THE QUESTION that needs to be asked of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi is: Are you a racist? The same question should also be asked of Burma's President, Thein Sein.
This is not an easy question, but it has to be asked. The reason? The survival of the Rohingya people of Burma rides on the answers.
The pair of leaders have been busy for months now, touring the world, enjoying the praise heaped on them for their roles in opening the door in Burma - also known as Myanmar - to a more democratic form of government.
Nobody has asked either of them the ''R'' question.
Aung San Suu Kyi has been positioning herself for a bid that could see her become Burma's next president. It's a long shot. Her chances disappear entirely if she takes a stand for an oppressed minority - the Rohingya.
The only tolerance ''open'' Burma has so far proved to have in abundance is tolerance of racism and hatred.
Instead of becoming more generous and accepting of different races and religions, the Burmese and their government appear to be simply more open in their brutal violence.
Accounts by Rohingya we have encountered recently in Thailand support reports of nightmarish treatment in Rakhine state that drives them - men, women and children - to risk their lives at sea.
The Burma they leave is changing, but no effort has been made so far to provide an antidote to decades of toxic propaganda encouraged by the generals who once ruled Burma.
Hatred was what the generals did, and they did it well. ''Open'' Burma has simply allowed the racists and bigots to have their say without fear of consequences, leading to the torching of villages and the deaths of scores of innocent people.
Perhaps the most convincing evidence that Burma's deeply ingrained racism needs to be addressed remains a letter written in 2009 to Hong Kong diplomats by then Consul General Ye Myint Aung, soon after the secret ''pushbacks'' of Rohingya boats from Thailand were exposed.
He did not mince words. The Rohingya, he said, were ''ugly as ogres.''
In a letter to all heads of foreign missions in Hong Kong and local newspapers, he wrote: ''In reality, Rohingya are neither 'Myanmar people' nor Myanmar's ethnic group.
''You will see in the photos that their complexion is 'dark brown,''' he added, noting that the complexion of Myanmese is ''fair and soft, good-looking as well.''
He noted that his own complexion is a ''typical genuine one'' of the Myanmese ''gentleman'' and ''you will accept how handsome your colleague Mr Ye is.''
''It is quite different from what you have seen and read in the papers. (They are as ugly as ogres),'' Ye Myint Aung wrote.
In the intervening years, all that has changed is that international governments have openly welcomed the economic opportunity that Burma presents while ignoring the bigotry and hate.
Somewhere, sometime soon, as Aung San Suu Kyi and Thein Sein sell the new ''open'' Burma to the world, the question has to be asked: Are you racists?