How many clashes and riots are going to be enough to call for effective action from the ‘democratic’ government in Myanmar?
Apparently several more, or maybe even more than several clashes because Aung San Suu Kyi doesn’t seem to understand the intensity of her country’s ‘ethnic’ issues.
Fresh clashes between Muslims and Buddhists erupted in the Myanmar’s northern city of Lashio on Tuesday and the sectarian violence has now reached the borders of China. The violence was reportedly initiated after rumors spread that a Muslim man had set fire to a Buddhist woman. In a country where Muslims are already facing the threat of genocide, this rumor was enough to ignite a new flare of hostility and it happened. According to unconfirmed reports from Muslim websites, a large mosque and an orphanage has been burnt down.
Though not frequently reported by the mainstream media, up until to this incident there were only reports of atrocities against the Muslim community in Myanmar. Just last month, Human Rights Watch, which is an international non-governmental human rights organization, released satellite images of Meiktila, a city in central Myanmar where more than eight hundred houses had been burnt down during the unrest between Buddhists and the Muslim minority.
Things started getting uglier last year in the country whenviolent riots broke out in Rakhine State betweenArakanese Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims which caused bloodshed and displaced 125,000 people.
The news regarding the Muslim man who set fire to a Buddhist woman has not been confirmed yet but it does indicate the dangerous possibility that things can get worse (and they already are) if the Muslims of Myanmar start to retaliate. Aung San Suu Kyi may have condemned the violence but there isn’t much she has done to show for her words. Mere condemnation is not going to do any good to the people in her country, be it the persecuted Rohingya or Buddhists.
The world community expects more from Suu Kyi since she is the one who fought for human rights and democracy in her country and was even imprisoned for her beliefs.
The Human Rights Watch urged the government of Myanmar last month to take notice of the reckless killings and torching of neighborhoods and to deal with the root cause of the conflict that has endangered the very existence of the Muslim community in the country. HRW also want the authorities to address the police forces who have failed to handle the situation so far.
One can just hope that Aung San Suu Kyi this time around plans to do something effective to curb the rising sectarian violence in Myanmar before the death toll begins to rise even more.