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    Time to help

    Source Oman Tribune:

    February 10, 2013 

    The sufferings of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar cannot be ignored any more by the international community. That their situation is serious is evident from the revelation by the Thai authorities that 6,000 Rohingyas have arrived in Thailand since October when violence against them was unleashed in Rakhine state. Thousands of others are languishing in neighbouring Bangladesh. Hundreds of others reportedly have plans to flee Myanmar and the persecution there. The million-dollar question is, what is the international community doing to help the Rohingyas ? Not too long ago, the Americans were vocal about the lack of democracy and the violation of human rights in Myanmar. Why are they silent now?

    This is not the first time that the Rohingyas are being persecuted. In the mid-1990, the Myanmar government was involved in a systematic assault on the rights of these people and hundreds of thousands sought refuge in Bangladesh. The subsequent uproar in the international community, especially among Muslims, forced the Myanmar government to reassess its approach to the Rohingyas. Today, more than a decade later, the past is being repeated. And the clamour for justice for these hapless people isn’t a fraction of the support and sympathy they received back in the mid-1990s. Most countries in the West are silent. The United States, the greatest defender of human rights, is also quiet. And its leaders and officials suddenly seem to have lost the desire to ensure the rights of the persecuted around the world. India, the world’s largest democracy, has nothing to stay at all. What about Aung Saan Suu Kyi who fought for decades for the rights of her people and suffered for years in detention?  The reason for this deafening silence is simple and straight. The eyes of all are focused on Myanmar’s immense natural resources that have yet to be fully exploited. Damn human rights and freedom, natural resources are more important at this moment. That may have become the new credo of the United States. And that’s why then US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama made  unprecedented and hasty trips to Myanmar. Side by side, a number of curbs on that nation were removed without much deep thought. The Europeans too have mindlessly emulated the Americans to some extent. 

    It’s not only the Rohingyas who are suffering. The Kachins also are the targets of the Myanmar military. A truce between the government and the Kachins enforced some weeks ago was violated soon afterwards. It’s high time the world, especially the United States, kept aside all selfish interests and acted to bring freedom for these persecuted people. The lead must be taken by President Barack Obama with new Secretary of State John Kerry leading the charge. Otherwise, in the weeks and months ahead, the situation will become worse for the Rohingyas.