by Felicity Arbuthnot
Writer, Dandelion Salad
October 5, 2017
“But then, once in a lifetime
the longed for tidal wave
of justice can rise up,
and hope and history rhyme.
Believe that a further shore
is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles.”
— Seamus Heaney, 1939-2013, “The Cure at Troy”
Oxford UK, the “city of dreaming spires”, as described by poet Matthew Arnold and the oldest university city in the English speaking world, is to rescind the honour of the Freedom of the City awarded to Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi, over her response to the Rohingya crisis, reports The Guardian.
A unanimous cross-party motion stated that it was “no longer appropriate” to fete Myanmar’s de facto head of State.
Council Leader, Bob Price is quoted as calling the move an “unprecedented step” for the authority. A special meeting to confirm the stripping of the status will be held on 27th November.
Last week St Hugh’s College, Oxford, where she studied as an undergraduate, removed her portrait from public display. According the The Guardian (29th September 2017):
“In 2012 Aung San Suu Kyi was celebrated with an Honorary Doctorate from Oxford University, and held her 67th birthday party at the college where she studied politics, philosophy and economics between 1964 and 1967.”
So far there is no talk of the Doctorate being rescinded, though a number of UK institutions are reviewing honours bestowed on her over the years.
UNISON, the country’s second largest trade union, last month suspended her honorary membership and:
“Bristol University, one of a string of universities that awarded honorary degrees to the Burmese leader during her time in opposition, also said it was reviewing its award in light of accusations of brutal mistreatment of the Rohingya” whilst: “The London School of Economics Student Union said it would be stripping Aung San Suu Kyi of her Honorary Presidency.”
“A number” of other institutions are reported to be “reviewing or removing” honours previously bestowed on her, though no doubt as other dubious recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize she will retain that, awarded in 1991.
The UN have described the plight of the Rohingya as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”
Britain’s Disasters and Emergency Committee has launched a major appeal for the Rohingya with the UK government led by Theresa May (who coincidentally also studied at St Hugh’s College, Oxford) leading from the rear by pledging that the government would match the first three million pounds donated by the public.
If humanity existed the government would surely have led, donating the first major tranche of money and urging the public to join. But then when it is of a mindset that appoints a Foreign Secretary, the country’s foremost “diplomat”, who said yesterday of Sirte in Libya – where Muammar Gaddafi was horrifically, barbarically slaughtered and which Secretary Boris Johnson had recently visited:
“There’s a group of UK business people, wonderful guys who want to invest in Sirte … and they literally have a brilliant vision to turn Sirte … to turn it into the next Dubai. The only thing they’ve got to do is clear the dead bodies away and then they’ll be there.”
From Myanmar, to Whitehall, to Donald Trump sneering at the devastated people of Puerto Rico (if you can stomach it) it seems politics has hit a shameful, stinking, festering, inhuman low. Given the lows of the last decades, that is really saying something.
[DS added the video reports.]
Burma’s Rohingya Muslims Face Worst Crisis Yet
TheRealNews on Sep 7, 2017
After decades of persecution, a Burmese military campaign has forced more than 150,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee deadly attacks.
Advocates Warn All Rohingya May Be Driven Out of Burma If Military’s Ethnic Cleansing Continues
Democracy Now! on Sep 20, 2017
https://democracynow.org – A humanitarian crisis continues to unfold in Burma, where more than 400,000 members of the Rohingya Muslim minority have fled the country to escape a brutal Burmese military operation. According to Human Rights Watch, tens of thousands of Rohingya homes have been burned to the ground. Some 214 Rohingya villages in Burma have been destroyed. Before-and-after satellite photos distributed by Human Rights Watch reveal that wide swaths of Rakhine state have been destroyed in recent weeks. Last week, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein accused the Burmese government of waging a textbook example of ethnic cleansing. On Tuesday, Human Rights Watch called on the United Nations General Assembly to condemn the Burmese military operation. Meanwhile, Burmese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who is now Burma’s de facto president, is facing mounting criticism for her handling of the violence. Last year, she attended the United Nations General Assembly as Burma’s much-esteemed new civilian leader. This year, she has refrained from attending the gathering, choosing to avoid questions about the Burmese military’s crackdown on the Rohingya. During a nationally televised speech on Tuesday, Suu Kyi refused to blame the military or address the U.N.’s accusation of ethnic cleansing. We speak with Azeem Ibrahim, author of the book “The Rohingyas: Inside Myanmar’s Hidden Genocide.” He’s a senior fellow at the Center for Global Policy.
