Should Aung San Suu Kyi Be Blamed For Rohingya Crisis? – OpEd


Aung San Suu Kyi is the state councillor of Myanmar and is the de facto head of government of Myanmar, equivalent to a prime minister. Her critics say that she is all powerful in Myanmar today and should be held fully responsible for all the commissions and omissions of Myanmar government and therefore, should be squarely blamed for the present Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.

Her bitter critics, who now appear to be pledged critics, have gone to the extent of questioning her credibility and her commitment to the peace and harmony in the world. Quite a few of the critics have even said that she should be stripped of the Nobel Laureate award for peace that was conferred on her a few years back.

Aung San Suu Kyi has been hailed as an apostle of peace and non violence until recently and now she is being painted as a person presiding over the actions to liquidate Rohingya community in Myanmar by driving them out of the country forcibly, what the critics call as ethnic cleansing. The UN Human Rights Commissioner have also issued stern statement on similar lines.

One aspect that the critics have failed to note is that how can one who has been praised as champion of peace and human rights can become an oppressor overnight. Obviously, no attempts have been made to view the problems faced by Aung San Suu Kyi in an dispassionate manner and to initiate efforts to provide constructive support for Myanmar, its leadership represented by Aung San Suu Kyi and the Rohingya refugees.

Rohingya crisis in Myanmar has been waiting to happen and Aung San Suu Kyi is in no way responsible for the present crisis. Rohingya crisis is not due to her but despite of her best and silent efforts. Certainly, Suu Kyi is looking for tangible solution and deserve international support.

In January 2009, hundreds of people belonging to the Muslim Rohingya minority community were expelled off its coast by Thailand government and many of them reached Myanmar. In August 2012, violence between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine state in Myanmar resulted in many deaths. In November 2012, more than 90 people were killed in the renewed community violence.

Obviously, there have been bitterness and conflict of interests between local Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims for the last several years , which is known to everyone. The immediate provocation for the Rohingya crisis is that Rohingya insurgents attacked police stations in Rakhine state in August,2017, when several people were killed. The military has to respond to restore peace and order after the attack by the insurgents , which is viewed by the Myanmar government as terrorist attack.

The terrorist attacks are taking place around the world these days and every country has no alternative other than fighting against the terrorists and eliminating them using force without showing any mercy. This is what USA and NATO countries are doing in Afghanistan now, when terrorist camps are being targeted and bombed.

Russia is now attacking the ISIS terrorists in Syria by launching missile attacks. Several other countries including Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iran have attacked the terrorists militarily. The war in Iraq , where western countries play an active role now, is also being carried out in the name of eliminating the terrorist forces. Sri Lanka militarily attacked the terrorists when it faced internal strife and India is now attacking the terrorists in Jammu & Kashmir and shooting them down.

Why blame Myanmar alone for using the military attack to quell the insurgent attack by Rohingya Muslims?

It is a fact that in everyone of such fight between the terrorists and the government forces, innocent people lose their lives or suffer injuries are displaced. This is what has happened for Rohingya refugees, just as it has happened to thousands of other refugees, who recently entered Europe in the wake of Syrian conflict.

What is conspicuous in such issues is that the United Nations Organisation has failed to intervene in the matter effectively due to it’s inherent and in built weakness and the conflict of the interests among the members of the Security Council.

Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheik Hasina would be addressing the United Nations General Assembly shortly, when she is likely to ask for international pressure on Myanmar to solve the Rohingya crisis. India too says that it would push Myanmar to solve the refugee crisis.

What Aung San Suu Kyi needs today is not push and pressure, but understanding and support.

As a person committed to the life long mission for peace, Aung San Suu Kyi would certainly respond to international efforts to bring peace in Myanmar and she is certainly pragmatic to realize that such efforts would be in the short term and long term interests of Myanmar. So far, all that Aung San Suu Kyi has received from other countries is severe and arm chair criticism. .

United Nations should play its due role and immediately form a committee of credible mediators and send the team to Myanmar to discuss with Aung Sang Suu Kyi to find an appropriate solution.

Myanmar is an economically poor country, though it is endowed with vast natural resources including natural gas. It has all the potentials to rediscover itself as a strong and progressive country. However, at the present juncture, it does not command the resources to rehabilitate the Rohingya refugees as well as the Buddhists who too have suffered in the Rakhine state.

It would be appropriate for the Prime Minister of Bangladesh to voice her suggestions in her forthcoming speech in United Nations General Assembly to send a peace committee to Myanmar that should be backed by international support. Her voice would be heard with respect and concern, as Bangladesh is neighboring country of Myanmar as that has also been severely suffering due to Rohingya crisis.

N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

2 thoughts on “Should Aung San Suu Kyi Be Blamed For Rohingya Crisis? – OpEd

  • September 25, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    At least someone in the world outside Myanmar is seeing the crises in non bias manner. Thank you N. S. Venkataraman! It was well written and thoughtful. We citizens who voted for Aung San Suu Kyi are and will be standing with her at this time of hardship. I hope your article can/will give better understanding of Aung San Suu Kyi and this current crises from Northern Arakan State to those critics who wouldn’t hesitate to point their finger and blame everything on her. I would be ashamed if I were one of them.

    • September 25, 2017 at 8:33 pm

      Ethnic minorities are being denied their rights to nationhood for generations and now their villages burned, unarmed people slaughtered, their women raped, their children burned or shot; 400 thousand people are being pushed out of their ancestral land and existence, into another country, and according to the author – everyone should be okay – and singing praise for Madam Aung San Suu Kyi – some notion of peace indeed!!! When Sikhs revolted in Amritsar, India, did Indian Govt. sent troops to ethnically purge all Sikhs from their hinterland? Should have been justified by the same argument the author is giving?


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