Defending the indefensible
The conversion of Aung San Suu Kyi from human rights champion to defender of military violence has been painful to watch. The Myanmar leader capped her change last week. At a UN-sponsored conference in Hanoi, she sloughed off questions about the brutal expulsion of 700,000 Rohingya, who now are refugees. Shockingly, she defended the imprisonment of two Myanmar reporters by praising a law written by colonialists to intimidate and punish her own country's citizens.
It must be noted that Ms Suu Kyi was questioned gently by an official, with no questions allowed from reporters who were present. The brief press conference was on the sidelines of a World Economic Forum seminar in the Vietnamese capital. The almost obsequious questioner gave her every opportunity to explain or justify her new positions on basic human rights, and she refused.
She was asked about the forced exit of the Rohingya, the killings and documented massacres included. She said only that, "with hindsight, it could have been handled better". That is obvious. It included military gang rape, arson and mass killings. United Nations investigators have said that the expulsion operation was ethnic cleansing. A second report charged the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe by the Myanmar tatmadaw and now defended by Ms Suu Kyi of the Rohingya was caused with genocidal intent.
Bangkok Post editorial column
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