Thursday 30 March 2017

Leaning to be Fascists

Source maungzarni, 28 march

Learning to be Fascists, victims, and bystanders (and everything in-between).

We learn to love, hate, kill, slaughter, rape, torture, etc. 

This picture which hangs on an exhibit hall of the Hollywood-designed Oscar Schindler's museum (formerly his factory, now a must-see museum in Krakow, within a few minutes' walk from the walled Jewish ghetto).

My Polish sociologist guide taught me something really perceptive using this photo:. 

Learning to submit completely - 

the Jewish victims of Nazi - Polish Jews in the Nazi-occupied Poland - were taught to behave rather submissively whenever they encountered SS or Gestapo members. For behaving otherwise would result in their death.

Here an Orthodox Jewish man stood with complete docility while a group of SS or Gestapos stopped him and humiliated him in full of of the public. 

Learning to be sadistic human monsters - with a small 'm'

ordinary Germans who joined the Nazi security forces learned to behave as perpetrators, sadists, torturers, executioners, rapists, looters, robbers, etc. The more sadistic the better for your career prospects within the Nazi ladder. They learned that they enjoyed BLANKET IMPUNITY to do anything to the marked population GROUPS. 

Notice a few Nazi men in uniform posing gleefully for camera with their Jewish victim. 

Learning to be indifferent bystanders 

Poles and others whom in the Nazi ideology were borderlines Aryans (those who had potentials to be at the bottom of race hierarchy in the Nazi system as labourer population) learned to behave indifferent towards a situation which they knew was grossly barbaric. For showing kindness and acting on this kindness towards the members of the marked population, namely their local Jewish friends, neighbors, etc. as well as Roma gypsies, etc. would invite collective punishment of their own Polish families, friends, etc.

In the photo a few Polish men looked on, wearing the faces of indifference. 

Nazism and Nazi behaviours were "taught", through punishment and reward systems. 

No human social organisation is immune from this kind of Pavlovian condition. 

In my view, the Burmese society is undergoing this experience re; Rohingya victims of state terror, social ostracism/exclusion and the emerging sadistic culture of those who call themselves "Buddhists".

Tuesday 28 March 2017

UN rights council passes resolution to investigate abuses in Myanmar

Source Justorg, 24 April

[JURIST] The United Nations Human Rights Council [official website] passed a resolution [materials] Friday to investigate potential human rights violations in Myanmar. The fact-finding mission will be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council with the purpose of establishing the facts and circumstances of the alleged human rights violations [UN report] by military and security forces. The resolution calls for Myanmar to continue its efforts to eliminate the statelessness and discrimination of ethnic and religious minorities, such as the Rohingya minority. The resolution also calls for the government of Myanmar to take measures to ensure a return of all the refugees who had to leave Myanmar that is safe, secure, and in accordance with international law. In response to the resolution, Myanmar said that they were committed to finding a solution to the situation in the Rakhine State, but the country disassociated itself from the draft as a whole.

This resolution comes after the UN Special Rapporteur, Yanghee Lee, on March 14th called for [JURIST report] an international investigation into the crimes against humanity allegedly committed by the Myanmar government against the Rohingya minority population. In February, Lee called for [JURIST report] Myanmar to end the persecution of the Rohingya minority. Also in February, Myanmar officials stated [JURIST report] that they would investigated alleged police crimes against Rohingya Muslims. Furthermore, earlier in February, the Human Rights Watch endorsed [JURIST report] an investigation into the abuses against the Rohingya population, specifically the sexual abuses against women. In January, a prominent Muslim lawyer was shot and killed [JURIST report] outside an airport in Myanmar, which led to condemnation from a UN expert on the human rights situation in the country. Earlier in January, the UN sent an envoy [JURIST report] to assess the human rights situation with regards to vulnerable minority populations in Myanmar.

Posted in Paper Chase

Thursday 23 March 2017

Turkish Diplomats Visit Sittwe IDP Camps

Source Rvision, 23 March

Turkish Diplomats Visit Sittwe IDP Camps

Related Articles

Sittwe (Akyab) — The Diplomats from the Turkish Embassy in Yangon visited the Rohingya IDP (Internally Displaced People) Camps here in Sittwe Township on Tuesday (March 21).

