Today I want to introduce you to a bigot and a Nobel laureate who ultimately is a coward and self-serving politician like the best of them. I am of course talking about Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese politician and the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
This award has elevated her to a position of great moral and political authority in Burma (Myanmar if you must), but she has not used that great power for human rights, better political environment, or the advancement of the quality of life for her people. What she is doing is talking and giving speeches and little else. Ms. Suu Kyi is, however, extraordinarily close-mouthed when it comes to the suffering the Rohingya population of Burma.
The State of Myanmar does not recognise the Rohingyas as its citizens, and the autocrats who lead the country promote systematic and brutal oppression of the Rohingyas. They are being subjected to ethnic cleansing, thrown out of their homes, and drowning like rats in the waters of the ocean.
All of this would result in protests and sanctions from the rest of the world, if the Rohingyas were not Rohingya Muslims. The fact these poor people are Muslims seem to have made the Rohingyas the target of great pogroms which are carried out with impunity.
I will be the first to accept that Muslim Jihadists and their atrocities are setting new and abominable standards. ISIS and its marauders are doing their own pogroms and killing, maiming, and enslaving people of all faith with impunity.
Does the crime of the co-religionist condemn the Rohingyas to murder and mayhem? The answer seems to be yes.
A serene looking Buddhist monk named Ashin Wirathu and his 969 movement is propagating violence against the Rohingya including killing of women and children based on one simple thread – that they are Muslims and should be wiped out from Myanmar, which is mainly Buddhist.
Very much like his ISIS cousins, the monk makes no apology for the sectarian violence that he brings upon his hapless countrymen, albeit, the Muslim ones.
“Wirathu plays a central role with his hate speech and the Islamophobia that it creates, given that the Rohingya are surrounded by a hostile community that can be whipped into violence very quickly,” says Penny Green, director of the International State Crime Initiative at Queen Mary University of London.
This murderous monk has a serene face, and like all monks, a shaved head and saffron robes. He prays in a quiet monastery in Mandalay. That is where all similarities between a God-fearing messenger of peace and compassion (Buddhist religion is based around compassion for all beings) ends, abruptly and brutally.
He advocates the wholesale extermination of nearly a million Rohingyas. He wants women and children all killed, and when necessary eaten! This man and his cohorts have managed to pressure the Yangon government to pass a birth control which for now suggests that minorities (other people too) skip a child and reduce the birth rate.
He was also the vocal supporter of a law that forbids marriage between a Burmese and a Rohingya. There are pop songs that are very popular in Myanmar which simply revolve around sectarian hatred and violence.
The whole crisis is now centre-stage with the Rohingyas flooding Southeast-Asia in rickety boats and subjected to inhumane condition by the smugglers. There is some movement afoot to at least give shelter to the people.
However, the underlying reasons are far from addressed or even understood. The Buddhist sectarian impulse is cleverly exploited by the 969 movement. They simply bring out the bogeyman of Islamophobia and the outrage that is committed by ISIS in the name of Islam.
Here is a quite from the Nobel laureate Aung Sung Suu Kyi, “I think we’ll accept that there is a perception that Muslim power, global Muslim power, is very great, and certainly that’s a perception in many parts of the world and in our country, too.”
As you see the Nobel laureate has seamlessly tied the knot of ISIS murders to the murdered Rohingyas. Shame on her!
At the core of the issue is the Nazi like nationalism of the 969 movement egged on by the military, a part of the Buddhist clergy, and alas also by the humanist forces such as Aung San Suu Kyi.
The nationalists are intent on wiping out the Muslims in all of Burma. Muang Zarni, a Burmese democracy activist based in London put the finger on the problem when he said, “Their intent is genocidal in the sense that the Muslims of Burma — all of them, including the ethnically Burmese — are considered leeches in our society the way the Jews were considered leeches and bloodsuckers during the Third Reich when Nazism was taking root.”
There is a real parallel to the way the Burmese civil society is treating the Rohingyas to the way the Jews were treated by the Nazis all across Europe in the early part of last century. The Muslims are called “Kalars”, a derogatory name assigned to the Muslims by the 969 movement and accepted by the Burmese civil society.
George Soros, one of America’s iconic billionaires says this about the Jewish comparison:
“You see, in 1944, as a Jew in Budapest, I too was a Rohingya,” Soros told the Oslo gathering in a video statement.
“Much like the Jewish ghettos set up by Nazis in Eastern Europe during World War II, Aung Mingalar has become the involuntary home to thousands of families who once had access to health care, education, and employment.”
Now, would you think someone like Aung San Suu Kyi, with the moral power of the Nobel Prize, would call out the thugs that are fanning the sectarian flames in Myanmar that bring untold misery upon hundreds and thousands of people.
Here is what she says to justify the murders: “This is what the world needs to understand, that the fear isn’t just on the side of the Muslims but on the side of the Buddhists as well.”
“There’s fear on both sides. And this is what is leading to all these troubles. And we would like the world to understand that the reaction of the Buddhists is also based on fear.”
This is the core of the defense of the Buddhist nationalist and the murderers. The great humanitarian has bought this hook, line, and sinker!
The Dalai Lama in the true Buddhist tradition of compassion has been making statements and adding his moral authority against the persecution of the Rohingyas. He called out Suu Kyi. The Dalai Lama told The Australian newspaper that he’d raised the Rohingya issue with Suu Kyi
“It’s not sufficient to say: ‘How to help these people?’” the Dalai Lama told the paper.
“It’s very sad,” he added from India, where he lives in exile. “I mentioned about this problem and she told me she found some difficulties, that things were not simple but very complicated.”
Yes, it is all very sad.
What is sadder still, is the rumblings in the Jihadi community about starting a Jihad in Myanmar in defense of the Rohingyas whether they want it or not. This may then escalate into something both Bangladesh and India may get dragged into. That would be the outcome that may suit the crazies of the Islamic Jihad and the 969 movement, but not humanity.
What we need is courage now from the likes of Suu Kyi to stand against the hatred from all sides and avoid a future of murder, mayhem, and lunacy.
Aung San Suu Kyi, time for you to use the great teachings of Buddhism, compassion, and your great moral authority to stop the inevitable descent into the hell that follows hatred and intolerance!
Kayes Ahmed is a businessman running multi-national operations from Colorado, USA.
The Nobel Peace Prize 1991 was awarded to Aung San Suu Kyi “for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights.”