- Nearly three months after violence escalated against the Rohingya in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, leading to the exodus of more than half a million to neighbouring Bangladesh, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi finally visited the region. By all accounts, Ms. Suu Kyi had little more than platitudes to offer and her words showed no recognition that what transpired is a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”, as the UN Human Rights chief put it.
- This is extremely disappointing. Ms. Suu Kyi endured years of house arrest and unremitting hostility from the military junta before emerging victorious in a free and fair election two years ago. But despite taking over a top post after the election, her civilian government’s powers have been clipped as the military still holds sway over defence, home affairs and border issues. Ms. Suu Kyi, a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, has found it pragmatic not to challenge the official rhetoric in Myanmar, which suggests the military’s actions were aimed at tackling “terror” in Rakhine. This could be for two reasons. First, she does not want to upset the fragile balance of power in the fledgling democracy after years of rule by the junta. Second, there is a clear lack of empathy for the Rohingya in a country that has seen the rise of Buddhist and Bamar majoritarianism that has corresponded with an official “othering” of the Rohingya, who are Muslims, as non-citizens. Despite the widespread international condemnation of her government’s actions, Ms. Suu Kyi has sought to pander to the domestic gallery by defending the military’s actions in Rakhine. Her conduct during her visit to the region this week suggests that she has no intention of effecting any real or meaningful change in her government’s position on the Rohingya.
- The Rohingya, meanwhile, have been left to deal with themselves, unwanted and stateless in their homeland and forced to migrate, mostly to Bangladesh, in hazardous conditions. Dhaka has been trying to drum up support and relief for the constant and unremitting stream of refugees making their way to Bangladeshi soil. Against this background, it is unfortunate that New Delhi has turned its back on the Rohingya refugees, leading to perceptions that it has failed to rise to its status as a regional power and take the lead in dealing with the humanitarian crisis. The Myanmar government has said that it will repatriate returning Rohingya if they prove they were residents of Rakhine, but it is not clear how the refugees would be able to do so having been denied citizenship and having fled their villages under duress with barely anything in hand. Myanmar’s evasiveness makes it all the more imperative that the international community, including India, quickly provide succour for the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who are living on the edge.
Escalate: increase rapidly.
Example: The price of tickets escalated
Synonyms: increase rapidly, soar, rocket, shoot up, mount, spiral
Exodus: a mass departure of people, especially emigrants.
Example: It predicted that if they got their way there would be ‘a mass exodus of money and jobs’.
Synonyms: mass departure, withdrawal, evacuation, leaving
Endure: remain in existence; last.
Example: These cities have endured through time
Synonyms: last, live, live on, go on, survive, abide, continue, persist
Unremitting: never relaxing or slackening; incessant.
Example: Unremitting drizzle
Synonyms: relentless, incessant, unrelenting, continual, constant
Victorious: having won a victory; triumphant.
Example: A victorious army
Synonyms: triumphant, conquering, vanquishing, winning
Sway: a rhythmical movement from side to side.
Example: The easy sway of her hips
Synonyms: swing, roll, shake, oscillation, undulation
Pragmatic: dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.
Example: A pragmatic approach to politics
Synonyms: practical, matter-of-fact, sensible, down-to-earth, commonsensical
Rhetoric: the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.
Example: Born into a rich provincial family, he studied philosophy as well as rhetoric and law.
Synonyms: oratory, eloquence, command of language, way with words
Fragile: easily broken or damaged.
Example: Tourists also damage the fragile ecosystem by dumping plastic waste and driving over the grasslands.
Synonyms: breakable, easily broken, delicate, dainty, fine, flimsy
Perception: the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses.
Example: The normal limits to human perception
Repatriate: a person who has been repatriated.
Example: Tourism is the third largest source of foreign exchange in the country, after repatriates and garments
Succour: assistance and support in times of hardship and distress.
Example: Victims’ families had no protection, no succour or support.
Synonyms: aid, help, a helping hand, assistance, comfort, ease, relief