The diplomats from the Embassy of Turkey led by H.E. Murat Yavuz Ates and the officers from Turkish NGO TiKA arrived at the displaced Rohingya camps at the village of Thakkay Pyin (Sakki Fara) at around 12:00 noon of the day and looked around the situation of the camps.

They met with the community representatives in the camps, expressed their concerns over how harshly the government has been handling the Rohingya plight and said that Turkey remains in solidarity with the Rohingya people.

During the meeting with the displaced people, H.E. Murat Yavuz Ates asked the Rohingya people to cooperate with the government and also asked the retired Advocate U Kyaw Hla Aung why the Rohingya community is not accept the NV Cards (the National Verification Cards).

U Kyaw Hla Aung explained "the NV Cards are not meant for us. They are for the foreigners that have recently arrived in Myanmar and want to apply for Myanmar's residency. Our forefathers were born here, lived here and died here. We have lived here for many generations. So, why do we need to accept the NV Cards being forced on us?"

"The main purposes behind forcing the NV Cards on us are to demote our ethnic rights by officially portraying us as foreigners, to confiscate our lands and to drive us out of our country. They are doing it intentionally."

U Kyaw Hla Aung continued "the NV Cards are not in accordance with any established laws of Myanmar including 1982 Citizenship Law."

The Turkish Ambassador was apparently in shock after hearing the explanation about the NV Card from the retired Rohingya lawyer.

"He could be of a perception that the NV Card is the Green colored National Registration Card (NRC) and falls in line with the International Citizenship Standard. After U Kyaw Aung Hla Aung's explanation, he understood it and seemed shocked", said an attendee in the meeting with the ambassador.

Regarding the cooperation of the Rohingya people with the government, another (Rohingya) representative in the meeting commented "how can we cooperate with the government? We can't understand their motives and trust them. Keeping our own demands aside, the government needs to at least fulfil the recommendations made by Mr. Kofi Annan's Commission.

"If the government fulfills his recommendations, we welcome the government moves heartily. But we also fear that the government may not fulfill even a single recommendation of his if the Buddhist Monks start protesting again."

The delegation asked the Rohingyas to wait and be hopeful; and expect the government to do something as the Kofi Annan Commission was formed by Ms. Suu Kyi herself. They also asked the people to tell them the important needs of the Rohingyas, not related to the government, which they can fulfill.

The Rohingya representatives expressed, apart from the political solutions related to the government, the two most urgent humanitarian needs of the Rohingyas: Education and Health.

"We need schools and colleges with teachers and all the studying facilities. We need hospitals. Not just the buildings but along with doctors, nurses and other medical facilities. Else, they may not be useful to us", said an elderly Rohingya attending the meeting.

The Turkish delegation not only promised to help them with the education and health facilities but also said they would build a road for them for easier transportations.

After extensive discussions with the local displaced people, the delegation team left the camps at around 1:30 pm.

Thursday 9 March 2017

Tribunal convinced case against Myanmar on Rohingya issue

Source nst, 8 MARCH

By Bernama - 

KUALA LUMPUR: The panel of judges of the inaugural Permanent People's Tribunal (PPT) on Myanmar is convinced that charges of serious crime on the Rohingya and Kachin group demand adjudication by the court, based on evidence presented at the opening session on March 6 and 7 in London.

"From all the accounts provided to us, it is clear the military is continuing and even escalating its repressive role despite the change to a supposedly democratic and civilian government of which so many people, including Kachin and Rohingya, had high expectations," said the three-man panel.

The three judges were Daniel Feierstein, former president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars; Denis Halliday, former assistant secretary of the United Nations and winner of Gandhi International Peace Award in 2003; and Helen Jarvis, former public affairs officer at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

They said the hearing was held due to the lack of response to the critical violation of the people's rights in Myanmar, as well as requests made by 19 Rohingya organisations on Nov 24, last year.

"The Government of Myanmar was informed of this Opening Session and invited to participate, but regrettably did not appear. Nevertheless, this statement will be forwarded to them, together with the Preliminary Indictment, and we reaffirm that they have the possibility to present their case at the coming full session," the judges said.

A full session will be convened within the next six months with a view to producing a reasoned judgment.

