I came upon this demonstration on Sunday by chance, shortly before it ended; a protest composed almost entirely of people of south Asian appearance.
The Royhinga people are in crisis in Burma, abused by the State army, which is using the excuse of rooting out insurgents. About one thousand have been killed by the Burmese Army, according to a UN Special Rapporteur and according to Al Jazeera 164,000 have crossed the border to escape. Villages have been burned and there are also allegations of rape and of ethnic cleansing.
The Army’s recruits are of mainly Buddhist background, while the Rohingya people are mostly Muslim. The state refuses to grant them citizenship, considering them illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Reactionary opinion, for example among some extremist Buddhist monks, considers Burma to be a Buddhist country and other religions not welcome. The Army accuses the Royhingians of burning their own villages.
The State Cunsellor (position equivalent to Prime Minister or Head of Government), Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, in a recent statement talked about the attack two weeks after the crisis began. In this statement she avoided taking responsibility for the events, talking about “an iceberg of misinformation” and a problem that has years of heritage “even pre-colonial.” She has not gone there herself.
Aung San Suu Kyi was generally supported by the West and lauded as a human rights campaigner through years of struggle against the previous regime. As a result she was awarded the Nobel Peace Priize in 1991.
Now, it seems the West is critical of the State Counsellor’s response to the crisis in the UN and in the media.
DUBLIN PROTEST TODAY
Both women and men were active in the protest today, ages mainly from late teens to young adulthood. There were some children too, cheerful and assertive. Some of the protesters apparently had come up from Carlow.
At the conclusion of the protest, they served food outside the GPO to all.
This website was recommended by the organisers of the protest:http://www.thestateless.com/