“I am somewhat appalled by her dismissive reaction to concerns I raised this morning about the problem of human trafficking in her country.” US Senator (GOP) Bob Corker, 14 September 2016
By Haikal Mansor
Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, reflect on your own complicity in the genocide of my fellow Rohingya people, instead of dismissing well-documented allegations of crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and genocide as “exaggerations” and “fabrications”
Myanmar State Counsellor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, both personally and from her Office, attack the growing allegations of her government’s policies of persecution of Rohingya people.
This is the latest and official attack on the video-clip which has been viewed over 96,000 times on YouTube.
I am a Rohingya activist and professional, fluent in Burmese, Rohingya and English languages, living in exile. I made the 2-minutes video-clip with English language subtitles and posted it on YouTube with the purpose of exposing Aung San Suu Kyi’s culpability and complicity in the crime of genocide against my peoples, including babies, children, women, men and elderly people.
Here is my subtitled video of you LAUGHING OUT LOUD at the genocide allegations.
The clip was a complete Burmese language exchange between a questioner and the State Counsellor from the live webcast of her public meeting with the Burmese in Singapore on 1 Dec 2016.
The literal translation of both the question, submitted in writing, which Aung San Suu Kyi herself read to the audience, and her own Burmese language response, was – and still is -100% impossible. For the whole Q and A exchange was coded.
Therefore, the inferences were made against the backdrop of Myanmar’s overwhelming public and official dismissal as “exaggerations” and “fabrications” the Rohingya identity, existence and genocidal policies – all to the best of my linguistic capabilities and in complete honesty.
This dismissal has dominated the Burmese public discourse, official statements by the governments (both the previous Government of Thein Sein and the current NLD Government or formerly opposition party) and in the social and real time mass media in Burmese language, over the past 4 years since the two bouts of large scale organized violence against Rohingyas broke out in June and October of 2012.
In her press meetings, Aung San Suu Kyi has used consistently the word “exaggerations” in reference to allegations of ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Rohingya people in the months leading up the election in November 2015. She has also reportedly used that expression “fabrications”, “biases” and “exaggerations” in her official meetings with foreign diplomats whom she chided them as relying on false or biased media reports.
The subtitles were the result of the deciphering of what those “fabrications” might be, when she laughed them out, apparently finding these “exaggerations” and “fabrications” to be nothing more than a laughing matter.
Even the following YouTube which was posted by a Facebook user named “Thura Soe”. in Aung San Suu Kyi’s defence in the comment session in the State Counsellor Office’s Facebook page Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi needs to reflect on her own complicity in the genocide.
In that alternative deciphering or interpretation of the completely coded Q and A ‘fabrications’ were interpreted as “reference to the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party” or USDP.
The fact is USDP is never referred to by either Aung San Suu Kyi or her government’s Information Committee led by former USDP Government spokesperson ex-Major Zaw Htay. Nor USDP, which NLD dealt a crushing electoral defeat, has presented Aung San Suu Kyi any major headache, unlike the growing and worldwide accusations and criticisms of her complicity and silence.
Furthermore, Aung San Suu Kyi herself has openly dismissed any credible allegations of genocide and ethnic cleansing as “biased” or “fabrications” or “exaggerations”.
Additionally, the Myanmar Information Committee from her office has directly scathing if baseless accusations against Human Rights Watch, BBC, CNA, CNN, Reuters, etc. rejecting even the satellite images of charred Rohingya villages.
Both these pieces of contextual information and the reports of Ms Suu Kyi’s dismissal of our Rohingya people’s collective plight as ‘exaggerations’ as well as her reported and repeated characterisation of Rohingya – including our identity as a once officially recognised ethnic minority of the Union of Burma – as “non-factual” had compelled me to come up with the only plausible deciphering as reflected in my subtitle.
I had also checked with other native speakers of Burmese who are fluent bi-lingual English-Burmese speakers and scholars. They all agreed with my deciphered subtitles.
Of course, you can also deny because the Burmese speech pattern that you resorted to will allow you “the space of deniability.” Admittedly, I could never presume to know exactly what you had in your anti-Rohingya, anti-Muslim racist mind.
However, I would like to ask Ms Suu Kyi to tell me, the accused, what exactly was coded in that Q and A on 1 Dec.
Finally – and more importantly, as a Rohingya in exile, I would like to urge strongly Ms Suu Kyi to search her soul deep and see why she finds these well-researched findings of ethnic cleansing, genocide and crimes against humanity “exaggerations”.
How could you, Ms Suu Kyi possibly know, let alone dismiss, these international allegations, since you have never documented any human rights abuses in your entire life, nor ever bothered to travel to the crime scenes of my birthplace – N. Arakan – and set foot on a Rohingya IDP camp or an impoverished and oppressed Rohingya village?
After all, the name of the crime of Rohingya persecution have been accepted as crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing or genocide by some of the most world’s credible organizations, university research centres, UN special rapporteurs – including Ms Suu Kyi’s friend and teacher Nobel Laureates Amartya Sen, Desmond Tutu, Jodi Williams and Jose Ramos-Horta, Human Rights Watch, Yale University Human Rights Law Clinic, respected legal scholar and practitioners Sir Geoffrey Nice and Katherine Southwick (of Yugoslavia), renowned scholars of mass atrocities Professors Gregory Stanton and Penny Green, Human Rights Watch, Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, just to name a few.
Eye-opener on genocide against my People:
Amartya Sen, “The Term ‘slow genocide’ is appropriate because you deny [Rohingya] people health care, nutritional opportunities.”
George Soros, “In Aung Mingalar, I heard the echoes of my childhood. You see, in 1944, as a Jew in Budapest, I too was a Rohingya. Much like the Jewish ghettos set up by Nazis around Eastern Europe during World War II, Aung Mingalar has become the involuntary home to thousands of families who once had access to health care, education and employment. Now, they are forced to remain segregated in a state of abject deprivation. The parallels to the Nazi genocide are alarming.”
Desmond Tutu, “The government of Myanmar has sought to absolve itself of responsibility for the conflict between the Rakhine and the Rohingya, projecting it as sectarian or communal violence. I would be more inclined to heed the warnings of eminent scholars and researchers including Amartya Sen, the Nobel laureate in economics, who say this is a deliberately false narrative to camouflage the slow genocide being committed against the Rohingya people.”
Tomas Ojea Quintana (UN Special Rapporteur on human rights), “The International State Initiative… arrives at a convincing conclusion: that a process of genocide against the Rohingya population is underway in Myanmar.”
Yale Law School: Clinic Study Finds Evidence of Genocide in Myanmar
“Aung San Suu Kyi’s influence with the international community helped keep Myanmar’s military in check and strengthened her political position. Now she has lost some of her lustre, and her hold on the military is slipping. Her strategy of pragmatic compromise and ignoring the plight of the Rohingya no longer seems tenable,” Motokazu Matsui, 9 December 2016
Haikal Mansor is a medical doctor, blogger and human rights activist based in Ireland. Views expressed here are his. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org