Over the two days, the panel of judges heard allegations submitted by both groups and received oral testimony from witnesses and experts, as well as video and written documentation dealing with allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Kachin and Rohingya group.

"The tribunal was exposed in considerable detail to the systematic violation of human rights such as killing, including slaughtering of babies and children, enforced disappearances, rape, forced labour, destruction of homes and denial of basic rights to food, livelihood, health services, education and citizenship," they said.

In the remarks, the panel of judges expressed their deepest appreciation to the many victims for having the courage to come forward, and to the lawyers, researchers and activists who collected documentations to present as evidence to the PPT.

They also urged the United Nations, ASEAN and other international bodies to move beyond descriptive reports of the situation, and called on the media to keep focusing the spotlight on this humanitarian crisis and expose the truth.

"We also trust the commitment of the social movements worldwide to stand in solidarity and provide concrete assistance and action," they said.

Meanwhile, members of Malaysia's Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (CENTHRA), appearing before the PPT as expert witnesses were satisfied they were able to successfully share testimonies of 35 Rohingya who were interviewed in Malaysia.

Its chief executive, Azril Mohd Amin said CENTHRA had been able to successfully document testimonies of the Rohingya in a detailed and systematic way, and the PPT took cognisance, particularly of the specific human rights violations against the group.

"The PPT appreciated the work and contribution of CENTHRA's team of lawyers. It has been a most rewarding experience to work with such committed representatives and supporters of the PPT and now, we look forward to the next session," he told Bernama from London through the WhatsApp Messenger.

Estabilished in 1979, the PPT is an internationally-recognised public opinion tribunal functioning independently of state authorities and has held 43 sessions so far. -- BERNAMA

Yesterday’s ‘Genocide’ is Today’s ‘Crimes Against Humanity’: UNOHCHR Slams Myanmar on Rohingya

Source aecnewstoday, 9 March, 

The severity of the reported violations, against a backdrop of severe and longstanding persecution, appears to me to amount to possible commission of crimes against humanity, which warrants the attention of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

This was the chilling indictment of Myanmar presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein while presenting his annual report yesterday, March 8, 2016.

Noting a standing request to open a Myanmar Office Of The High Commissioner For Human Rights (OHCHR), Mr al-Hussein contined with his damning appraisal urging "the [Human Rights] Council, at minimum, to establish a Commission of Inquiry into the violence against the Rohingya, particularly during security operations since 9 October 2016".

Providing background, Mr al-Hussein said his office was forced to conduct its field study in neighbouring Bangladesh where some 73,000 Rohingya refugees have fled after the Myanmar government refused it permission to operate there.

"An Attempt At Expelling the Rohingya Population"

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein: "material evidence and corroborated eyewitness accounts of mass killings, including babies, children and elderly people".UN Photo/Violaine Martin  UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein: "material evidence and corroborated eyewitness accounts of mass killings, including babies, children and elderly people".

According to Mr al-Hussein his office "found material evidence and corroborated eyewitness accounts of mass killings, including babies, children and elderly people unable to flee, and the burning of entire villages; shooting; massive detention; systematic rape and sexual violence; and deliberate destruction of food and sources of food.

"It appears that what has been termed by the security forces a 'counter-insurgency operation' is in reality aimed at expelling the Rohingya population from Myanmar altogether, as the Special Rapporteur has said".

The description is the closest one can get to genocide without using the 'G' word and comes less than one year after Nobel Laurette Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party officially assumed office following the November 8, 2015 Myanmar general election.

Long regarded by the UN as the world's most persecuted race of of people, the October 2015 military operation in Rakhine (Arakan) State is the latest against Myanmar's estimated 1.3 million Rohingya population, which Myanmar refuses to acknowledge as either a race of people or citizens, despite generations of settlement.

Last November a high level delegation of foreign diplomats and UN representatives were allowed to visit the troubled region, but only after days of intense international lobbying; and only after State-run news agencies were sent to the region to 'clarify' the situation and 'refute accusations on the alleged racial and religious persecution'  (See: Envoys Spend Second Day in Rakhine State as Aid Ban Lifted).

