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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Irony of Myanmar's 'Iron lady': Peace activist Aung San Suu Kyi indifferent to Rohingya Muslims' plight in Burma

'Peace activist' mum on persecution
Aung San Suu Kyi was a world hero but does she command the same respect? This is now a question being asked repeatedly due to her apathy towards the plight of Rohingya minority and her controversial statements about their citizenship status.

The world had stood by Suu Kyi and openly supported the pro-democracy woman who had been under house arrest by the military government in Myanmar but after her release and victory, her stand on the Rohingya issue has been shocking to say the least.

Worse, Rohingyas were getting killed in the rioting when she was on a tour to Europe. She didn't speak about the violence back home, issued no direct appeal to her people to stop violence and while newspapers said she was treated like 'Rockstar' and awarded doctorate, Suu Kyi made THE controversial statement. 

The 'iron' woman, who was supposed to have spoken for the rights of the community, has gone to the extent of questioning that if the minority indeed belongs to Burma. What can be the biggest irony? She was a hero for everyone but no more for me and perhaps many others. 

The Rohingyas, a stateless people, have been living in Myanmar for centuries until the military government in 1982 [through a citizenship law] decided to strip the off their nationality. The community that is termed by Amnesty and other agencies as one of the most persecuted in the world, is now termed 'outsider'. 

Rohingyas population estimates range from 8,00,000 to 1 million though it is suspected that the government figures are markedly less than the actual population. The community has faced hostility, prejudices and massacres for the last 60 years.

World Wakes up to the plight of Rohingyas

But the woman who suffered most at the hands of the military, seems to be in sync with the junta's [army] views about the Rohingyas who have been discriminated, oppressed and systematically forced out of Burma for decades.

Now pandering to popular sentiments, Suu Kyi has refrained from making any statement. No wonder, the Rohingyas are dejected and have lost hope from the woman they had supported and even vote for in election, aiming for change. Does she feel the Bamars would get upset if she speaks for Rohingyas!

That't what politicians do. But this is not expected from a leader of her stature. The ethnic riots between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims left nearly 90 dead while 90,000 were displaced. But she ket mum. Bangladesh didn't let fleeing Rohingyas, who wanted an asylum, and forced them to go back to their country. 

It was in this scenario that reporters during her tour to England, France, Ireland and other countries, asked her repeatedly on this humanitarian crisis. She kept mum and avoided a comment on this issue, even as the extent of violence had shaken her country.
Rohingya woman cries after her husband got killed
When she was not left with any alternative, she shrewdly said, "The rule of the law is needed". 

Is this you expect from a statesman, a Nobel prize winner or a world leader or a fighter? 

Newspapers were finally getting critical about the fact that her tour appeared more a celebration and PR exercise.

She seemed to echo the hardline sentiment that Rohingyas are illegal immigrants [refugees] in Myanmar. 

She finally said that Myanmar must clarify citizenship rules and that she was unsure whether Rohingyas could be regarded as Maynamar nationals. WHAT A SHAME!

The world is changing Ma'am. The fascist rule had somewhat managed to keep the country insulated but news about the clashes and genocides can't be suppressed any more. 

That day I saw the group on Facebook group 'I have no respect left for you Aung San Suu Kyi...'.A leading newspaper questions, 'Has Suu Kyi lost that moral voice?' 

It is no bravery to get aligned to right-wing forces for minor gains. Nationalism becomes Jingoism easily. It takes a GANDHI to counter populist mood and use the leader's moral authority to say things that may not appear nice [and to go against the tide]. 

So those who compared you to the great Nelson Mandela, may have to do a rethink now. As an activist you struggled, spent a lifetime fighting oppressive forces. People put faith in you but you let us down. 

Your tour is over and soon you will be back to Yangon [formerly Rangoon]. If you don't speak for the victims, just because they look like Bengalis, you will be considered an accomplice in letting this persecution go on. 

We urge you to make amends and take steps for reconciliation between Rohingya and the rest. Isn't it time for you to live up to your own reputation and redeem yourself?


Dr. Junior said...

Making command to our leader? or is it a threat? Your article is not based on the event actually occurred in Rakhine state. We'd seen some violence in late days but most are done by so-called Rohinja people. Houses were burnt down, people were killed but who are the real victims? Many Rakhine people fled away from their home in fear of their lives. If you google the photos of the violence, you will see who were the assailants. I think you are making things worse. Don't make the killers like heroes. We expect law will be restored and peace will be brought again to Rakhine state. We live by peace.

Khine Soe Lung said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Frank said...

This is an honest article. But by reading the comments by her acolytes, it is so clear that these people are blind to the horrors by their own on Rohingyas.

indscribe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tint said...


