Nothing illustrates the impotence of the 1.4 billion Muslims in the world (a quarter of the world’s population) than the current crisis in Myanmar where supposedly meek and docile Buddhists are massacring unarmed, helpless Muslims.
Nothing exposes the hypocrisy of the so-called international community led by the United States and Europe than the current crisis in Myanmar where supposedly meek and docile Buddhists are massacring unarmed, helpless Muslims.
Nothing confirms the uselessness of organisations such as the OIC and the Muslim World League (Rabita) than the current crisis in Myanmar where supposedly meek and docile Buddhists are massacring unarmed, helpless Muslims.
Nothing reveals the hollowness of the claim to Muslim world leadership by Saudi Arabia than the current crisis in Myanmar where supposedly meek and docile Buddhists are massacring unarmed, helpless Muslims. (True, Saudia issued a meek, watery and pathetic Tweet from its far away Embassy at the UN which is not even attributed to the Kning, while the country continues its own obliteration of Yemen and creating another Rohingya on the Arabian Peninsula.)
Nothing demonstrates the hollowness of the claim to Muslim world leadership by Iran than the current crisis in Myanmar where supposedly meek and docile Buddhists are massacring unarmed, helpless Muslims. (Indeed, its President issued a condemnation not followed by direct action while it continues its collusion with Russia to help the most wicked leader in the Muslim world Syria’s Bashar Assad massacre his own people and create many Rohingyas in the Levant Cities of Hama, Homs and Aleppo.)
Nothing reassures Muslims the world over that Turkey is gradually re-asserting its place as the leader of the Muslim world than the current crisis in Myanmar where supposedly meek and docile Buddhists are massacring unarmed, helpless Muslims.
Indeed, almost a century after the demise of the Ottoman Caliphate, Turkey’s admittedly-dictatorial President Erdogan is saying the right words and following with the right actions. Apart from his motion, his wife and First Lady Emine Erdogan was in Bangladesh to see firsthand the tragedy of Rohingyas.
If I were to report condemnations from Muslim leaders and organisations I would just be restating the obvious, so wiser to quote non-Muslim sources who can choose to be silent but are courageous enough to speak out.
Perhaps the best intervention on the issue came from renowned Guardian (of London) Columnist George Monbiot who titled his piece “Take away Aung San Suu Kyi’s Nobel peace prize. She no longer deserves it”. I excerpt him at length:
Few of us expect much from political leaders: to do otherwise is to invite despair. But to Aung San Suu Kyi we entrusted our hopes. To mention her name was to invoke patience and resilience in the face of suffering, courage and determination in the unyielding struggle for freedom. She was an inspiration to us all.
Friends of mine devoted their working lives to the campaign for her release from the many years of detention imposed by the military dictatorship of Myanmar, and for the restoration of democracy. We celebrated when she was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1991; when she was finally released from house arrest in 2010; and when she won the general election in 2015.
None of this is forgotten. Nor are the many cruelties she suffered, including isolation, physical attacks and the junta’s curtailment of her family life. But it is hard to think of any recent political leader by whom such high hopes have been so cruelly betrayed.
By any standards, the treatment of the Rohingya people, a Muslim minority in Myanmar, is repugnant. By the standards Aung San Suu Kyi came to symbolise, it is grotesque. They have been described by the UN as “the world’s most persecuted minority, a status that has not changed since she took office.
The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide describes five acts, any one of which, when “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”, amounts to genocide. With the obvious and often explicit purpose of destroying this group, four of them have been practised more or less continuously by Myanmar’s armed forces since Aung San Suu Kyi became de facto political leader.
I recognise that the armed forces retain great power in Myanmar, and that Aung San Suu Kyi does not exercise effective control over them. I recognise that the scope of her actions is limited. But, as well as a number of practical and legal measures that she could use directly to restrain these atrocities, she possesses one power in abundance: the power to speak out. Rather than deploying it, her response amounts to a mixture of silence, the denial of well-documented evidence, and the obstruction of humanitarian aid.
I doubt she has read the UN human rights report on the treatment of the Rohingyas, released in February. The crimes it revealed were horrific.
It documents the mass rape of women and girls, some of whom died as a result of the sexual injuries they suffered. It shows how children and adults had their throats slit in front of their families.
It reports the summary executions of teachers, elders and community leaders; helicopter gunships randomly spraying villages with gunfire; people shut in their homes and burnt alive; a woman in labour beaten by soldiers, her baby stamped to death as it was born.
It details the deliberate destruction of crops and the burning of villages to drive entire populations out of their homes; people trying to flee gunned down in their boats…
This week, to my own astonishment, I found myself signing a petition for the revocation of her Nobel peace prize. I believe the Nobel committee should retain responsibility for the prizes it awards, and withdraw them if its laureates later violate the principles for which they were recognised.
There are two cases in which this appears to be appropriate. One is Barack Obama, who, bafflingly, was given the prize before he was tested in office. His programme of drone strikes, which slaughtered large numbers of civilians, should disqualify him from this honour. The other is Aung San Suu Kyi.
Please sign this petition (https://www.change.org/p/take-back-aung-san-suu-kyi-s-nobel-peace-prize). Why? Because we now contemplate an extraordinary situation: a Nobel peace laureate complicit in crimes against humanity.
The second most important intervention, in my opinion, is the letter written by the 85-year old Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu also to Burma’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi wherein he said, among other things, that “the unfolding horror” and “ethnic cleansing” in the country’s Rhakine region had forced him to speak out against the woman he admired and considered “a dearly beloved sister”.
Tutu continues: “I am now elderly, decrepit and formally retired, but breaking my vow to remain silent on public affairs out of profound sadness. For years I had a photograph of you on my desk to remind me of the injustice and sacrifice you endured out of your love and commitment for Myanmar’s people. You symbolised righteousness.
“Your emergence into public life allayed our concerns about violence being perpetrated against members of the Rohingya. But what some have called ‘ethnic cleansing’ and others ‘a slow genocide’ has persisted – and recently accelerated.
“It is incongruous for a symbol of righteousness to lead such a country. If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep.”
The most heart-warming show of solidarity from Muslims comes from Grozny, Chechnya, itself a Muslim region under Russian occupation – more than one million Chechens came out in protest of solidarity.
Other Muslim countries? Press releases and condemnations our lot! Allah Ya sauwake! May Allah help the Rohingyas and all oppressed peoples.