Despite the overwhelming flow of evidence of on-going atrocities Ms Suu Kyi has remained all but silent on the atrocities being committed against the Rohingya, earning her the wrath of those who previously considered her a champion of human rights.

 No Rescinding of Nobel Prizes

Less than one year after assuming office Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's government faces calls for an ICC over the killing of RohingyaCourtesy Htoo Tay Zar Less than one year after assuming office Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's government faces calls for an ICC over the killing of Rohingya

An online petition with more than 200,000 signatures seeks to have the Nobel Prize committee strip her of her award. Their efforts are in vain.

Ms Suu Kyi is not the first Nobel Prize recipient to bring discredit to what was once one of the world's most highly regarded awards. Previous recipients to have acted less than the pillars of society that the award once represented include former US secretary of state and national security advisor Henry Kissinger, former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres, former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, and former US president's Woodrow Wilson, and Barack Obama.

Those still alive shouldn't fret though. Unlike awards with honour such as those for valour or service which can be rescinded, the former secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Geir Lundestad, said in a 2009 interview "we never denounce our laureate's, we always stand by them".

Cambodia, Philippines Also Get Special Mention

The UN gathered corroborated reports of systematic rape and sexual violence, and the burning of entire Rohingya villagesCourtesy Human Rights Watch The UN gathered corroborated reports of systematic rape and sexual violence, and the burning of entire Rohingya villages

Myanmar was not the only Asean member nation to receive special mention by Mr al-Hussein.

Pointing to the Philippines where more than 7,000 people have been killed in the Duterte administration's war on drugs and where President Duterte has made admissions that he personally engaged in killing suspected criminals while mayor of Davao, Mr al-Hussein called called for "a prompt, independent, and credible investigation into all killings".

In Cambodia where the political space has undergone rapid decay in the last several weeks, Mr al-Hussein voiced concern over the lengthy pre-trial detention (remanded in custody) of human rights defenders from the Cambodia Human Rights and Development Association (Adhoc), in addition to those swept up in that country's own war on drugs. "Thousands of people are now detained in inadequate conditions, many without benefit of due process", he said.

In regards to recent threats against non-government organisations (NGOs), the media, and opposition politicians by the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) and Prime Minister Hun Sen, Mr al-Hussein cautioned that for Cambodia's looming commune elections in July and next year's national elections to have credibility they must occur against a backdrop of "guarantees that courts will be independent and impartial, and that the freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association will be protected".

President's Duterte and Hun shouldn't feel too victimised for being singled out. Also coming in for specific criticism from Mr al-Hussein was the United States, the Russian Federation, the European Union (EU), and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), as well as more than 40 other countries.

Despite the alarming overall context of his report, there was also some good news on the human rights front over the past year. According to Mr al-Hussein The Gambia, Uzbekistan, Tunisia, and Greece had all seen significant milestones achieved in human rights improvements over the past 12 months.

 See here for the full version of Mr al-Hussein's annual report and oral Update to the 34th session of the Human Rights Council.


Monday 6 March 2017

The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal Hearings On Myanmar Crimes Against Rohingya & Kachin

Source chigagomonitor, 5 March

Photo: Wiki Commons

The Rome-based International Permanent Peoples' Tribunal (PPT),will hold hearings in London on March 6-8 at Queen Mary University (LIVE Feed)  where evidence will be presented, and expert testimony heard on crimes committed by the Myanmar (Burma) state against persecuted Rohingya and Kachin minorities.

The Tribunal was formed in 1979 as a continuation of the earlier Russell Tribunal II, which held hearings on the crimes of Latin American dictatorships. Since that time the Tribunal has successfully completed 42 sessions. Each session takes up the cause of an oppressed people whose collective humanity and rights as has been negated or threatened by neo-colonial or allied forces and structures of power, and which international institutions and law courts have failed to address directly or provide the requisite moral relief. The values of the PPT are grounded in the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Peoples proclaimed in Algiers in 1979, based on the post-colonial experience and reality of "new forms of Imperialism that evolved to oppress and exploit peoples," particularly those freed from colonization.

