DO-GOODERS can be the worst. In the past year do-gooders, like the New York Times have been pouring scorn on freedom icon Aung San Suu Kyi for allowing the systematic state-sponsored mass rape and mass murder of Rohingyas—Punjabi Muslims who wandered southwest to where they settled in old Burma. What is being done to Rohingyas qualifies as genocide under Goldhagen’s standards in his book Worse than War.
Rohingyas are not like those who choose the career of pushing drugs to destroy people. Rohingyas are what they cannot help but be: Burmese of another race and religion than the dominant Buddhism. Just like Jews in Germany before World War II and Armenians in Turkey shortly after World War I.
The do-gooders forget that Suu Kyi is only the de facto head of Burma by leave of the Burmese army. In fact she is still alive out of the Burmese army’s veneration of her father, who was the founder of Burma and the Burmese army. If she becomes at all aggressive in addressing the Rohingya massacres she will be toppled. And this time it will be a popular move.
It turns out that Buddhism, like all other religions, is given to violent extremes. When the UN’s human rights envoy to Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, began a 12-day visit to probe the violence, popular demonstrations broke out against her. The result of do-gooders’ hysterical campaign against Suu Kyi for her refusal to connive in the destruction of Burmese democracy—just to make do-gooders feel good, will be the end of a still new Burmese democracy. And the military massacre of pro-democracy Burmese Buddhists. Under the Junta, the Rohingyas were unmolested. The Army is exploiting what was a latent religious and racial bias to push Burmese democracy to the limit where freedom gets in the way of popular intolerance. Although democracy is the worst of all forms of government except all the others, it is hardly ever intelligent. To be sure, authoritarian regimes are for the most part incredibly stupid. The single exception is Singapore, which is an authoritarian democracy of nearly all Singaporeans because they prefer intelligence and order to unfettered freedom of gibberish.
What then should be done?
Former DOJ Secretary de Lima showed the way. She offered without prompting for the Philippines to host Rohingyas fleeing genocide because of race and religion. Hers was class act now forgotten. By us but cherished by the UN High Commission on Refugees.
No Rohingyas took up her offer. We are not in the refugee route, it was explained to me. The Philippines is out of the refugee route. Vietnamese fleeing the American defeat in Vietnam came here on the assurance of the United States that they could come to America. Without that assurance, it is harder to sneak into a better country from here where you stick out as a refugee than easily blend into the populations of Malaysia, Indonesia, and above all Bangladesh from where the Rohingyas hail, being Punjabis like our 5-6 small credit lenders. But de Lima’s offer embarrassed those countries to open their doors as well and the Rohingyas flocked in.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.