By Dr.Anita Schug, The Stateless Rohingya (TSR Article)
Burma wrote the fate of its ethnic minority, the Rohingya already more than 50 years ago. Now, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s so called democratic government is simply completing the process what General Ne Win put into actions: EXTERMINATION of Rohingya from Burma.
Buddhist Rakhines and Rohingya Muslims coexisted harmoniously side by side according to historian Michael Charney before colonial times. Burmese military has a notorious history of using religion as a tool to divide and rule a nation of more than 135 ethnicity. Till today they haven’t failed.
Years ago, Rohingya population was roughly estimated to be 3 million. Over 50 years’ time, the Burmese military successfully launched several operations against this unarmed ethnic minority leading to a drastic decrease of Rohingya population to even less than one million as thousands lost their lives either by being slaughtered, by drowning in the sea or fell in the hands of the Human traffickers. Many Rohingya women are forced into prostitution or kept as sex slaves in Burmese military camps.
In November 2015 the NLD democratic party of Daw Aung san Suu Kyi took power. Rohingya, still put all their hopes in her, worshipping her as the mother of their own. Despite of our dire situation, Rohingya still tried to maintain optimism. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s government cannot be declared as a full democratic government since military has no place in democracy. Myanmar military has a share of 25 percent of the parliamentary seats, holding the entire interior Ministry including Defence Ministry. History shows that Burmese military has over decades looted the public and led wars where the country’s riches are located, namely in the Shan, in the Kachin and in the Rakhine areas. Beside partly giving up power to the by people elected NLD-government, they left behind the by-product of divide and rule policy against Rohingya community. To this date, deep sense of hate and pseudo-fear against the Rohingya Muslims shows its strong presence among the general public, paving a potential battle between Buddhist and Islamic extremist in the future.
Very little was known of the state sponsored prosecutions of the Rohingya till the so called communal violence in 2012. The Report on Genocide being committed against the Rohingya by Yale Law school and Fortify rights was published in October 2015. In 2012, major powers knew that something horrific is happening; genocidal killings and plans of such future killings. Leaked documents brought to Vice News show that UN purposely hushed the raising concerns from its officials on the ground. Instead of listening, these officers were instructed to rewrite history. UN prioritized its relationship with the government over the Rohingya community that it was responsible of protecting.
Even years before 2012, Human rights activists like Mr. Benedict Rogers prophesied that marginalisation of the Rohingya ethnic minority can be a fertile ground for extremism.
Lack of effective international response to the massacres of Rohingya in 2012 in Rakhine state again permits the Burmese military to slaughter the innocent Rohingya population without consequences. An example of this is the immediate aftermath of the 9th October 2016 attack on Burmese guard posts resulting is continued collective punishment on innocent Rohingya civilians, a crime against Humanity.
Extrajudicial killings of the unarmed Rohingya villagers, torching hundreds of villages, shooting toddlers along with their mothers and dumping Rohingya bodies in Mass graves are atrocities yet to be fully blown. In addition to already 140,000 Rohingya living in IDP camps including open prison, fifteen thousand Rohingya civilians are internally displaced in northern Maungdaw since 9 October 2016. Is this not alarming?
In a latest statement, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi says “she will not point to any who attacked the Burmese guard posts”. This can be a hint that she has no power over the Military or she is giving them time to execute the whole Rohingya community.
Fatigue due to ongoing war in Syria, Yemen, Darfur, lack of national interest on Rohingya, Islamophobia and big national interest of powerful countries in Burma’s promising economy are the contributing factors to the failure of recognising that another Rwanda is taking place in front of our very own eyes. Unconsciously, the international community provides Daw Aung San Suu Kyi due to her 15 years of House arrest, complete impunity towards her previous silences and now lack of immediate actions to stop Crime against Humanity; crime against the most persecuted Rohingya. But she cannot escape. Before election, she once said: I do not have authority to stop the atrocities against Rohingya. But now, she is the head of the Myanmar’s government. She is accountable to the world.
Still there is confusion who carried out the attacks on 9 October 2016 on Burmese border posts. But one point is very clear, now Rohingya will be forced to defend themselves if no immediate intervention and rescue plans for Rohingya are put into actions. Rohingya peaceful activists inside Myanmar and in exile have been knocking every door but very little has been heard by the international community. No matter how hard these activists will try to convenience now and in the future, the Rohingya people facing death will not listen to them anymore .And it will be justified if Rohingya rebel against Myanmar government. This time with the only justification; the RIGHT to DEFEND ONE’S LIFE. The world would have no right to label them as extremist or terrorist. It is simply a self-defence mechanism after not being rescued for more than 50 years from the hands of the still practising Apartheid regime. Anyway to suit the Burmese military agenda, Rohingya will be accused of being terrorists. Whichever direction the current scenario leads to, Rohingya have nothing to lose. Dr. Azeem Ibrahim, fellow at Global centre is very right; the trigger has been already pulled with unimaginable damage.
Rohingya, might not be of any interest to you or priority to your government but as a human Being you all cannot sit there and do nothing. Do not let another Rwanda happen. We all have a moral obligation to prevent Genocide.
Myanmar military is killing innocent Rohingya civilians in en masse, in Maungdaw and other parts of Arakan while we all are distracted with social media and emails and maybe thinking of only condemning!!