The Rohingya and Kachin have endured severe persecution by Myanmar since independence in the 1940s; for years activists from both communities have urged the international community and legal institutions to seriously push back against the crimes of the state. The Secretary General of the Tribunal, Dr. Gianni Tognoni, noted this, saying "The gravity of Myanmar's alleged mistreatment of these ethnic communities has been a concern for us at the PPT for a number of years. My colleagues and I are glad to be able to respond positively to the victims' request for a credible moral tribunal on what appear to be international crimes being committed by the government of Myanmar."

Credible reports by Queen Mary University's State Crime Initiative, Yale Law School and numerous rights organizations such as: Fortify Rights, Human Rights Watch, Burma Task Force and others presented evidence of crimes and violations of basic human rights pointing to strong evidence of a genocide against the Rohingya. Since October, when Myanmar's army initiated a so-called "clearance operation" in Rohingya areas, there has been an escalation in the genocidal process: thousands have been killed, tens of thousands displaced, whole villages have been burned to the ground, many Rohingya men have been disappeared, hundreds of Rohingya women have been raped, and mosques have been leveled. All in the name of fighting an insignificant "insurgency" that's been dubbed by the government as "terrorist."

Likewise, the Kachin people, have faced the brunt of state repression for decades. The Myanmar army has pillaged whole villages, committing mass atrocities along the way, hundreds of thousands of Kachin remain displaced due to this and are vulnerable to extreme violence, Churches have been destroyed and forcibly taken over. The Kachin face numerous restrictions on their movement, access to food, and other basic necessities such as health, education and welfare. Just like the Rohingya, the Kachin make up one of the greatest number of refugees fleeing Myanmar for safety in other nations.

Representatives of the Rohingya and Kachin communities will "bring forth the charges before the jury panel that the Myanmar government is committing crimes under international law, such as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide." The Dalai Lama and numerous human rights organizations are either participating or given their backing to this process. The hope is that when the verdict is presented the swell of coverage will be enough for those who have abetted, sat on the sidelines or denied the crimes against the communities to change their belligerent attitude and insidious activity.The Rohingya and Kachin demand and deserve an end to their oppression, and may the Tribunal be one more salvo in the necessary change that leads to them achieving equality and liberty.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Chicago Monitor's editorial policy.
Tauseef Akbar is a Chicago-based writer and activist and has worked with a number of national civil rights organizations. He holds a BA in English with a concentration on Creative Writing and is pursuing his graduate degree in Islamic studies.

Thursday 2 March 2017

The Cowardice of Aung San Suu Kyi

Source TheDiplomat, 1 march

The Cowardice of Aung San Suu Kyi
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The life of a politician is made infinitely easier when, as the saying goes, their actions are judged by their reputation, and not the other way around. Such a phrase is befitting of Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whom the media can describe with a number of glowing phrases: Nobel prize laureate, democracy icon, human rights defender, champion of the Myanmar people.

However, Keith Harper, who served as former U.S. President Barack Obama's ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council, had these words to say about her on Monday:

Unfortunately, what has become increasingly clear over the ensuing months, is that while Daw Suu Kyi was perfectly comfortable reaping benefits as a human rights icon for her own pro-democracy struggle, she is not prepared to display the political courage necessary to take a stand for an unpopular Muslim minority group and prevent the grave and systematic denial of their human rights.

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A few more choice extracts from the statement include:

For far too many, her iconic status as pro-democracy crusader makes it difficult to hold accountable a Suu Kyi-led government no matter the well-documented human rights violations…

Her Nobel Prize has become a most awful kind of shield from proper scrutiny…

Even accepting that Suu Kyi does not sufficiently control the military, she has utterly failed to utilize her considerable bully pulpit which would undoubtedly be impactful.

The phrase"scathing attack" might have been apt to describe this statement if it wasn't for the clarity and logic of its argument. But when one criticizes Suu Kyi there is the sneaking suspicion that you will be palmed off as just an iconoclast or, perhaps worse, unfair. I can already hear the thoughts of her apologists: "Leave her alone, she's trying her best. Look at what she's up against."

Very well. She is up against a military (Tatmadaw) that still automatically controls a quarter of seats in the parliament and three key ministries and has proven to be largely independent of the NLD government. And then there is a resurgent movement of chauvinist Buddhists, openly calling for the persecution of the Rohingya and finding a good deal support among the general public.

