Critics have demanded that Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s name should be cut from one of the most popular children’s books of 2017, a collection of stories about female role models inspiring girls and challenge the status quo, reports IANS.
When “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” was written last year, Suu Kyi was deemed a worthy subject: Winner of the Nobel peace prize and epitome of courage in the face of oppression.
But widespread criticism over her response to violence against the Rohingya Muslims, described by the UN as “ethnic cleansing”, has triggered calls for her to be taken out of future editions.
In response, the authors, Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo said, “We’re monitoring the situation closely and we don’t exclude the idea of removing her from future reprints.”
The book devotes two pages to each of its role models including Amelia Earhart, Marie Curie, Hillary Clinton, Serena Williams.
It quotes Suu Kyi as saying, “Since we live in this world, we have to do our best for this world.”
It charts her story from her protests against the junta through 21 years of house arrest to her release and leadership.
On the book’s Facebook page, a critic wrote: “As much as 99 per cent of book is inspiring, I found it absolutely disgusting that you have included someone suspected of genocide in the book... Suu Kyi has no place between those women. Someone who does nothing and perhaps is directly involved in massacres, rapes, burning of kids alive... I am speechless she is in the book.”
Another parent said, “I bought this book for my three-year-old daughter as an antidote to the tyranny of ‘pink princess publishing’. It is filled with inspiring female role models who don’t rely on a prince to sort their lives out. I was dismayed to see this page effectively canonising Suu Kyi. I hope the publishers issue another edition...”
Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi, who has raised concerns in parliament about the Rohingya crisis, said, “I often wonder how it can be possible to go from being one of the most admired and respected civil rights champions, a symbol of courage, patience and principle, to someone who shows such lack of compassion.”
Suu Kyi, who has won more than 120 international honours, including the Nobel prize, was last week stripped of her Freedom of the City of Dublin award and earlier lost her Freedom of Oxford accolade, the Guardian reported.
The Dublin decision came after musician and activist Bob Geldof returned his own Freedom of the City in protest. St Hugh’s College Oxford, where Suu Kyi studied, has taken down her portrait.
It is estimated that 650,000 Rohingya Muslims have been forced to flee to Bangladesh since the crackdown by Myanmar’s security forces began.