søndag 29. desember 2019


Having spent a quarter of my life as a political prisoner, I have witnessed the best and the worst of humanity. Last week, at the genocide hearings at the International Court of Justice at the Hague, I felt both of those emotions. Rohingya around the world are holding prayer vigils for justice, peace and unity in a free country. But my former hero does not stand with us any longer.

I can still picture my grandmother who only spoke her ethnic language, Rohingya, praying for Aung San Suu Kyi and for her to help deliver us democracy. I remember as a six years old girl, my father showing me secret photos of Aung San Suu Kyi he kept hidden, at great personal risk, between the pages of his book and explaining how inspiring she was. She was my idol. Last week I sat watching her in the International Court of Justice in The Hague as she turned her back on my people and defended and denied our genocide.

My father was a political ally of hers, one of the opposition leaders, bound together by their common hope for democracy in Myanmar and an end to the military dictatorship that kept her under house arrest and him in prison for his political activity. I was imprisoned in Myanmar's most notorious prison for seven years merely for being his daughter when I was 18 years old.

Our freedom came with Aung San Suu Kyi's, as the military regime opened to democratic reforms that saw an amnesty of political prisoners. We held great hope that we would be free from discrimination and oppression. However, things had turned very tragically different for the Rohingya. We became outsiders in our own home and targeted to be killed, raped, our houses and villages destroyed along with our dignity.

But in court Aung San Suu Kyi could not even utter our name—Rohingya—when denying our atrocities and even our existence. A few days earlier, at the UN's highest court, she defended the crimes the Myanmar military committed against us.