But Suu Kyi has known what she is up against for decades (these are hardly new developments) and, even under the perilous situation of house arrest, was happy to deride her opponents for what they were: dictators and murderers and oppressors of the people of Myanmar.

Yet, we are to believe that it is perfectly defensible, now she has achieved a position of power, that her once famed audacity to stand up to the forces of the Tatmadaw and chauvinists in society has become conspicuously quiet. A recent article in the Harvard Political Review intoned an odd mixture of feebleness and sophistry:

While Suu Kyi deserves some of the criticism for her failure to effectively deal with the violence against the Rohingya, her silence does not stem from a naive hatred of the group, but from a careful standoff between her, Myanmar's military forces, and Buddhist nationalists.

Of course she doesn't hate the Rohingya. Few sensible people claim as much. And the use of the word "careful" appears odd, since in this reading the NLD is in the most perilous position. Nevertheless, the intent of this opinion has become something of an orthodox view of many commentators, warranting two questions.

First, isn't it an indication of opportunism and cynicism, not careful or sensible politics, to negate one's principles when in a position of power? Indeed, how else can one look at the situation other than that Suu Kyi possessed greater courage to stand up to the military junta and its civilian frontmen when under house arrest (with no power) than she does now as the de facto leader of an elected government, with a number of ministries to her name and the freedom to travel the world as an elected official (with the apparent ability to raise awareness of the issue and cash through the goodwill she is owed by some international statesman).

In a 1989 essay, Suu Kyi wrote that "it is undeniably easier to ignore the hardships of those who are too weak to demand their rights than to respond sensitively to their needs." How the prophetic becomes the pathetic.

Moreover, and this is important: she has not been "silent" on the persecution of Rohingya as some people like to say. Instead she called the accusations of human rights violations "fabrications." This is not avoiding the issue; it's taking the side of the perpetrator.

Let us, for a moment, quickly look at what Suu Kyi believes to be fabrications. Here is just one story of many documented in a February report by the UNCHR on the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, which also stated that as many as 66,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since October escape what has been called "human rights violations." This is told by an 11-year-old girl:

The next time the military came, there were eight to 10 of them, they were asking where my father and sisters were. They were also saying that they were searching for people from Bangladesh. They removed all my clothes and all my mother's clothes and kicked us with their boots. Then they left. I do not know why. But the next day they came again. This time there were seven of them. They dragged my mother outside the house and locked themselves in the room with me. I do not know if they all abused me, I lost consciousness at some point. My mother woke me up with water. I was bleeding a lot.

In 2011 Suu Kyi was lauded by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when the pair met for the first time. During this address at the meeting, Clinton spoke warmly about the famed speech Suu Kyi delivered at a UN conference in Beijing in 1995 on women's rights.

During that speech Suu Kyi oscillated between the blatantly false and the blatantly obvious, but it had a powerful effect anyway. "To the best of my knowledge," she said, "no war was ever started by women. But it is women and children who have always suffered most in situations of conflict."

Two decades on, all Suu Kyi had to say on a conflict in which girls as young as 11 were gang-raped by the military personnel of the country she represents was that the claims were "fabrications." As for no woman starting a war, she might have overlooked other cases such as the fact that Queen Victoria was on the throne during the Second and Third Anglo-Burmese War. (Or was Victoria as "passive" in these wars as Suu Kyi is in Myanmar's persecution of the Rohingya? Hardly). Nevertheless, it is clear that Suu Kyi hasn't also done much to end the current war on the Rohingya, only fanned some of the flames.

Now, returning to the orthodox view, the second line of argument is that her supposed reticence to speak out about the violations against the Rohingya and the actions of Buddhist chauvinists is a calculated decision, somehow reasoned to be for the greater good. She is gradually building a democratic society and does not want to anger the Tatmadaw, sparking a possible coup against the NLD, so the argument goes.

If this reason is to be accepted, then it is clear Suu Kyi has placed politics and pragmatism above any ideals. Fair enough, but then one should see her for what she has become, a mere mortal politician, not the icon she is still thought of as (the Asian Nelson Mandela shown in the likes of Luc Besson's The Lady).

Moreover, if it is some calculated decision, she had better show some results soon. At the moment, the social change the electorate thought it was voting for is happening at snail's pace, if at all.

