Suu Kyi silent as Ro­hingya are driven out

The Week (US) - - News 15 -

My peo­ple are be­ing slaugh­tered, said an un­named Ro­hingya refugee in AlJazeera.com. In the past few weeks, Myan­mar troops, aided by Bud­dhist mobs, have killed some 3,000 eth­nic Ro­hingya, a Mus­lim mi­nor­ity that has lived in Rakhine state for cen­turies. More than 300,000 of us have fled to neigh­bor­ing Bangladesh. For decades we have been op­pressed; de­nied cit­i­zen­ship, jobs, and ben­e­fits; and some­times herded into con­cen­tra­tion camps. But when No­bel Peace lau­re­ate Aung San Suu Kyi took power last year, we hoped that she would speak up for us. In­stead, we are be­ing “shot dead in plain sight, forcibly and sys­tem­at­i­cally made home­less, our homes razed in front of our very eyes.” En­tire vil­lages are be­ing burned, chil­dren butchered, women raped. Suu Kyi has said noth­ing. “Our last hope failed us.”

Suu Kyi is ac­tu­ally abet­ting this eth­nic cleans­ing, said Mush­tak Parker in the New Straits Times (Malaysia). A Bud­dhist na­tion­al­ist, she says the un­rest in Rakhine is the fault of Ro­hingya mil­i­tants, claim­ing that the small, poorly armed peas­ant up­ris­ing called the Arakan Ro­hingya Sal­va­tion Army is some kind of ter­ror­ist front men­ac­ing the coun­try. Fel­low No­bel lau­re­ates Des­mond Tutu and Malala Yousafzai, as well as Ti­betan Bud­dhist leader the Dalai Lama, have im­plored her to con­demn the vi­o­lence. In­stead, she fu­els it with in­cen­di­ary Face­book posts re­flect­ing her “pho­bia about Is­lam.” When a BBC re­porter once ques­tioned her re­fusal to help the Ro­hingya, she com­plained, “No one told me I was go­ing to be in­ter­viewed by a Mus­lim.”

Myan­mar’s neigh­bors are no bet­ter, said The Na­tion (Pak­istan) in an edi­to­rial. Bangladeshi guards are forcibly turn­ing back Ro­hingya refugees at the border. Last month, India “de­cided to de­port all Ro­hingya Mus­lims from its soil.” And on a re­cent visit to Myan­mar, In­dian Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi blamed the vic­tims, telling Suu Kyi, “We share your con­cerns about ex­trem­ist vi­o­lence in Rakhine state and es­pe­cially the vi­o­lence against se­cu­rity forces.” Ap­par­ently the Hindu na­tion­al­ist Modi and Suu Kyi can agree on one thing: Mus­lims are the en­emy.

Don’t ex­pect Western pow­ers to help, said Sul­tan Hali in the Pak­istan Ob­server. They have every rea­son to look away. Rakhine state is key to China’s mas­sive “One Belt, One Road” in­ter­na­tional in­fra­struc­ture project. Huge gas de­posits have been found off­shore, and China in­tends to de­velop a deep­wa­ter port in Rakhine on the Bay of Ben­gal. It is in Western in­ter­ests to try to slow or block these Chi­nese projects. “In­cit­ing geno­cide in Rakhine could help to achieve that.” It’s up to the Mus­lim world, then, to act. Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan has re­port­edly of­fered to pay to put up the refugees in Bangladesh if Dhaka will open its bor­ders. Other Mus­lim lead­ers should pitch in and pres­sure the U.N. to im­pose sanc­tions. “We can­not re­main in­no­cent by­standers while hu­man­ity is be­ing tram­pled.”

Ro­hingya refugees flee­ing to Bangladesh

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