholas Kristof writes about the wily politician that Aung San Suu Kyi is:
She is now a politician, and oppressing a minority like the Rohingya is popular with mostly Buddhist voters.
Oh, wow, what a surprise!  How awful a politician is she?
Aung San Suu Kyi avoids even saying “Rohingya.”
Kristof writes:
Aung San Suu Kyi is also inheriting the worst ethnic cleansing you’ve never heard of, Myanmar’s destruction of a Muslim minority called the Rohingya.
A recent Yale study suggested that the abuse of the more than one million Rohingya may amount to genocide; at the least, a confidential United Nations report to the Security Council says it may constitute “crimes against humanity under international criminal law.”
Yet Aung San Suu Kyi seems to plan to continue this Myanmar version of apartheid.
Of course, I agree with Kristof when he concludes:
Defenders of Myanmar and of Aung San Suu Kyi note that the country has many problems; they see the Rohingya as one misfortune in a nation with a vast swath of misfortunes. The priorities, as they see them, are economic development, democracy and an end to the country’s many local conflicts, and they protest that it’s myopic to focus on the problems of one ethnic group in a nation so full of challenges.
Yet to me, there is something particularly horrifying about a government deliberately targeting an ethnic group for destruction, locking its members in concentration camps and denying them livelihood, education and health care. When kids are dying in concentration camps, after being confined there because of their ethnicity, that’s not just one more problem of global poverty. It’s a crime against humanity, and addressing it is the responsibility of all humanity.
Strip her of the Nobel, I say.

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