the deafening silence of Aung San Suu Kyi

That’s the powerful title of an opinion piece (sorry in Dutch) by Nourdeen Wildeman, a Muslim who converted from Christianity. It’s about the Nobel prize winner’s refusal to speak out about the Rohingya issue. The analysis points out two things that don’t fit into a moral world view. She’s not living up to her iconic status, she’s acting like a politician, horror…and she’s not the only one, sections of the Buddhist clergy are even worse. They actively participate in the propaganda war against this ethnic group, and some even in riots.

Yes, this shouldn’t be, and yes, that’s very much what politics and organized religion often do. Follow the tide of popular sentiment, ride it for their own benefit, indeed, but the wave is not theirs. The lessons are that saints don’t exist, Buddhists are as  attached as anyone else, and the people can be a bigoted murderous lot without compassion. And yes, that includes you and me…

By way of solace: enjoy my favorite song about disappointment:

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2 Responses to the deafening silence of Aung San Suu Kyi

  1. Laura says:

    Yes, indeed very dissappointing but also very human after all it took a great deal of suffering and endurance to be where she is now.
    Being patient, friendly, detached and compassionate in a stressfull situation in any simple live situation is a challenge…to be all that in a political environment is a Hercules job but hen he got his job done…

    • roger henke says:

      Hi Laura,
      yes, understandable. For sure. One might even suspect some current regime machinations in trying to use the Rohingya troubles to discredit her locally, and interpret her silence as strategic to avoid an “anti-national” image. But that doesn’t make it less tragic. My view would be that the silence reflects the common tragedy of suppressed people turning into suppressors; it’s less about the individual leader than about the mass. And I didn’t add my last sentence lightly, no claim that I would do any better when in difficult circumstances, there is not much substance in about arm chair moralizing, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

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