Tutu urges Suu Kyi to act on Rohingya crisis

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"Almost all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power".

In June, Suu Kyi travelled to Ottawa and met with Trudeau.

A few years ago in the run-up to the publication of my debut novel Secrets of the Henna Girl, I was asked to provide a list of female role models as part of the publicity drive on the blogosphere. There were no violations of human rights.

History is full of empowered female figures who have stood up to tyrants and oppressive systems and won despite living in extremely patriarchal times. The damning question now is whether the erstwhile heroine considers the Rohingya less deserving of those rights.

But Madam Suu Kyi largely remained silent on the matter despite being awarded a Nobel Peace Prize victor in 1991 for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights.

The prime minister is facing increasing pressure to revoke the honorary Canadian citizenship given to Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's de facto leader and a Nobel Peace Prize victor, over her failure to protect her country's Rohingya minority population.

The United States has been careful to avoid direct criticism of Suu Kyi, and Murphy said Washington was looking to help Myanmar's transition to democracy succeed.

The conflict between the Buddhist majority of the country and its Rohingya Muslim minority goes back to the British colonial period.

Sadly, much of the outrage against the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya is coming from Islamic countries and personalities who have little credibility in the matter of mistreating ethno-racial minorities.

Hundreds are believed to have been killed, but Ms Suu Kyi has not criticised the slaughter.

Many of these relatives later settled in Britain in the mid-1960s to start their lives all over again in the wool and cotton factories of Yorkshire and Lancashire.

On Friday, Tutu used his open letter to urge Aung San Suu Kyi to intervene and speak out.

So of course she made it on to my list.

Gal ROMA
Tutu urges Suu Kyi to act on Rohingya crisis

She was a modern day Mandela, King and Gandhi all rolled into one, and extremely photogenic to boot with her high cheekbones and flowers in her hair.

"We call on her not to disappoint the many admirers she has and do the right thing".

Some put the blame on the military but the government headed by Aung San Suu Kyi seems to feel that the military is wrongfully being blamed by the global media for spreading what she referred to as "fake news" and that the blame should be put on Muslim extremists who are part of a terrorist network.

After an extended silence on the Rohingya issue, past year Suu Kyi finally formed a commission headed by former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan. Satellite images reveal burning villages across northern Rakhine, and bodies have been washing up on the shores of the river that separates Myanmar from Bangladesh (see article).

And Suu Kyi has chosen to remain silent on it all.

During the Second World War the Rohingya fought on the side of the retreating British army while their Buddhist neighbours joined the invading Japanese, resulting in horrific reprisals that sent 100,000 Rohingya fleeing into British Bengal and beyond.

A Myanmar reporter in the north of the state said he had reports from residents of an area called Rathedaung that six villages there had been torched and that there had also been shooting in the area. "None of the prize awarding committees in Stockholm and Oslo has ever considered revoking a prize after it has been awarded".

As worldwide controversy rages over the crackdown - and Ms Suu Kyi's defence of her government's actions - a number of Dublin councillors have called for her freedom of Dublin City award to be revoked. Rather, she blamed worldwide aid groups and complained about "a huge iceberg of misinformation" aiming to help "the terrorists" - presumably meaning the Rohingya.

She has failed both morally-in terms of the Rohingyas' suffering-and as a national leader in the face of Buddhist nationalist intolerance.

Aung San Suu Kyi can not claim neutrality on the genocide of the Rohingya. However, as the undisputed NLD leader, she is Myanmar's de facto leader.

There are many human rights activists who feel betrayed by her.

The controversy can be contextualised with the Nobel for Barack Obama who was somewhat bafflingly given the prize before he was evaluated in office. She urged them to expose the truth.

I like to imagine they are still in shock at who she turned out to be when it mattered the most and they have no words.

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