Since I wrote about four months ago on the plight of Rohingya (http://newsblaze.com/thoughts/opinions/the-grotesqueness-of-her-excellency-daw_78911/) in Myanmar (formerly, Burma), their situation has worsened a great deal: from mere threats, attacks and killing at small scale by the Buddhist monks under the protection of the ruthless Junta, to the undisputable signs of ethnic cleansing, in total disregard for the international laws that apply to any humanitarian crisis.
Eyewitness reports by reliable media sources and the United Nations support team on ground have established the formation of resistance groups among Rohingya to defend the unrelenting pogrom by the entire Buddhist nation of Myanmar. The killing under the silent blessings of Aung San Suu Kyi – the de facto ruler of the country.
The outbreak of violence in the area has the telltale signature of the Burmese military, which has been accused by international observers, of atrocities against the persecuted Rohingya minority. Tens of thousands have fled their burning villages, many with bullet wounds, towards neighboring Bangladesh, which unfortunately is not too sympathetic towards the victims. Those who somehow are able to sneak through the barbed wire border, are often labeled as ‘terrorists’ and treated with suspicion and indifference!
The continued indiscriminate and vicious killing of Rohingya has now spread into outlying villages of Rakhine province as well. The Google Earth satellite pictures of the region clearly show homes and habitations being set on fire on purpose in the Rohingya enclaves.
Thick black smoke could be seen rising from small settlements surrounded by green fields along miles of the border. Even though it is the height of monsoon season in Southeast Asia now, Myanmar government officials notoriously ascribed these fires to brush fires due to intense heat!
In recent days, as many as 400,000 Rohingya are desperately on the run for their lives towards the Bangladeshi border with no certainty that the country of their ancestors will shelter and protect them.
The people on the run – men, women and children – have been telling harrowing tells of their plight, eating dead animals and drinking muddy water en route. Refugees who have made it to Bangladesh during the past week have narrated horrific stories of massacres in their villages that were raided and burned by government soldiers.
Staff from the UN refugee agency, the United Nations Population Fund, and UNICEF have not been able to conduct any field work in northern Rakhine for more than a week now: a dangerous halt in life-saving endeavor that will affect not only Rohingya, but the poor Buddhist residents as well, who solely depend on this aid – roughly about 250,000 people without regular access to food.
Major NGOs including Oxfam and Save the Children, have lodged formal complaints that the government itself has restricted access to the conflict area and have put the lives of hundreds of thousands in jeopardy, for fear of exposure of collusion and cover-up by the government.
Ever since the atrocities against the ethnic Rohingya began in Rakhine province, Aung San Suu Kyi has consistently and vehemently denied knowledge of any atrocities by her coreligionists. Vexed by the pressure from international media, at one point she flatly refused to even accept the very existence of Rohingya in Myanmar. To hide her inability to rein in the military, to make its intentions of ethnic cleansing clear, her government had asked the US ambassador to Myanmar to not even use the term ‘Rohingya’, but to call them simply ‘Bengalis’!
About 1.1 million Rohingya live in Myanmar, which refuses to grant them citizenship. The Myanmar government has been internationally condemned for its treatment of the ethnic minority.
‘Crimes against humanity are being committed by the military and police against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority who are subject to horrific torture,’ noted a top UN official recently. For this, she was denied free access to the conflict area in Myanmar; also, Aung San Suu Kyi denied her an interview, stating that the allegations UN official made were ‘exaggerated’ and that it was an ‘internal’ and not an ‘international’ issue.
Aung San Suu Kyi, has forged an increasingly antagonistic relationship with humanitarian organizations in Myanmar, accusing aid workers last week of helping terrorists, a claim that prompted fears for their safety.
The humanistic legacy of Aung San Suu Kyi, once recognized and admired by the United Nations and Nobel Foundation for Peace, has unfortunately morphed into hubristic arrogance. This is a typical progression of political disease among most world leaders! It has put a question mark on her credibility. Her standing as a true leader of a free democratic country is now questionable.
Somebody in the international community ought to remind her that Pharaohs come and go but their stay is not too long nor is their end very pleasant. Nobel peace laureate Malala Yousafzai recently voiced her criticism of the handling of the situation in Myanmar, tweeting: “Every time I see the news, my heart breaks at the suffering of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. Over the last several years I have repeatedly condemned this tragic and shameful treatment. I am still waiting for my fellow Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to do the same.”
Apparently, a 72-year old tyrant has a thing or two to learn from a 20-year old!
To save the sanctity of the Nobel Peace Prize, all the living Nobel Peace Laureates should sign a petition that Aung San Suu Kyi be stripped of her Nobel honor.