The NLD ran its 2015 campaign on the slogan, "Time for Change." "Vote for us, just look to the party flag," Suu Kyi told a crowd in August that year. "It's time for change, let's vote for NLD and have real change!"

Instead of the change, the NLD government has cracked down on free speech, allegedly formed close ties with "crony capitalists," and seenhundreds of NLD activists quit, claiming the party's leaders have become too authoritarian. It has failed utterly to deal with demands of the various ethnic groups and the economy has hardly surged as predicted. Moreover, the whole saga of Suu Kyi not being able to become president left a bad taste in the mouth.

Today, NLD members and Suu Kyi seldom speak to the media, one might guess because they will be asked difficult questions they don't want to answer. It even took her a month to make a public comment on the murder of prominent Muslim lawyer and activist U Ko Ni, an old comrade and friend.

Of course, some reforms have taken place. But they are nothing like the ones promised. On the issue of change, Suu Kyi has offered only excuses. She said last month: "Our citizens who have been struggling hard for many decades may think it's a very long time. But for the history of a country, for the history of a government, 10 months or one year is not much. This is just a short period."

Wasn't this the same line of the ancien regime (give us more time to reform and change)? And where is the sense of urgency that motivated the NLD before their victory? Some apologists have tried the line that expectations were simply too high after the NLD won in 2015, consciously turning the blame on the electorate, not the NLD. I have even seen in print the suggestion that Suu Kyi's fawning over the military is, perhaps,akin to Stockholm syndrome (which is either hyperbole or an admission that she is unfit to lead).

One conclusion, drawn by Kirsten McConnachie of the University of Warwick, writing in The Conversation in February, is that "the new government looks much like the old regime." Another is that the whole saga speaks not of patient or clever politics (however unsavory that would be given the context) but of a government and a leader completely out of their depth. Maybe rumors of declining health also factor into this.

Towards the end of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, the character of Nick Carraway comments that "the loneliest moment in someone's life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly." There is a stirring emotion to feel some sympathy for Suu Kyi; she has fought for decades and sacrificed a great deal (more than most would forego) to get to where she is.

But such sympathy quickly fades when one considers that it is the people of Myanmar who have truly suffered, and that these are the same people being let down by the person who promised them genuine change and has, so far, failed to deliver. Then again, another emotion stirs: I desire nothing more than to be proven wrong.

State provocation led to Myanmar genocide, Rohingya say

Source worldbulletin, 

State provocation led to Myanmar genocide, Rohingya say

European Rohingya Council says government complicit in attacks on police that sparked atrocities

World Bulletin / News Desk

A violent security crackdown among Myanmar's Rohingya community in response to attacks on police was orchestrated by the government, a group representing the Muslim minority has told Anadolu Agency.

Hla Kyaw, chairman of the European Rohingya Council (ERC), said the killings of police in Rakhine State, where most Rohingya live, on Oct. 9was organized by military intelligence as justification for repressive measures against Rohingya.

"The Myanmar military intelligence department indirectly supported a group of desperate Rohingya youths to create a gang and manipulated them to attack security forces in order to legalize their illegal attack on the community," he said.

"We do not support any kind of violence. We condemn this killing."

Hla Kyaw said that local villagers informed the police of the gang's intentions "but police kept silence and did not do anything to stop it."

He added: "So that means the government is behind this attack in order to justify their actions against Rohingya."

Nine police officers were killed in attacks on posts in Maungdaw, a district in northern Rakhine near the Bangladesh border. The killings sparked a violent wave of reprisals against the civilian population.

During these operations, the UN and rights groups have produced evidence of widespread abuses by security forces such as killings -- including of children and babies -- gang rape, brutal beatings, the burning of villages and disappearances.

The council said more than 400 people were killed in the crackdown, which officially ended on Feb. 15, and around 400 women were raped, including children aged 12. Approximately 1,500 houses were burnt down, Hla Kyaw said.

During the operations, at least 93,000 people were displaced, with the majority fleeing to Bangladesh, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

As well as provoking the attacks against police, Hla Kyaw accused the government of setting the Muslim and Buddhist communities against each other in Rakhine.