Weekly Letter to the President
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ofthisandthat.org. All rights
INAUGURATION, January 20, 2009
Drunk in its stale air
For two hundred years.
Fettered in mind and body,
The soul, the safe escape
To let me breathe the cries
Of my heart singing
Tears of mel-an-choly.
The tears flow free today
Washing the stains of blood
And sweat in brotherhood.
Raise the curtain then an'
Let the world look in
On this promised land --
We breathe free today.... almost.
--- Arshad M. Khan
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.
--- Native American proverb
December 13, 2019
Mr. President: Her name means beautiful, and she is despite her tragic life. Hasina
recalls the day when the Myanmar army set fire to her village and killed the
inhabitants, including 10 members of her family, as she watched. She is appearing as
a witness at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the tranquil capital of the
The Hague has hosted the ICJ for all the years of its existence. The Court's mandate
sets it apart for it hears disputes between countries; hence the Rohingya case
brought by Gambia against Myanmar. The Court has moral authority and prestige
but no means to implement its rulings.
Sitting impassively, the queen of composure, although as tarnished as her Nobel
Peace Prize, Aung San Suu Kyi listens as the Gambian prosecutor, Justice Minister
Abubacarr Tambadou recites the litany of horrors that forced three-quarters of a
million Rohingya to give up their land, crops and livestock and flee for their lives. Now
they endure the difficulties and misery of refugee camps.
To believe Suu Kyi's version, one would have to believe a mass hysteria of
self-immolation, and disregard the film clips and the trail of news reports on the
events of the time. Yet there she sits, flowers in her carefully combed, dyed hair,
always dressed immaculately, a figure remote from the gruesome reality addressed to
the court. She says the Court would subvert Myanmar's own justice system, which
should be left to deal with the problem.
Exactly how is unclear when the UN fact-finding mission implicated the six top
Myanmar generals in the genocide. This report blamed Aung San Suu Kyi, citing her
directly for she "contributed to the commission of atrocity crimes" by failing to use her
"moral authority," by allowing hate speech to foment hatred and by failing to protect
the minorities from what the UN labels, crimes against humanity.
The Independent International Fact-Finding Mission as the UN panel was known was
chaired by Marzaki Darusman, who called the findings, "grim," said "establishing facts
is the first stepping stone towards change."
The facts are what Myanmar's leadership refuses to acknowledge publicly. "A thief
never admits he is a thief," says Mohammed Mohibullah, who is chairman of the
Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights.
Another refugee, Nur Kamal, also rejects Suu Kyi's testimony. "The military cordoned
off people and killed them by opening fire, setting them ablaze. Isn't that genocide."
The trial continues.
Meanwhile, another Nobel Peace Laureate and leader, Barack Obama, escalated the
war in Afghanistan. The Afghanistan Papers now reveal it was a fraud for there was
indisputable evidence early on that the war was unwinnable. Men were wounded and
killed for no purpose other that political.
The war was passed on to Donald Trump, who boasts of complete victory if the
Taliban do not sit down and negotiate. A shallow boast: He knows it, the Taliban
knows it ... and now even the public knows it. So, what's the point? Perhaps Trump's
supporters do not know it.