But while this might seem like a heartening development in a country which has been under a tyrannical military dictatorship since decades, things don’t look too upbeat for the country. There’s a serious, yet underreported, conflict currently plaguing the country. Deadly sectarian clashes between the Muslim Rohingya and the Buddhists continues to rage in Burma’s coastal Rakhine state, which has killed nearly 90 since June (although exact figures are disputed) and displaced many thousands.
The brunt of most of the violence is borne by the Rohingya Muslims — mostly viewed as illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh — who continue to be victims of arson, rape and murder. Tens of thousands of them are languishing in refugee camps. And now fresh Muslim-Buddhist clashes have sparked another exodus of Muslims to emergency camps. Hundreds of Rohingyas have fled to Rakhine’s state capital Sittwe by boat this week to seek sanctuary in the camps. The UN refugee agency estimated that more than 1,000 displaced people had reached Sittwe in recent days.
However, there’s been a conspicuous silence about the bloodshed among the higher echelons of power in Burma. The military government has tried its best to keep the conflict secluded from the international community’s scrutiny, by limited access, especially of journalists, to the troubled areas.
But what is even more disappointing is that Suu Kyi, the winner of a Nobel Peace Prize and the most respected pro-democracy fighter in the world, has been reticent about the issue. Even during her visit to the UK, when she addressed both houses of parliament, she did not even make a passing reference to the violence in the country. However, the rhetoric of democracy and peace, that Suu Kyi is so famous for, is meaningless if she refuses to shed light on the plight of the Rohingya — one of the world’s most persecuted minority. Khaleej Times