Irish rockers U2 have called on Burma’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi to fight harder against serious violence inflicted by the nation’s own security forces.
The musicians, led by singer Bono, posted a lengthy plea aimed at the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, after saying they had tried several times to reach out to her directly.
They claimed that her failure to challenge the targeting of thousands of Rohingya Muslims in Burma, also known as Myanmar, was “starting to look a lot like assent”.
The statement, shared on the band’s website, read: “For these atrocities against the Rohingya people to be happening on her watch blows our minds and breaks our hearts.
“On behalf of our audience who campaigned so hard for her, we reached out several times to speak to Aung San Suu Kyi directly about the crisis in her country and the inhumanity being directed at the Rohingya people.
“We expected to speak to her this week, but it appears this call will now not happen.
“So we say to you now what we would have said to her: the violence and terror being visited on the Rohingya people are appalling atrocities and must stop. Aung San Suu Kyi’s silence is starting to look a lot like assent.
“As Martin Luther King said: ‘The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people’. The time has long passed for her to stand up and speak out.”
But it also hit out at the country’s commander general in chief of defence services, Min Aung Hlaing, and continued: “The complexity of the situation in Myanmar she inherited from her father did not sway her to compromise her ideals back in 1998, nor should it now.
“We also believe we can’t direct our anger solely in her direction. That plays right into the hands of those who are carrying out the violence.
“While this in no way excuses her silence, Aung San Suu Kyi has no control, constitutional or otherwise, over (Hlaing’s) actions, and it is he who has authorised and overseen the terrorization of the Rohingya people under the guise of protecting Myanmar from terrorism. Condemning her and ignoring him is a mistake.”
Aung San Suu Kyi has come under fire from organisations around the world for her refusal to condemn the actions of security forces, who have been clashing with insurgents in Rakhine.
U2 signed off by thanking fans who supported its historical campaign for the politician’s release from previous imprisonment and urged them to push for “peace and democracy in Myanmar” by supporting Amnesty International’s campaign to end “ethnic cleansing”.