Nobel Peace Prize Winners Call for U.N. Security Council to Protect Rohingya from Attacks in Burma
Democracy Now! on Sep 27, 2017
https://democracynow.org – In the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Burma, more than 400,000 members of the Rohingya Muslim minority have fled the country after hundreds of their villages were burned to the ground. The U.N. high commissioner for human rights has accused the Burmese government of waging a textbook example of ethnic cleansing. In recent days, Bangladeshi authorities have sharply restricted the movements of Rohingya refugees, telling them they can’t leave their makeshift camps, ordering drivers not to transport Rohingya and landlords not to rent to them. We get response from Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. He and over a dozen other Nobel Peace laureates have signed a letter calling on the United Nations Security Council to intervene to protect the Rohingya and end the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine, Burma. Yunus’s new book is “A World of Three Zeros: The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment, and Zero Net Carbon Emissions.”
from the archives:
The Debt Before the Storm by Lance Selfa + Puerto Rico Devastated By Hurricanes, Colonialism by Berta Joubert-Ceci
London Bridge Attack – Hypocrisy, Double Standards and Double Dealing by Felicity Arbuthnot
Terror in Britain: What Did the Prime Minister Know? by John Pilger
State terrorism led by the Land of the Free by Felicity Arbuthnot
WordPress still prevents me from commenting (as David Llewellyn Foster) with my Facebook log-in….
I really don’t know why that is happening to you, David. Other people commenting have used their FB log-in/connection to comment recently. So, it has something to do with your settings on the browser you are using. Are you logged into FB? Have you tried a different browser? I highly recommend Epic Privacy browser. Also, recommend not using FB to comment but that’s because FB follows you everywhere on the Internet/web unless you log off, AND clear cookies.
Thanks Lo; I’ll try to figure it out, trouble is I’m just too stretched at present, to devote much time to this…& I’ve never been the sharpest pencil in the box when it comes to technical glitches!
Felicity skewers Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s blustering old-Etonian arrogance and vile stupidity, with caustic precision. What a loathsome display of callous ignorance from a Foreign Secretary.
It illustrates two key facts: the repercussions of British colonial engagement still resonate….and the tendencies to emulate the erroneous administrative catastrophes of the past, are still latent evidently…especially in the (Turkish!) ancestral demeanour of Mr Johnson’s lurking ‘epigenetic’ ambitions…
It is clear that “ruling the world” is a superannuated, obsolete & limiting aspiration. The depressing fact is that those who can summon sufficient intelligence to absorb adequate knowledge, seldom display the capacity to exercise it or show enough real experience to transmute it effectively.
There can only be one logical formula for moral progress, and that is the need for a consensual methodology to proselytise realistic values, that can directly empower enlightened institutional and vernacular initiatives ~ initiatives that allow for the proper understanding of local potential, in creative combination with innovative ecological thinking.
As Paul Hawken’s remarkable ‘Drawdown’ research reveals, that begins (and ends) with the education and empowerment of girls and women.
I think it may be premature to jump to media-led conclusions about who is actually responsible for the escalation of violence in ‘Aung San Suu Kyi’s Myanmar…’ if reports of extreme terrorist provocations are at all credible….there just might be recognizable, sickeningly familiar emergent patterns in evidence.