The Rohingyas, Aung San Suu Kyi, and the Maligning of Myanmar

According to most of the world’s media, an unfathomable tragedy has been slowly unfolding in Myanmar. The Buddhist majority, inflamed by sinister monks, has been persecuting, killing, even massacring, members of the entirely inoffensive Muslim Rohingya minority in the northern state of Rakhine (formerly, and in some places still, known as “Arakan”). The term “Rohingya” refers, as Professor Andrew Selth of Griffith University has noted, to the “Bengali Muslims who live in Arakan State…most Rohingyas arrived with the British colonialists in the 19th and 20th centuries.” Some call the attacks a “genocide.”

According to almost all reports from non-Burmese, these attacks on the Rohingya are completely indefensible and, indeed, inexplicable, the result of hysteria – assumed by one and all to be without any conceivable justification –whipped up by Buddhist monks, headed by a sinister senior monk, Ashin Parathu, who has been accused by The Guardian of “stoking religious hatred across Burma. His paranoia and fear, muddled with racist stereotypes and unfounded rumors, have helped to incite violence and spread disinformation.”

Particularly disappointing for many reporters has been what they regard as the unforgivable silence of Aung San Suu Kyi, currently the head of the Myanmar government. For Aung San Suu Kyi was formerly the leader of the nonviolent opposition to the Burmese military, placed under house arrest by the generals, then freed and awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. For more than two decades she was, for her continued defiance of the generals, and willingness to endure that house arrest, a darling of the international media. She has held a number of important government posts and is now both Foreign Minister and State Counsellor (equivalent to Prime Minister) in Myanmar.

But in her continuing refusal to condemn outright the attacks on the Rohingya, and in her insistence that in Myanmar there has been “violence on both sides,” Aung San Suu Kyi is now seen by many outside Myanmar in quite another light. Many have criticized Aung San Suu Kyi for her silence on the 2012 Rakhine State riots, when Buddhists attacked Muslims, and castigate her for what they see as her general indifference to the ongoing mistreatment of the Rohingya by Burmese Buddhists. Twenty-three Nobel laureates and other “peace activists” signed a letter in November 2016 asking Aung San Suu Kyi to speak out about the Rohingya: “Despite repeated appeals to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, we are frustrated that she has not taken any initiative to ensure full and equal citizenship rights of the Rohingyas,” their Open Letter states. “Daw Suu Kyi is the leader and is the one with the primary responsibility to lead, and lead with courage, humanity and compassion.”

Prime Minister Suu Kyi has refused to address accusations that the Muslim Rohingya may be victims of crimes against humanity, and in an interview with the BBC’s Misha Husain she refused to condemn violence against the Rohingya and denied that Muslims in Myanmar have been subject to ethnic cleansing. She insisted that the tensions in her country were due to a “climate of fear” caused by a “worldwide perception that global Muslim power is very great.” And apparently, according to some reports, she was angry that the BBC had chosen a Muslim to interview her.

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About OyiaBrown

Please send me, as a comment to this page, any old material you have for inclusion in The Daily Joke Alert - to help enable us all to have our fancy tickled regularly! Never mind the state it's in as I tidy everything up prior to publication. Don't let good material go to waste - and so much does. In the interests of the environment we should always try to re-cycle everything, especially jokes. You know that makes sense! You may find some historical stuff here, but this does not really matter as humor is fairly timeless.

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