Et tu, Tutu? Nobel greats pile pressure on Suu Kyi

KUALA LUMPUR

He said the Rohingya "certainly stand out, and the fact that over a million of them inside the country have been devoid of basic rights for generations has been a longstanding issue and a longstanding concern for us in the United States".

She also urged Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to speak up for the Rohingya, billed as "the world's most persecuted minority" who are facing genocide in the Rakhine State.

Her transformation from being a "champion of democracy" to "The Lady" (her sobriquet by her acolytes), who has created a powerful role for herself to fulfil a promise of being "above the president", exuding an air of superiority and unleashing a cult of personality as if she had a divine right to be "above" public scrutiny, is as breathtaking as it is soul-destroying for her erstwhile admirers in the West.

The Norwegian Nobel Institute, which selects the recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize, said on Friday that Myanmar's Aung Sang Suu Kyi can not be stripped of the award she was given in 1991.

This week another honorary Canadian citizen and Nobel Peace Prize victor, girls' education activist Malala Yousafzai, publicly condemned Aung San Suu Kyi's feeble leadership in protecting the Rohingya.

"Well let me be perfectly clear".

Ms Suu Kyi, in comments earlier on Thursday to Reuters Television's Indian partner Asian News International, said: "We have to take care of our citizens, we have to take care of everybody who is in our country, whether or not they are our citizens".

Rohingya Muslims say they condemn the violence, but the military's response amounts to collective punishment. She is at best a coward and worst a villain of the worst kind. Well, it certainly isn't due to doubts about the atrocities being perpetrated against the Rohingya.

While her moral leadership and counsel has directed foreign governments' policy engagement in years past, that time may be nearing an end. "That agenda staked no small part of the accompanying tactical plan on a policy of not-so-cautious engagement with Myanmar", he added.

"The Rohingya fleeing Myanmar are now stateless refugees, making them even more vulnerable and adding more challenges to the search for solutions".

Few Canadians know of the Rohingya and their plight in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma).

In her Nobel lecture, Ms Suu Kyi spoke stirringly about how her fight for democracy in Myanmar was rooted in the conviction that democracy was essential for human rights. Liu was sentenced for instigating subversion of State power.

Speaking out for the first time since the crisis in Rakhine began last month, Suu Kyi defended her government's handling of renewed violence in the predominantly Muslim Rakhine state. I have a sense of deja vu.

The UNHCR estimates 123,000 refugees have arrived in Bangladesh since violence broke out in Myanmar's northern Rakhine state in August.

Many in Myanmar accuse the worldwide media and institutions of harbouring a pro-Muslim bias, joining the Government's attacks on the Western press.

Though many have been in Burma for generations, they are considered illegals and were effectively stripped of the right to citizenship in 1982.

"This picture hardly calls to mind the characteristics of groups we have come to associate withal al Qaeda or Daesh".

Now, nearly two years since the country's landmark democratic elections which saw her National League for Democracy Party sweep to power, much of the global community is horrified at her perceived failure to speak up on the plight of the beleaguered Muslim minority.

While interacting with people in Kupwara today Er Rasheed said there are no comparisons between the two conflicts.

"The Rohingya cause is undoubtedly a genuine and important cause which should be drawing us together instead of pulling us apart".

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