Ameena said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Khine Soe Lung said...

Basically, Rohingya terrorists' occupying myanmar land and trying to slaughter the natives and the natives' protecting seems to be misunderstood as a religious issue now. Rohingya, who fled from Bangladesh and settled in myanmar illegally and who are now investigated having contact with al q*&**, are not myanmar nationality nor myanmar race. Myanmar are not against Islam religion, nor against muslim as a race, Myanmar are just protecting their country and their land not to be invacuated, their natives not to be bullied and their ladies not to be raped by those rohingya terr&%$@&&. Who would like to accept your tenants rape your daughters or sisters and kill your father like the rohingyas are doing in myanmar? If you do, you are invited to adopt them as refugees in your country.

Anonymous said...

This is an honest article. But by reading the comments by her acolytes, it is so clear that these people are blind to the horrors by their own on Rohingyas.

indscribe said...

@ Dr Junior: Strange that my observation on the issue makes you feel that it is 'command or threat'. The same world has supported Aung San Suu Kyi, but today if there is a minor criticism, you are just not able to take it in proper spirit. VERY SAD.

@ Mr Khine Soe Lung: Your comment is in a bad taste. Rohingyas have been persecuted, whether you believe it or not.

The hate exhibited in your comment has shown the true face of this 'nationalism'.

Whoever lives in a country for centuries is a native. End this cycle of hate and violence.

The way to you speak about this 3-4% minority, everyone will know who is the aggressor.

I don't allow abusive comments and I am still contemplating if I should delete it but the fact is your comment would let people outside Myanmar, about the kind of hate some of you have within. SO thank your for showing your REAL SELF.

Ameena said...

All of you are using the word Terrorist for Rohingyas in comments and in videos, which shows despite going through so much bloodshed, you are plain insensitive towards human tragedy and look at deaths in terms of Rohingyas, non-Rohingyas, rather that considering it as a human tragedy. You are sick guys, have no humanity. Myanmar surely needs dictators... not democracy because your language suggest that this democracy will be mobocracy.

wunna said...

is really sad to see that you don't get the true message :(

we recognize rohingyas as our citizenship(if they are true citizenship)
And just like Indians, Chinese in Myanmar, who lived in myanmar for so long, we don't see them as foreigners , we just see them as Local Indians, Local Chinese..etc. look at the capital Yangon, Beside the Buddhist temple, it was a mosque. it is the sign of multi culture and multi-religion.

but we don't recognize as our ethnic groups. just like our local indians/chineses lived here and never asked to be ethnic groups.

but Rohingyas are not. They not only ask to be ethnic group , they even ask for their own state.

Imagine that Mexicans stayed along the US border area and ask for their own state. How US gov/ public will react ?

I also oppose any torture to anyone and killing rohingya ppl as well.

I hope you all understand...

Khine Soe Lung said...

1) what do you call, in your language, people who collect arms, do harms to others and asking for something by force, which completely is not possible by birth? we call them terrorists as they are doing terrorism.

2) we don't hate them and we are not the ones fighting. having said, they started raping and murdering girls and burning local villages. the locals are still not doing any harms to them but just requesting to keep the rohingyas stay far from them.

3) does any law of any country states whoever lives in a country for centuries is a native? they may become citizens provided that their criteria meet the needs but never ever become native, which i believe is applied in all countries. and do the natives of a country threaten others like the rohingya are doing now?

Anonymous said...

I agree with sister Ameena's comment because Maght and Burmese government do not accept the Rohigyas' undeniable history. there are very firm history of Rohingyas in Arakan. Arakan is name by Muslim. it derived from Arabic word (Al Re Qun). At the time before independence, General Aung San was going to England via India ; he stayed 3 days in India and 2 days Pakistan(now). He met with Gandi jee and Qaidi Azam Mohamad Ali Jenna Khan during his visit. This visit was made for only discussion about Burma independence. There was a special discussion between Aung San and Mohammad Ali Jenna Khan concerning with Rohingya Muslims of Burma.Aung San promised to Qaidi Azam that Rohingyas must have achieved equal citizenship right as other ethnic minority grougs.General Aung San, returning to Burma from EngLand. He explained all to his party (PA SA PA LA). Atfer death of Aung San U Nu became Chairman of that party. U Nu gave the Rohingyas' rights. In the year of 1988, Major General Aung Gyi who was the vice army chief.who, he confess Rohigyas are reorganized twice by parliamentary and under military ruled after U Nu.Maght and Burmese goverment hate to Rohingyas only for Rohingyas are Muslim. Beside rohingyas another three Muslim ethnic minority groups had been erased from the ethnic groups. the fake tellers say Rohingyas are migrated.what for erased other Muslim Minority from the list of ethnic race? Maughs and Barmans and all are migrated from another to Burma. Neither Barman not come to Burma with the name of Barma and also Maugh (Rakine) and others, their speaks were not like as today speaking. At the earlier settlers of Arakan were called Mohamadan. Rakhine were called as Maugh (ogree). they will know themself.

