Episode 33: The Rohingya Nightmare in Myanmar

In this episode, we discuss the ongoing Rohingya humanitarian crisis that has been unfolding (and is still going) for the last 2 weeks in Burma, also known as Myanmar, which has, as of September 20, led to more than 400,000 Rohingyas fleeing their home country and finding refuge in Bangladesh. We delve deep into the history of the Rohingya people and why they are dubbed by international media as “the most persecuted minority in the world,” looking at the religious hate-mongering that has been perpetuated by both hardline Buddhist extremists groups as well as the Burmese government — and, as an extension of that, the ignorance of Myanmar’s de facto leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi. We unpack who she is, the limitations of her political power, and why she has refused to acknowledge the atrocities committed by the Burmese army against the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people.

We also look into the international criticism of Myanmar and Suu Kyi’s response (or lack thereof), and break down the valorization (in particular, in Western media) of Suu Kyi as the democratic hope of Myanmar. In talking about this underreported issue, we hope that more people would know about the plight of the Rohinyga and demand not only the cessation of violence but also international action & aid to support those who are already deeply affected by this crisis.

Thanks for listening!

P.S. stay to the end to hear a snippet of Suu Kyi’s speech on the Rohingya crisis, as well as our thoughts on the September 17 attack on the LBH (Jakarta Legal Aid Institute) office. 

For those interested in learning more about the topic, we’ve provided links to resources as well as other recommended readings.
Meet The Rohingya, The Most Persecuted People You’ve Never Heard Of — courtesy of AJ+
The Rohingya Migrant Crisis — courtesy of Council on Foreign Affairs
Rohingya crisis explained in maps — courtesy of Al Jazeera
The Buddhist monk who reviles Myanmar’s Muslims — Ashin Wirathu and his hatred of the Rohingya
Will Aung San Suu Kyi step up to halt Rohingya crisis? — courtesy of Al Jazeera’s Inside Story
‘Silence is too high a price’ — Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s scathing criticism of Aung San Suu Kyi
Myanmar’s 1982 Citizenship Law and Rohingya — on the law that rendered the Rohingya “stateless”
Aung San Suu Kyi’s 2010 Release — courtesy of Al Jazeera
It’s No Surprise Suu Kyi is No Saint — The Guardian’s article about Western moral idolization of Suu Kyi
Final Report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State — a report commissioned by the Burmese government in 2016, chaired by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, which provides recommendations on how to address tensions with the Rohingya