In the last few weeks, a mass exodus of more than a quarter of a million Rohingya, terrorised and starving, have fled towards the Bangladeshi border – a frontier that the Burmese military, known as the Tatmadaw, have booby trapped with land mines. This unfolding tragedy is a reminder that some people are considered superfluous. It’s a reminder that some lives matter less than others and that some people are sacrificed to serve the political and economic ends of others.
Aung San Suu Kyi, writing after being awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990, set down what she believed the test ought to be: “Saints,” she posited, “are sinners who go on trying.” The woman affectionately known by many of her fellow countrymen simply as The Lady is, to many, the closest thing to a living, breathing saint. In Myanmar – a deeply superstitious country, in which astrology and numerology are popular even among members of the elite – the personality cult of Aung San Suu Kyi is imbued with divinity, and many actually believe she’s a female bodhisattva.
Sam Harris and Bill Maher’s most recent tirade against Muslims and their faith is indicative of the global threat posed by Islamophobia. The widespread bigotry is being harnessed and used as justification to persecute Muslims around the world, writes Tim Robertson.
When one goes to Myanmar one may hear people say, as I have, how flattered they are that one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century wrote not one, but three books about them. And the Myanmar government is again channeling Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece – albeit in a way he would have deplored – to rub out the very existence of the Rohingya minority: to make them into ‘unpeople.’
The government of Myanmar has long instituted a campaign to keep the world from seeing their crimes against the Rohingya. The expulsion of Médecins Sans Frontières will likely lead to more, writes freelance journalist Tim Robertson.