Aung San Suu Kyi must face Myanmar’s harsh realities

Calls for Aung San Suu Kyi to be stripped of her Nobel peace prize are simplistic, argues Gerry Abbott, while Randir Singh Bains says some Rohingya Muslims must share the blame for the Myanmar crisis

George Monbiot (Take away her Nobel peace prize. She no longer deserves it, 6 September) is of course appalled at the continued ethnic cleansing of Rakhine state, but it is no good behaving like the roadside accident witness who just screams: “Do something!”

Working for a couple of years under Burmese military rule, I experienced some of the difficulties that Aung San Suu Kyi faces. Among these are an institutionalised hatred of western outsiders, a corresponding conviction of Burman superiority over various minority groups and a Kafkaesque talent for obfuscation and the frustration of any initiatives not created by the junta. What is needed is a series of specific proposals for consideration, so that observers will know precisely what is being rejected.

It is also unfair of George to single her out as “a Nobel peace laureate complicit in crimes against humanity”. What about Henry Kissinger, Menachem Begin and maybe others?
Gerry Abbott

• George Monbiot rightly highlights the violation of human rights of the Rohingya Muslims in western Myanmar. However, his article would have carried more weight if he had taken the trouble to tell some home truths about the Rohingya Muslims too. They are not just innocent bystanders; they are fighting a war of secession against Myanmar, which started in 1947, soon after East Pakistan was created. Their aim is to force some districts of Rakhine state to secede from Myanmar and join Bangladesh.

Monbiot is also factually wrong when he claims that Rohingya Muslims have lived in Myanmar for centuries. Rohingya started coming to Myanmar only after the British conquered Burma in the 1880s, and encouraged people from British India to settle in their newly conquered territories.
Randhir Singh Bains
Gants Hill, Essex

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