After writing about the Rohingya cartoon, I decided to continue my criticism of Aung Zaw with another post. This time I went after something I knew he was even more sensitive about than his crude racism — his image as a selfless crusader for press freedom and democracy in Burma.
This was the post that finally got him to unfriend me, which he didn’t do until then because he wanted to monitor my online communication with others at the office who I was still in contact with. (I also occasionally used FB Messenger to contact him directly, although he ignored my attempts to remind him of why I wanted him to apologize to Eid.) I also received an email from my boss the following day, telling me to remove the post because he didn’t want to have trouble with Aung Zaw (who I presume informed him about it). Instead, I simply hid it from my timeline. I also started monitoring Aung Zaw’s Facebook posts (most of which were public), although I didn’t resume criticizing him until a year later, after I had quit my job and Eid had passed away.
Aung Zaw demonstrating his mastery of false modesty, saying his “commitment and sacrifice are nothing compared to those who spent years in prison”. He claims that the only thing that has kept him going all these years is the thought of his “heroes” behind bars. No mention of the big house in Chiang Mai or the generous salary just for showing up to work two or three times a week to offer useless editorial guidance (or to drink wine from the bar fridge in his office).
They say you shouldn’t compare apples and oranges, but this is more like comparing horses and unicorns — while many activists have made real sacrifices, Aung Zaw’s are mostly imaginary.
Not as sickening as yesterday’s blatantly racist cartoon, but it really makes you feel sorry for the people of Burma, without whose suffering Aung Zaw would probably have to get a real job.
I know you think it’s your job to tell others to do some soul-searching, Aung Zaw, but I think it’s time you finally took your own advice.