New York Times calls Aung San Suu Kyi ‘coward’ for refusing to stop ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims

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New York Times has slammed the Nobel Peace prize winner Burmese leader over her ‘cowardly stance’ on the the rampant ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims by the State within the country.

Also Read | Aung San Suu Kyi and her explicit disgust for BBC’s Muslim journalist

Its editorial said, “Tens of thousands of the Rohingya were driven from their homes by violence in 2012; last year many tried to flee persecution and deprivation in desperate sea voyages.

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“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi — Myanmar’s leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate — does not want to call them Rohingya, the name they use, because nationalist Buddhists want to perpetuate the myth that they are ‘Bengalis’ who don’t belong in Myanmar. She has also asked the United States ambassador not to use the term. Her advice is wrong and deeply disappointing. The Rohingya are every bit as Burmese as she is.”

The paper wrote that Aung San Suu Kyi’s reluctance to address issues facing Rohingya Muslims may have emanated from her fear that this could derail her reconciliation process.

The editorial said, “It has been barely a month since she became leader of Myanmar’s first democratically elected government since 1962, with the title of state counselor, and she no doubt fears antagonizing the Buddhist nationalists who angrily demonstrated outside the United States Embassy in late April after the embassy referred to the ‘Rohingya community’ in a letter of condolence for Rohingya victims of a boat sinking.

“Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi may fear that publicly calling these people by their name would upset the national reconciliation process, as a Foreign Ministry official said, or worse: that it would rekindle the terrible violence that erupted in 2012 between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in western Rakhine State.”

The paper warned that if Suu Kyi didn’t abandon the brutal policies of the military regime towards Rohingya Muslims, Myanmar could well face the wrath of more sanctions in future.

“In the end, the reason Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi doesn’t want the Americans to say “Rohingya” doesn’t really matter. What matters is that a woman whose name has been synonymous with human rights for a generation, a woman who showed unflinching courage in the face of despotism, has continued an utterly unacceptable policy of the military rulers she succeeded.

“Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi would be wise to reconsider her stance immediately. Her halo has been a central factor in Myanmar’s reacceptance into the world community after decades of ostracism, but already there are calls by human rights groups in the United States for President Obama to renew sanctions against the country before they expire on May 20.”

Suu Kyi received global condemnation after her perceived racist comments made soon after her interview with a BBC journalist.

She made an off-air comment about BBC’s iconic radio programme, Today, presenter Mishal Husain after losing her temper during an interview where Husain asked her to condemn anti-Islamic sentiment.

Following the interview, Suu Kyi was heard to mutter: “No one told me I was going to be interviewed by a Muslim.”

 

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