[ by Charles Cameron — Aung San Suu Kyi and U Thein Sein dance a quick pas de deux, but what comes next? ]
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) April 6, 2016
— Lion's Roar (@LionsRoar) April 5, 2016
Bear in mind, though:
U Thein Sein becoming a monk shouldn't be a surprise. Lots of men join a monastery for a time over the holidays; maybe I'll do it next year
— Thant Myint-U (@thantmyintu) April 4, 2016
It will be instructive to see whether Aung San Suu Kyi, now that the elexctions are over and her power secxured, will at last begin to show signs of Buddhist abhorrance at the way her fellow Buddhists in Myanmar are treating the Rohingya minority. Here’s the gist of Peter Popham‘s recent exploration of that question:
Plenty of Burmese Buddhists are extremely prejudiced against Muslims. But is Aung San Suu Kyi? [ .. ]
It is true that she has never made a clear statement in support of the Rohingya, the persecuted Muslims of western Burma, tens of thousands of whom are stateless, homeless and without rights thanks to official Burmese government policy. She has lamented the violence in Arakan state but has refused to endorse the judgements of organisations such as Human Rights Watch, which have blamed Arakan’s Buddhists for the persecution of the Muslims. [ .. ]
Suu Kyi has been struggling to attain power in Burma for the past 28 years. She is vastly popular with her fellow countrymen, more than 90 per cent of whom are Buddhists, like her. But her enemies in the military regime have never stopped trying to blacken her name. Their favourite method was to say that she wasn’t properly Burmese because she had been married to an Englishman, had lived in the West for many years and produced two foreign sons. And by depicting her as foreign, they tried to lump her together with the Muslim minority who are also regarded by many Burmese Buddhists as aliens with no right to remain in the country.
My hunch is that Suu Kyi feared that if she spoke up for the Rohingya, it would make it easy for her enemies to repeat this argument – and if the Burmese masses fell for it, that could erode her standing and her chances of coming to power. So she has been sitting uncomfortably on the fence for the past five years. [ .. ]
Now she is coming to power with a solid parliamentary majority, perhaps she can relax and tell us what she really thinks.