Tragedy in Myanmar

I respect Aung San Suu Kyi for promoting freedom and resisting the military regime for over 20 years. President Obama made the right decision to go to Myanmar (Burma) to support her speedy reform in Myanmar towards a democratic institution. However, November was not a good time for such a trip!

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton could have asked the Burmese to respect the minority rights, at least temporarily, as a condition for the President travelling to that country. It was awful to watch the President in Myanmar (Burma) while the killings of the Rohingya community were continuing, even if the President addressed the Rohingya’s plight at Yangon University. "For too long, the people of this state, including ethnic Rakhine, have faced crushing poverty and persecution. But there's no excuse for violence against innocent people, and the Rohingya hold within themselves the same dignity as you do, and I do," President Obama said.
According to Peace Worldwide Organization’s Civility Report 2012, the Burmese government continues imprisoning, forcing into labor, and killing ethnic minorities, especially Rohingya people.
The ethnic violence in Myanmar perpetrated by the Arakanese Buddhists against the small Rohingya minority is horrific, especially coming from people who proclaim the following of Buddha who taught nonviolence and love. Buddha taught that love nurtures spiritual freedom and is a path to it.
I am also disappointed with Suu Kyi for not speaking out in defense of the helpless Rohingya community. In the last two decades, her courage to stand for the majority rule has earned her national and international fame. If she truly believes in democracy, then she must stand for minority rights. As a Burmese heroine, her words have immense power. And, her silence during these killings could make her an accomplice in this carnage.
Human rights violations must not be tolerated anywhere! It is appalling to see that while the Burmese majority celebrates the path to democracy, the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya minority is continuing with full impunity. I urge that the United States and the international community put Myanmar government on notice to respect minority rights, stop the ethnic violence, and restore peace. Myanmar will take a giant step towards democracy by recognizing that Rohingya people deserve to be citizens with the same rights and privileges as other Burmese. 

Dr. Mehdi Alavi, President
Peace Worldwide Organization

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