AUNG SAN SUU KYI and the fate of Rohingya minority Muslims: AN OPEN LETTER.
In the introduction of his book titled “The Nobel Effect: Nobel Peace Prize Laureates as International Norm Entrepreneurs” Prof Roger P Alford of the University of Notre Dame Law School said the Nobel peace prize is perhaps the most prestigious in the world. Many laureates have described how their lives changed dramatically after receiving the prize. He quoted Geir Lundestad, a former Secretary of the Nobel committee in his Book “thoughts about peace” saying the Nobel peace laureates know that as a result of the prize their lives will change forever. Utterances that formerly went unnoticed are now subject to media coverage and commentary. In this manner the prize is a powerful megaphone……nearly all doors are opened once you have become a laureate.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa (a peace Nobel laureate 1984) has this to say: no sooner had I got the Nobel peace prize than I became an instant oracle. Virtually everything I had said before was now received with something like awe…
The above paragraph shows in a glance the sociopolitical role of a Nobel peace laureate to which you are a recipient in 1991 and the impact of their words or rather how their word is being held in high esteem both in contemporary sociopolitical arena or conflict resolution nationally and internationally.
The concept of human right and diplomacy globally emphasizes on the notion of “humanity before ethnicity, race, religion, or political affiliation etc.” I am saying all this to draw your attention of the genocide happening under your very eyes and in fact in a government where you serve as a state counselor.
Under your watchful eyes, the minority Rohingya Muslims are facing extinction. On daily basis hundreds of them are being killed, maimed and jailed, their little properties destroyed just because they are Rohingya, they are Muslim and they are minority, recall that the United Nations in its general assembly on 10th December 1948 adopted and proclaimed the Universal declaration of human rights (UDHR) with article iii reading “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” And Burma as it was then known has voted for the adoption of the UDHR.
Your Excellency may wish to recall that the Rohingya Muslims have lived in Burma since the 11th century AD and has suffered worst or similar fate since the era of king Bayinnaung 1550 AD (Google + Wikileaks) up till today, they are not regarded as one of the country’s 135 official ethnic groups and are denied citizenship under Myanmar’s 1982 citizenship law which effectively renders them stateless. As ridiculous as that citizenship law of 1982 is, it requires the Rohingya Muslims to prove they have lived in Myanmar for 60 years, yet the paperwork is often unavailable or denied to them by the state. As a result, their rights to study, work, travel, marry, practice their religion and access to health services are restricted.
I am quite certain that, your excellency is fully aware that the Rohingya Muslims are the world’s most persecuted minority, they cannot vote and even If they jump through the citizenship test hoops, they have to identify as naturalized as opposed to Rohingya, and limits are placed on them entering certain professions like medicine, law or running for an elective office. According to head of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) John McKissick, security forces have been killing men, shooting them, slaughtering children, raping women, burning and looting houses, forcing these people to the river. Your government’s reply was that the Rohingya are setting fire to their own houses in northern Rakhine state (how ridiculous?) and yet you barred journalists and aid workers from going there.
A lot of analysts and experts on the Myanmar’s politics and genocide are of the opinion that your seemingly silence on the whole issue is perceived to be as a result of fear that your speaking up for the Rohingya in Myanmar would likely be viewed as going against the Buddhist majority and therefore considered a dicey polital move to your political ambitions, to which I will humbly seek for your indulgence to quote a thing or two from your famous essay titled “freedom from fear” in which you said “fearlessness may be a gift but perhaps more precious is the courage acquired through endeavor , courage that comes from cultivating the habit of refusing to let fear dictates one’s actions, courage that could be describes as grace under pressure- grace which is renewed repeatedly in the face of harsh, unremitting pressure”.
BBC’s Myanmar correspondent Jonah Fisher opines that you are in a delicate position. You are Myanmar’s de facto leader, but security is under the control of the autonomous armed forces. That if you bows to international pressure and set up a credible investigation in to the alleged abuses in Rakhine state, you risks fracturing your relationship with the army and that could jeopardize the stability of your young government. So you choose and prefer your political ambition over and above the lives of innocent Rohingyas? What a peace Nobel laureate?
How could you back down now? How could you allow senseless killing of innocent people in your backyard? How could you maintain silence and allowed fear of what the Buddhists are going to say or think about you prevent you from condemning this genocide. Your public condemnation on the Rohingya massacre will go a long way in easing their plight.
These people that are being killed, maimed and tortured everyday are sons and daughters of a mother just like you, aren’t you a mother Aung San Suu Kyi?
You are always eager and quick to say you got your inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi, but your inaction now is contradicting your earlier stand. Because Mahatma Gandhi preaches for peace and tolerance irrespective of religion or political benefits.
Remember its humanity first before anything else!
May your conscience continue to hurt you for deceiving peace loving people worldwide and for your refusal to counsel the very government you are part of, where hundreds of innocent Rohingya Muslims are being killed on daily basis just to realize your political ambition!
And to the persecuted Rohingya Minority and other persecuted people world over, may ALLAH see you through.
Abubakar Mohammed Aliyu
Post graduate student of peace study and conflict resolution