Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar State Counsellor who has been so battered by criticism, especially by fellow Nobel Peace prize laureates, for not speaking up in defence of the Rohingya Muslim minority in that country and who has had to forgo attending this year’s General Assembly of the United Nations in New York seems to be on the move after all. Apart from announcing the opening of the country up so that international observers could check things out for themselves, she is inaugurating a verification exercise that would facilitate the return of those who fled the violence in the wake of military response to local insurgency is on.
Aung San Suu Kyi who has basically refrained from responding to the hail of criticism since the plight of the Rohingya Muslim minority caught global attention late August has accepted that it is the responsibility of the government to bring back peace, adding how quickly the government wants to do this because it objects to a nation divided by ethno-religious identity fault lines.
The United Nations which has put Myanmar on its radar again after nearly a decade is calling the state violence against the Rohingya minority a “textbook example” of ethnic cleansing. The world remains uncomfortable with the development. All key players, from global moral authorities such as the Pope, human rights organisations, the media and fellow Nobel Peace prize laureates of Aung San Suu Kyi, it is No with one voice, with Bishop Desmond Tutu writing her an open letter calling the violence against Rohingya “unfolding horror”.
But in the equivalent of a ‘State of the Nation’ earlier today, she is still insisting on the line of argument she pushed much, much earlier on that an “iceberg of misinformation” had enveloped the situation, saying that solid evidence must determine actions. But she has vowed actions will be taken against whoever is found to have violated human rights, racial and religious affiliation notwithstanding. Her own standard of evidence seems to be the reading of the situation by those affected because she says the government would want to interview the refuges on the basis of their flight from Myanmar to Bangladesh and other neighbouring states. Justifying opening up the country to international observers, Suu Kyi said Myanmar does not fear international scrutiny because it is determined to resolve the crease.
By her inference that Myanmar is a “complex country”, the Nobel Peace Laureate brings into the matter the notion of inadequate knowledge of the origin and nature of the crisis by her critics, with particular reference to how fast the complexity can be mastered under the changing power context with her emergence as the defacto leader
In a piece republished from the American Enterprise Institute site by Newsweek online, Clay Fuller, a Fellow of the Institute suggested how tactical a move Aung San Suu Kyi’s silence is. Fuller argues how people who care about Burma (now known and called Myanmar) would be burning down “their best advocate for democracy” because her party would ‘lose the next election to military-controlled parties’ should she speak out against the treatment of the Rohingya and get the applause and cheer of the international community, activists and the media. Some critics have attacked Fuller’s pragmatism. Without though any direct reference to Fuller whose piece might not even have been published by then, Bishop Desmond Tutu has said that “If the political price of your (referring to Suu Kyi) ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep”. But many might take note of Fuller’s plausible scenario in which Myanmar slides backwards into dictatorship.