After weeks of silence as Burmese military mercilessly slaughtered Rohingya Muslims and burned their villages in the country’s Rakhine state, Myanmar’s de-factor leader and Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi finally addressed the crisis dubbed as the "textbook example of ethnic cleansing” by the United Nations.
As one would have expected, Suu Kyi spent the entirety of her televised speech to the nation sidestepping the abuse allegations and downplaying the state-sanctioned genocide that has forced some 400,000 civilians to flee to the neighboring country of Bangladesh.
“I’m aware of the fact that the world’s attention is focused on the situation in Rakhine state. As a responsible member of the community of nations Myanmar does not fear international scrutiny,” she began. “We too are concerned. We want to find out what the real problems are. There have been allegations and counter-allegations. We have to listen to all of them. We have to make sure those allegations are based on solid evidence before we take action.”
Apparently, the dead bodies of little children shot by Burmese police and burnt villages are not enough evidence for the politician.
“We want to find out why this exodus is happening,” Suu Kyi continued. “We'd like to talk to those who have fled, as well as those who have stayed.”
She also condemned “all human rights violations” in the country.
The leader, who used to be an icon of democracy, went on to claim the violence has not affected the majority of Muslim villages, suggesting the situation was not very severe, and said the Burmese military, accused of mercilessly slaughtering the members of the minority community and torching their houses, has been instructed to exercise restraint and avoid “collateral damage.”
Moreover, she refused to use the term “Rohingya” to identify the persecuted minority by referring to them as Muslims and Muslim groups and only used “Rohingya” in reference to "Rohingya Salvation Army" — an armed militant group Myanmar’s government claims is “responsible for acts of terrorism.”
“We are a young and fragile country facing many problems, but we have to cope with them all. We cannot just concentrate on the few,” Suu Kyi said in a clear attempt to garner the world’s sympathies. “After half a century or more of authoritarian rule, now we are in the process of nurturing our nation.”
As if her decision to skip the United Nations General Assembly this week was not enough of an indication, the leader also made it very clear she does not care about international “scrutiny.”
If Suu Kyi thinks the entire world is going to fall for her charade, she is deeply mistaken.
“Aung San Suu Kyi’s claims that her government does not fear international scrutiny ring hollow,” James Gomez, Amnesty International’s regional director for south-east Asia, said in a statement. “If Myanmar has nothing to hide, it should allow U.N. investigators into the country, including Rakhine state. The government must also urgently allow humanitarian actors full and unfettered access to all areas and people in need in the region.”
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Soe Zeya Tun