Is Suu Kyi a moral voice?
During her house arrest, she lived in an exclusive personal world of her own. Her political colleagues who were incarcerated at that time also started living in their own universes. But those who were free inhabited their own universe too. But in contrast to those in prison, these fortunate free people were part of the real world. Now that Myanmar is taking small steps and transforming itself into a democracy, she appreciated the efforts of the international community that had helped people like her to join the real world. She said that “it is up to our country now to respond the right way.”
Suu Kyi described the recent reforms in Myanmar as a positive sign. But she warned that the world must not be excessively optimistic about how rapidly Myanmar is changing. She said: “Fires of suffering and strife are raging around the world. In my own country, hostilities have not ceased in the north. To the west (meaning Rakhine state) communal violence resulting in arson and murder were taking place just several days before I started out on the journey that has brought me here today.”
We in Bangladesh are happy to note that a strong moral voice has spoken out loudly against the violence and hostility that tears Myanmar apart. She has acknowledged that the recent conflict in the west of her country (in the Rakhine state) between Buddhists and the Muslims Rohingyas is a communal one, which needs to be addressed swiftly.
We all know that morality has strong links with politics. If morality is answer to the question “how ought we to live” at an individual level, politics can be seen as addressing the same question at the social level. Thus, a nation like Myanmar, with multiplicity of races and religions, can survive and prosper when it is able to embrace one common morality, regardless of its content. Political morality is also relevant when national governments interact internationally. But this depends much on the support such morality receives from the host population.
Noam Chomsky, a contemporary intellectual, says that “we must adopt the principle of universality: if an action is wrong for others, it is also wrong for us.” Everyone must rise to the minimal moral level of applying to themselves the standards they apply to others. One of the elementary moral principles therefore is that of universality, that is, if something is right for me, it is also right for you: if it is wrong for you, it is also wrong for me. So any moral code worth looking at must have that at its core.
The people of Myanmar and Bangladesh, and for the various religions and groups that inhabit our two countries, must without hesitation base our community relations on such a universal moral code. Courtesy - Star Daily. The writer is a former Ambassador and a regular commentator on contemporary issues.