Readers of The Nation’s “Have Your Say” column have been pampered lately by illustrious contributions by Russian and Turkish envoys, which need to be digested with much more than just a pinch of salt.
But yesterday’s letter by Myanmar’s ambassador reads like something from a college course on political cynicism, if such an elective were to be offered.
I read it a few times hoping to find a word, clue or even subliminal hint that this spokesman for Myanmar’s new civilian leadership might feel a tinge of remorse over what its army has been perpetrating against the Rohingya population, whose only crime is that they were born Muslim. Not a single word about what drove the Myanmar military to carry out one of the worst atrocities of our contemporary era, which succeeded in expelling whole Rohingya populations from their villages. Eye-witness accounts tell of how Rohingya women were gang-raped and then killed, their babies burned alive. The men suffered similar fates.
Besides his excellency the ambassador, others have remained silent on this man-made human catastrophe. Most notable among them is Nobel Peace laureate and Myanmar’s de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The one person who should be championing the cause of the oppressed and underprivileged has stayed mum.
She is also the only one who could have prevented or at least reduced the scale of the tragedy, if only she possessed a tiny fraction of the qualities that would justify her receipt of the Nobel award.
Last but not least, the thunderous silence on the plight of the Rohingya extends to most Muslim countries. Their brethren’s suffering seems to interest very few Islamic leaders. Those same leaders are of course too busy criticising Israel for whatever happens in the Middle East to find time for this issue.