At present, close to a million Rohingya Muslims have been driven out of Burma and into refugee camps in Bangladesh as a result of deliberate ethnic cleansing by the Burmese army. While the plight of Rohingya Muslims has deep historical roots, the sudden upsurge in violence has been qualitatively different from anything in recent decades. Under the context of the legacy of British colonialism, and under the pretext of cracking down on radical Muslim insurgency, the government of Myanmar has unleashed a highly organized and systematic persecution of Rohingya Muslims from their lands in what has been described as by the UN Human Rights High Commissioner as “a textbook case of ethnic cleansing”. Consequently, entire Rohingya villages have been burned down, civilians are massacred, raped, and brutalized indiscriminately, and hundreds upon thousands of people are being forcibly displaced from their homes.
Despite the overwhelming evidence of human rights violations reported, Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and head of the civilian government in Myanmar, has explicitly denied the existence of the genocidal campaign currently unfolding against Rohingya Muslims. Aung San Suu Kyi, a long beloved puppet of Western imperialism, praised for her ‘civil courage’ and dedication to ‘western liberal values’, has effectively shown her true colours as a genocidal collaborationist.
The Revolutionary Student Movement, an organization that stands against all forms of oppression, adamantly denounces the figure of Aung San Suu Kyi for her role in the ongoing crimes against Rohingya Muslims. We categorically reject the appraisal and normalization of any and all leaders that legitimize or are responsible for the systemic oppression of ethnic and religious minorities.
Given our current political context, where Islamophobic tendencies are slowly being normalized and tolerated despite the very real danger that it poses to Muslim communities in Canada, it is doubly critical that we actively challenge and denounce it wherever it rears its ugly head. There are stark similarities between the Islamophobic campaign being carried out in Burma against the Rohingya, such as the 969 Movement, which claims to be defenders of their nation’s ethnic purity and religious values, and the various Islamophobic groups such as the Soldiers of Odin, the Proud Boys, and the Northern Guards that are spearheading the normalization of hatred towards Muslims communities in Canada. The violence currently experienced by Rohingya Muslims did not emerge from a vacuum. It is the consequence of decades, if not centuries of systematic marginalization, exclusion and oppression by the Burmese ethnic and religious majority. We are experiencing a similar phenomenon in Canada and we must therefore combat it before it further amplifies, lest similar horrors happen here too.
As such, we demand that CUSA removes the Aung San Suu Kyi mural located in the tunnels near the University Center and replace it with a mural that promotes solidarity and equality between all ethnicities and religious creeds. There is no space on our campus for the appraisal of Islamophobes and apologists of ethnic cleansing. Furthermore, we urge Carleton students to join us in demanding that the administration revokes Aung San Suu Kyi’s honorary degree given to her by the University in 2011. We also demand that the administration explicitly condemn Aung San Suu Kyi’s position towards the crimes being committed against Rohingya Muslims.
Revolutionary Student Movement Carleton Chapter