Voice of the Voiceless Series
A long and bitter past has haunted the Rohingya of Myanmar (Burma). For generations upon generations the Burmese have persecuted the Rohingya and more recently passed laws to outlaw them. In 1982 the Burmese government passed a law that made the Burmese Rohingya stateless. This meant that the country they had lived in for as long as anyone could remember now wanted them out. But the fate of the Rohingya was only about to get worse.
Aung San Suu Kyi has done nothing to alive the pain and suffering of people who she is supposed to lead. Instead it was her government that began officially labeling the Rohingya as "Bangladeshis". The irony of her government's ruling is that Bangladesh has gone out of its way to deny immigration of the Rohingya. This has left the Rohingya vulnerable to state sponsored discrimination and oppression.
In Burma the Rohingya are depicted as ogres, animals, and monsters by their Buddhist neighbors. In rare incidents when the Rohingya have defended themselves against the Burmese mobs the government has stepped in to put down the Rohingya resistance. This has lead to an unknown number of deaths amongst the Rohingya at the hands of their neighbors and Burmese soldiers.
Sadly this sort of deadly treatment has become more and more normal and has repeated over and over again (more recently in 1991 and 1992). And yet this isn't the only mistreatment the Rohingya have had to endure at the hands of Aung San Suu Kyi's regime. Often the Rohingya are forced into slave labor by the Burmese military and local governments. This is a disgrace not imposed upon the Rohingya's neighbors, the ethnic Rakhine.
To add to the laundry list of disgraces forced upon the Rohingya there have been numerous incidents of "Myanmar's boat people" drowning as neighboring governments turn the Rohingya away. In 2009 the Thai authorities intercepted five boatloads of Rohingya. The fleeing Rohingya were detained and beaten severely by the Thai forces. Then in the final act of cruelty, the Thai authorities sent the Rohingya boats (without motors or fresh water) back out to sea. Hundreds of the Rohingya aboard the boats are believed to drowned.
So why is Europe swooning over Aung San Suu Kyi and her government of genocidal fanatics?
Nobody in Europe today can truly understand the longstanding hatred for the Rohingya in Burma and the neighboring countries. It is not clear to the outside world why this ethnic hatred has burned out of control. And the reason...
For far to long the outside world has been kept in the dark when it comes to Myanmar. Of all the countries in this part of the world Myanmar is the least understood. So why is the West fascinated with Aung San Suu Kyi? Simple... she is the first person in Burmese government to allow the Western world to take a peak beneath the veil.
But just like other oppressive regimes, Aung San Suu Kyi's government has tried to hide the genocide of the Rohingya within her borders. Instead the government officials in Myanmar have gone out of their way to describe the Rohingya as "Bangladeshi Terrorist". And the celebrities of Myanmar society have taken to the internet to express their rage against the Rohingya. One Burmese actress posted on her FaceBook account that she "hates them 100%". The UN ambassador from Burma has told any other ambassador who would listen that the Rohingya are "dark skinned ogres" who could never compare to the "true Burmese people".
If anything emotion should be used to describe Western feelings for Aung San Suu Kyi it should be that of disgust. After all, she has done everything within her power to continue the slaughter of the Rohingya within Burma. And it is the government that she represents that continues to push its genocidal goals when dealing with the Rohingya who have called Burma home for as long as anyone can remember.
Source documents used (please note that not all sources are cited below)
The Huffington Post
New York Daily News