Anonymous said...

What is your reason to defame on our leaders regardless of trueful bases?
She got recognized by the world because of her non-violence not only in action in her spirit to avoid further bloodshed in our country and believe us that problem should be solved through negotiation not physical attack. We all are humans with different philosophies and can communicate each other for good relation. May I ask you for simple question,can you solve all the problem by blaming/criticizing on the other side?
Now, she is trying to build, reforming our country to catchup with other developing/developed societies in the world to better understandings.She hasn't governed yet,she is all in mental power not yet legal power to govern every situation in Myanmar, so you are not fair to state your comment as she's been already got all the souvereign power.
You can visit and see the real relationship of people between various beliefs in Myanmar.
Aren't you believe in rule of law? without proper rules and regulations, how to we stay peacefully side by side each other in the uncertained world?

Anonymous said...

Rohingya are TERRORISTS from Bangladesh.
Our leader, the nobel peace prize winner, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi never support terrorism.

Arakan state (also called Rakhine State) belongs to Rakhine race.

Rohingya are burning many villages in Arakan state & killing many local people

Anonymous said...

again & again
Rohingya are bangladesh people.
they speack bagladesh language.
they are illegal immigrants for Myanmar.

james said...

Rohingya are not burmese . even great britain knew about it . they are illegal immigrants for Myanmar.u indian dont know about this people . if you are so kind or nice , bring all this people to your country . coz they understand your language and bangali language . also the same cultures with bangaladash . if you dont know about Roningya stories , shut the fuck up !!

indscribe said...

Anon, Mr James and All,

First thing, you have every right to feel that Rohingyas are not Burmese.

But they are humans. Even if many of them are criminals, there are criminals in every society.

However, the way you guys are filled with hate, gives a wrong message. How can entire group of a million odd people be termed 'terrorists'.

They include women and children. There are ill feelings everywhere, there is distrust but the kind of SWEEPING STATEMENTS like 'all Rohingyas are Terrorists' clearly illustrates that you guys are going a bit too far in your hate for a micro-minuscule minority.

I am getting so many hate messages, abusive comments that I am stunned. I am not posting them as this site is not a place for uncivilised behaviour or battleground.

The world respects Aung San Suu Kyi and hence I wrote a simple post that we expect her to take action, but in reply I get the worst comments.

I can't understand what's wrong with you people? On Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, internet also the comments are similar.

This sort of mad anger and targeting a group will only harm your reputation. Please understand.


Anonymous said...

I always loved Buddhism and their message of peace. But Buddha followers behaviour in Burma is tragic. I wondered how could Buddhists be so violent.


Jack Curious said...

Could you address the following points:
1) You mentioned in definite terms that Rohingya have lived in the country 'for centuries'. From my little research, it seems even historians are divided as to their origin. Would you mind telling us (with authoritative citations) how you arrived at that definite conclusion?
2) Is this conflict only one-way? (i.e. are there no people (Rakhine, Burmese, etc) who have also been killed by the attack of Rohingyas in this struggle?)

Jack Curious said...

By the way, I found the identical blog posts on:
i) The Voice of Rohingya (by someone living in Myanmar currently)
ii) Muslim Malaysia Reviews (by someone affiliated with Malaysia, it seems)

Are you the same person in both cases, or there are at least 2 people plagiarising your content?

indscribe said...

@ Mr Jack: They have copied and pasted it, it seems, without giving credit.

I am not a historian but even if someone lives on a land for 30-40 years, they are locals.

Rohingyas have been living since 1824, by all accounts, and by some accounts even before.

It is not one way. Who says? All killing is regretable. But by calling one side, which is far less in number, as 'All of them Terrorists' and accusing them alone of rioting, is wrong.

Ravi said...

Thanks for opening the eyes of the world. A comment person has writely said that the majority people seem biased as t heir comments are in bad language but no Rohingya has talked bad of Burmese. I congratulate you for writing this excellent stuff.

indscribe said...


I am really worried by the disproportionate amount of hatemail I am getting after this post.

In most countries where there are even secessionist movements going on, no where majority openly accuses entire minority as criminal and justifies their killing.

I have seen the most disgusting comments and irrational talk on this post that simply tried to put things in perspective.


