By Dr. Abid Bahar
Imagine, if the Hitler of Germany remained alive, his persecution of Jews, Catholics and the Gypsies must have continued and the holocaust must have continued to systematically get rid of his enemies. It was a good for humanity that he committed suicide in fear of facing a nasty trial. While we have the German Hitler dead, there was Russia’s Stalin who lived with respect and killed millions. Here we are talking about General Ne Win, the Hitler of Burma, who lived with respect and left behind a tradition of military rulers who devotedly follow Ne Win’s policy of racist provocation and the principle of divide and rule to control his people.
Like bigot leaders, Ne Win was not fighting against any external enemy, his enemies were his countrymen, they were the non Burman ethnic minorities. The worst suffers of his oppressive rule were the non Buddhist and racially different people of Burma.
Ne Win was the champion of committing genocide against the Karen Christin, and the Rohingya Muslim. The worst sufferers in his ultra nationalist campaign had been the Rohingya who are a small minority live in the Arakan state. Ne Win began the anti Rohingya propaganda that Rohingya are Bangladeshis illegally living in Burma. But contemporary research proved otherwise. Rohingya have been living in Arakan from the 7th century.
After the disintegration of Pakistan, finding Bangladesh, a newly emerged state, Ne Win’s the military regime became active to get rid of the Rohingya from Burma.
In 1978, Burmese government pushed out over 200,000 Rohingya people from Arakan to Bangladesh. Upon verification by the international organizations, they found the Rohingya carrying NRC papers. Finding no excuse, the government accepted them back to Burma. Then in 1982, Ne Win government officially declared the Rohingya people as the Non citizens of Burma. Following this, in 1992-93 it pushed out over 300,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh, this time, government made sure that nobody leaves Burma with any official papers.
From the total 300,0000 Rohingya population in Arakan, as of now there are only about 800,00 left in Arakan.To escape from oppressive regime, the Rohingya has been leaving Arakan for Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, the Middle East, Malaysia, Japan and to European and North American countries. Those who still live in Arakan continue to face restriction in movement from one village to another, they are restricted of having children and owning landed property.
After all these sufferings, in 2012 came the worst chapter in the Rohingya history; vigilantes assisted by the government security forces attacked Rohingya villages and burned down their houses, killing the young. Strangely though, instead of catching the culprits that committing the crimes, the government cleared the rabbles from the destroyed houses and took the Rohingya to shelter camps. Instead of resettling the Rohingya on their land, the racist government asked the international community to resettle them in third countries.
These are not naive signs, but are clear indications of government’s racist policies against a racial minority. It seems that while Hitler of Germany was dead with his ideas discontinued, Ne Win of Burma however died honorably, and his racist legacy that produced new generation Hitlers in Burma, in the army, among monks and politicians perpetuated.
Then came 2013, more attacks on the Rohingya continued. The latest news that the racist Rakhine militants in cooperation with the police set fire on the the thachet quarters of the Rohingya shelters.
Nodoubt, Burma seem to live in the past. While the attacked continues by the powerful state machinery, as citizens of the world does the Rohingya stateless people deserve any serious initiative from the humanity to stop the terror from the long presence and growth of the local tyrants like Aye Maung, Aye Chan, Thein Sein and many others alike many of whom have been wrongly honored as being the champion of democracy? By the way, in these uncivilized behavior by the military, where is Suu Kui, who is dreaming about becoming the President of Burma? Where is the humanity to stop the Burmese Hitler from committing more horrors in Burma?
(Abid Bahar, author of “Burma’s Missing Dots,” teaches in Canada)