The situation in Myanmar, formerly Burma, regarding the Rohingya Muslim minority is deeply troubling. Close to three hundred thousand Muslims have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh out of fear for their own lives and those of their children.
What is even more worrying is the deafening silence on the part of the Myanmar authorities, in particular from its pro-democracy iconic leader Aung San Suu Kyi who shot into the international spotlight for her firm and unrelenting stance against the former military dictatorship.
There are conflicting reports as to who is responsible for the mayhem inflicted on the Rohingya Muslims. Some put the blame on the military but the government headed by Aung San Suu Kyi seems to feel that the military is wrongfully being blamed by the international media for spreading what she referred to as ‘fake news’ and that the blame should be put on Muslim extremists who are part of a terrorist network.
I think a clear statement of condemnation of the atrocities against the Rohingya Muslims should be made by Aung San Suu Kyi, failing which her credibility and respect as a pro-democracy leader will be questioned by the international community.
I happen to be one of those who have the greatest respect for the strength and fortitude displayed by her over the decades in her struggle against the military dictatorship. I think, however, that she should not allow herself to be a passive observer in what is clearly an international humanitarian crisis.
The United Nations needs to intervene as a matter of urgency to find a solution to this sad situation that has emerged in that fledgling democracy. It would appear that the military is once again, as it were, calling the shots, which does not augur well for the future of democracy in that country.