READERS OF THE BLOG would have enough insight as to who is aggressor and who is victim. Go to other forum, no more comments here.

urdudaaN said...

I met a converted Christian from that region (Philippines) more than once and he was so hateful of Muslims that I could not understand. On the other hand when unfortunate child abuse/rape reports were linked to churches, he would change the channel on the public television in the lobby and show his dissatisfaction with the news channels.

Anonymous said...

All Church churn out so hateful minds that there is 100% extemism. Did we see anyone in the democratic, secular, humane West or East, branding any of themselves extremist. On the contrary, muslim brand themselves. The slavery needs to be eradicated before a 'really' humane system is put in place.

International School Bangalore said...

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Anonymous said...

"I am not a historian but even if someone lives on a land for 30-40 years, they are locals"

You are so naive to say that.
Maybe all those whose who went on work visas to the gulf and worked there for decades should also be given local citizenship.
Did you know, Bhutan has completely erased any sign of nepalis from there country.
I read you blog occasionally, don't recollect you writing anything about the mass killings of Tamils in lanka where more than a l lakh were terminated, just like that.

Anonymous said...

All the people here
let me tell you Aborigines are the actual inhabitant or ethnic group of Australia,but there are so many other races reside there with peace,The red Indians were original people who lived in American continent but not America is filled African,Asians,Europeans so on and so forth.
You cant blame a minority group just because they migrated from a different land to your country
There are so many migrated races in India who cam during the time of Mughal Empire

Salil mir said...

I used to see Buddhists as tolerant god loving people but is surprised to know that they have not considered Rohingya community as human and have killed women and children in inhuman way. THIS IS JUST SHAME FOR BUDDHISTS who have done this. this is not what they are born to do.
How come they are not giving the minimum rights to these people who deserve food, shelter and clothing.
I have not come across a country which is denying citizenship to their own people. THIS IS JUST ABSOLUTELY SHAME FOR BURMA. and Aung san suu kyi is just another politician who is there to save her own skin.

Anonymous said...

Sweeping statements like "there are criminals in every community" will not save the neck of Muslims.
You Muslims always see bad in others but overlook your own faults.
What do you know about the Rohingyas?they were harrassing the Burma girls..do you know this...

PKB said...

Mr. indscribe, you have written this article criticizing Mrs. Aung Sun Suu Kyi for her silence over the attack on rapist, criminal-minded Rohingiyas. Good! You have given good lecture to other religionists. How many article/blog have you written on brutal torture on indigenous Buddhist population of Chitagong Hill Tract (CHT) committed by Bangladeshi Muslim settlers and Bangladeshi Army? Why don't you preach your co-religionists on this issue?

editor said...

I have no personal issue with her but being a Nobel prize laureate she has to speak up. However, by calling all Rohingyas as criminals and terming Bangladeshi settlers are aggressors, you show your ideological bigotry. You are free to write, aren't you.

Anonymous said...

Rohingyas as you said were living in Burma for centuries, so why they failed to gain the trust of the Buddhists.

editor said...


It is like saying that why Jews failed to win trust of Germans. Just like Nazism preached hatred, here also the ugly face of majority-led oppression is seen in Buddhist majority Myanmar.

Either it is in Muslim-majority Pakistan, Germany or Burma, wherever majority oppresses minority brutally, it must be condemned. Truth should be accepted. Same set of principles the world over.

Anonymous said...

Same set of principles the world over.
Now you approved my comment.
Well you Muslims have driven out people from their own lands for the last 1400, Now it's your turn.

Taste your own medicine Muslims.
I know you will delete this comment. you coward

Anonymous said...

For your information :

These 5 Muslims countries have not taken a single Syrian refugee:
When your own kind does not want you , why blame others:

Muslim Countries Refuse to Take A Single Syrian Refugee, Cite Risk of Exposure to Terrorism

PKB said...

I fully support the views expressed by Anon. The Muslim intelligentsia will remain silent whenever this issue is raised.

Anonymous said...

first u r an Indian muslim, so mind ur own biz.

second the rohingyas were rapists and murderers so they are getting what they deserve

PKB said...

I am a logical and rational Hindu. I know very well who are these Rohingiyas and what are they oing in Rakhine province of Myanmar. They must be sent back to Bangladesh, their original country. Bangladesh is throwing out millions of Hindus and Buddhists from their country, but is hesitating to take back even some thousands of fellow-Muslims. Do they have the right to preach others?

Anonymous said...


Latest interview of Daw Suu Kyi
She refused to comment on 'atrocities' on Muslims. she was disgusted that she was interviwed by a Muslim woman.


I wonder how bad the Rohingyas are