'Aung San Suu Kyi is in a hard position'

Posted September 12, 2017

U.A. Khader, Sahitya Akademi award-winning Malayalam writer, who was born at Bilin in Mon State of the then Burma, says the onus is on Ms. Suu Kyi to take steps to give citizenship rights to the Rohingya. The Myanmar security forces responded with scorched-earth fury against Rohingya civilians.

While most refugees are coming on foot, many are braving the sea. Bravo to Pope Francis for being an exception among world leaders and speaking up for them. The majority of Rohingyas happen to be Muslim, converted by Arab traders whose ships sailed along the coastline of the Bay of Bengal.

Though these social media reactions suggest that the people of Myanmar themselves are predominantly against the Rohingya, believing that they are Muslim terrorists, it should be noted that there is little proof to verify the identity of the commentators. Confiscating the prize would add nothing to Rohingya in the mean time. But Jinnah categorically turned this down. These protests were ruthlessly crushed by the Army which controlled Burma till recently. Between 2014 and 2015, around 94,000 people, who were mostly Rohingya, have fled Myanmar on boat journeys, often becoming victims of human trafficking and slavery.

The pathological hatred of Muslims ingrained in the leading USA and European media (now aggressively replacing the historic anti-Semitism of these societies) scarcely allows them to see or to report the magnitude of the calamity masses of Muslims face at the hands of Myanmar security forces and the Buddhist nationalist vigilante mobs. Rohingyas are tormented both on account of their language (in fact, in Myanmar they are referred to as Bengalis) as also their Islamic faith. Mr. Khader said that the Burmese population, especially Ms. Suu Kyi, should take a humanitarian view of the issue and help them.

When a Rohingya woman bravely recounted how her husband had been shot dead, and how she and three teenage girls had been gang-raped by soldiers, Ms Suu Kyi's Facebook page mocked the claims as "fake rape". It is estimated that over a lakh displaced Rohingyas are living in ramshackle camps along the Bangladesh border, waiting for an opportunity to cross over.

Boatloads of exhausted Rohingya continued to arrive in the Cox's Bazar region of neighbouring Bangladesh on Thursday. They have also been reported to enter Mizoram which shares a border with Myanmar. In 1962 after martial law was imposed, persecution of the Rohingyas began. As Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi accommodated over 10 million refugees from East Pakistan fleeing unspeakable brutalities at the hands of Pakistani forces. Although not welcomed by local people in many cases, the Chakmas continue to live in various states of the North-East including faraway Arunachal Pradesh. Now, since August, 120,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar.

"We will always remain the open and compassionate country we are". "The narrative is that Muslims are migrants". After all, they could be easy recruits for various terror outfits. Many in the world are calling it genocide; we agree.

Set against this, the thuggish Burmese generals could never hope to capture the good opinion of the global media. Even the makeshift shelters they construct were being destroyed. Illegal immigrants are everyone else, particularly Bangladeshi economic refugees. The more blatant her hateful racism is and the more evident her implication in the ethnic cleansing of her country, the more the Norwegian Nobel Committee must ask itself about the moral grounding of bestowing any such honour on the next recipient. Over the past two weeks around 200,000 Rohigyas have entered Bangladesh.

The widely documented slaughter of Muslims in Myanmar and Aung San Suu Kyi's callous disregard for their fate and even possible political collusion with the mass murderers now leaves no doubt that even if she originally deserved the Nobel Peace Prize she most certainly no longer does. They can have no home other than the country of their birth. They face the risk of landmines.