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Scratch One Off the Hero List?: Suu Kyi ‘says she cannot back Myanmar’s Rohingya’

Suu Kyi in parliament

We have been reporting on the violence being perpetrated against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, as well as the long history of persecution the minority group has faced in their land of origin since the recent conflagration in June.

In a blow to “moral leadership,” famed democracy activist Suu Kyi has essentially thrown the Rohingya under the bus. This comes at a time when reports are showing that the “crises is deepening” with many Rohingya now attempting even more perilous boat voyages to flee to safety in Bangladesh and Thailand, only to be turned away.

Suu Kyi makes a false equivalency between the perpetrators and the victims, as though the Rohingya are too be blamed for the violence and statelessness wrought upon them.

Shame on you Suu Kyi.

Suu Kyi ‘says she cannot back Myanmar’s Rohingya


YANGON — Aung San Suu Kyi has declined to speak out on behalf of Rohingya Muslims and insisted she will not use “moral leadership” to back either side in deadly communal unrest in west Myanmar, reports said.

The Nobel laureate, who has caused disappointment among international supporters for her muted response to violence that has swept Rakhine state, said both Buddhist and Muslim communities were “displeased” that she had not taken their side.

More than 100,000 people have been displaced since June in two major outbreaks of violence in the state, where renewed clashes last month uprooted about 30,000 people.

Dozens have been killed on both sides and thousands of homes torched.

“I am urging tolerance but I do not think one should use one’s moral leadership, if you want to call it that, to promote a particular cause without really looking at the sources of the problems,” Suu Kyi told the BBC on Saturday.

Speaking in the capital Naypyidaw after talks with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who has said the EU is “deeply concerned” about the violence and its consequences for Myanmar’s reforms, Suu Kyi said she could not speak out in favour of the stateless Rohingya.

“I know that people want me to take one side or the other, so both sides are displeased because I will not take a stand with them,” she said.

The democracy champion, who is now a member of parliament after dramatic changes overseen by a quasi-civilian regime that took power last year, said the rule of law should be established as a first step before looking into other problems.

“Because if people are killing one another and setting fire to one another’s houses, how are we going to come to any kind of reasonable settlement?” she said.

Myanmar’s 800,000 Rohingya are seen by the government and many in the country as illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh. They face severe discrimination that activists say has led to a deepening alienation.

The Rohingya, who make up the vast majority of those displaced in the fighting, are described by the UN as among the world’s most persecuted minorities.

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  • James Perkins
  • What amazes me is how the Daila Lama gets away with not reacting .. while he was always ready with condemning government violence against Buddhist monks in the same country … I am starting to think this is not a case of ” Buddhist indifference ” or “selective compassion ” . Seeing in how much hurry the newly elected executive of “Corporation America “, Mr Obama is to get to Myanmar, I am starting to assume that ALL those world leaders , Including Mr. D.Lama are just corporate stooges .. With big corporations telling them what they are allowed to condemn …

  • Fred

    Strip her of her peace prizes!

  • Truth Hurts

    I think that “leadership” is not just a hollow phrase, merely the top dog of the pack.
    It encompasses altruism, ethics & morality, basically “in general”, treating others how we wish to be treated, despite our differences.

    I think that “leaders” have a greater responsibility than the flocks that they shepherd e.g. Hitler.

    From personal experience, I do not blame the ordinary X,Y or Z tribe embroiled in an tit for tat escalation of immediate panic-led sectarian riot against rival tribe A,B or C, as much as those of detached long-term “crowd-control/mob-rule” vision. Her pro-active words could defuse the powerful majority tribe, just as the noble actions of Gandhi or Nelson Mandela.

    Human beings do fight, regardless of their proclaimed ideals; we are individuals with irrational emotions not Spock-like hive-mind robots. In a panic riot, trustworthy information goes dark & the stirrers manipulate the mob with blood-curdling unproven anecdotes. Mass psychology & manipulation is easier with modern communications technology.

    Whether one wears a Muslim, Buddhist or Purple frog tribal t-shirt is irrelevant, we are flesh & blood with the same emotional buttons.
    Doctors know that smoking & drinking is logically dangerous, yet many still indulge. This is the same with all paradigms/ideologies/religions/politics of peace & love. We are ALL fallible humans.

    But we must choose our “leaders” to be better than us, or else we are f*d on a mass scale.

  • There is a great deal of difference between Arab “repression?” of Berber and the stance of Suu Kyi on the slaughter/genocide of the Muslims of Burma or Myanmar. Reasons:

    ~ Even if the Arab “repressed ?” the Berber in North Africa,they did not slaughter them,nor did they commit genocide against them. Garibaldi’s column, here, talks about genocide being committed against the Muslims in Myanmar,not repression. The difference is a huge one.

    ~ Since a Nobel Prize for peace has been bestowed upon Suu Kyi, it seems to me that the vast majority of the people of the world has expected her to live-up, and act in defending human rights every where,not only in Burma. She has failed to live-up to that standard of expectation.

    ~ It is well known that several persons who won the Noble Peace Prize did not live up to the high standard of expectation either, but there were some Nobel Peace Prize winners who did. I can even name few on each side of the equation. Unfortunately, Suu Kyi’s stance on the genocide that has been taken place against the Muslims in Myanmar/Burma indicates that she belongs to the former group of Nobel Peace Prize winners, not the latter one.

    ~ The genocide against the Muslims in Myanmar/Burma has been condemned not only by the Islamic world, but also by the United Nations.

    I can go on giving more reasons to prove Suu Kyi;s stand is,at least wrong,if not a horrible sin. Lest I burden the readers, I believe the above reasons will suffice for what I am trying to convey to those who believe that she is a patriot Burmese; and hence she should be excused.

    Hell no,she should not be excused, because of what she has become: one of the well known champions of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

  • Chameleon


    You say, “Suu Kyi never presented herself as anything other than an ethnic-Myanma patriot. I’m not sure why the world expects her to represent the interests of people who aren’t ethnic Myanma.”

    Perhaps you are right. A leader of a country should not be responsible for the basic human rights of all its inhabitants who are not “ethnic” to the country. In spite of the fact that such inhabitants have lived in the country for hundreds — if not thousands — of years, it can indeed be argued that a leader should have every right to declare them “stateless” so that externalizing their basic human rights is perfectly justifiable.

    Let’s not forgot that she has some great historical precedents to give her the justification to stand on such visionary high ground. Israel’s leaders have been exceptional patriots for “ethnic Israelis” in how they dealt with those “stateless” Arabs. U.S. leaders have been exceptional patriots for “ethnic Americans” in how they dealt with those “stateless” Native Americans. And, of course, let’s not forgot Hitler, who was an exceptional patriot for “ethnic Germans” in how he dealt with those “stateless” Jews. I must admit – your logic is indeed historically consistent and supported by some very “exceptional” individuals. Perhaps you should count yourself lucky in being just as exceptional and patriotic in your worldview as they were. The rest of us clearly lack the vision that you have from your superior position. We are still struggling to fathom such moral possibilities from our humble positions.

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