This opinion essay is inspired by my knowledge of the subject and another more extensive opinion essay written by George Monbiot, titled “Take away Aung San Suu Kyi’s Nobel peace prize. She no longer deserves it”, and published on The Guardian website:
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. Now, Aung San Suu Kyi has denied the very identity of the people being attacked in 2017, asking the US ambassador not to use the term Rohingya. With the obvious and often explicit purpose of destroying this group, acts of genocide have been practiced more or less continuously by Myanmar’s armed forces since Aung San Suu Kyi became de facto political leader. She possesses one power in abundance: the power to speak out, but she does not. 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 recognized.
Aung San Suu Kyi asked the US ambassador not to use the term Rohingya. Really? She has upheld the 1982 Citizenship Law, which denies the Rohingya people within Myanmar’s borders their rights. Seriously? Her government obstructs humanitarian aid, denies well documented evidence, ignores the UN report on the treatment of the Rohingya. Unbelieveable! An abhorrent example: In a well-documented case, Aung San Suu Kyi’s office posted a banner on its Facebook page reading “Fake Rape”.
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. Myanmar is guilty of these four.
- Killing…summary executions of teachers, elders and community leaders
- Serious bodily or mental harm…documented mass rape
- Destroying conditions of life…destruction of crops and the burning of villages; Malnutrition ravages the Rohingya, afflicting 80,000 children
- Prevent births… a woman in labour beaten by soldiers, her baby stamped to death as it was born.
With the obvious and often explicit purpose of destroying this group, acts of genocide have been practiced more or less continuously by Myanmar’s armed forces since Aung San Suu Kyi became de facto political leader. She has blamed the isolated acts of some Rohingya insurgents to justify the mass extermination efforts of Myanmar’s military. In her Nobel lecture, Aung San Suu Kyi remarked: “Wherever suffering is ignored, there will be the seeds of conflict, for suffering degrades and embitters and enrages.”
Aung San Suu Kyi ~ “It is not power that corrupts, but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it.” She has failed to speak out. Excuses for not speaking out include:
- jeopardize re-election
- armed forces intimidation
- keep China happy
Whether out of prejudice or out of fear, she denies to the Rohingya Muslim minority the freedoms she rightly claimed for herself. Her regime excludes – and in some cases, seeks to silence – the very activists who helped to ensure her own rights were recognized.
Nobel committee: Retain responsibility for the prizes you award. You must withdraw the Aung San Suu Kyi award for her failure to act. De facto leader of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi: Acknowledge the identity of Rohingya people who have lived there for centuries. Myanmar military: Stop executing the Rohingya. Again, Aung San Suu Kyi, speak out against these atrocities. Nobel committee: Change your policy and revoke her award. Public: There is nothing to prevent you from petitioning for the revocation of the Nobel Prize of the de facto leader of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, for the genocide of the Rohingya Muslim minority.