By Arshid Aziz
Sinc 1937, the Rohingya Muslim ethnic minority are facing the worst kind of repression by the hands of Myanmar Buddhist majority. They contribute only 7% of total population of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). It is very difficult to say their total percentage because so far because the Myanmar government is reluctant to include them in a population census. In 1982 under the “citizenship law” the Myanmar government has denied their citizenship and claims that they are the migrants and alien and are living illegally but the fact of the matter is they have been lived there since the 11th century. The Myanmar Army has conducted 14 operations so far to kill the Rohingya Muslims.
The Rohingya have been persecuted for decades in Myanmar but of late, a new and fresh military terror operation have been kicked off on 25th August and is still continuing. It is seen as a major escalation because of the large scale of destruction; thousands of Muslims have been massacred and have been burnt alive. Little kids are being stabbed, women are being raped, homes, crops, food stores are being destroyed not only this the so called followers of Buddha have been attacking mosques, burning homes, raping and torturing Muslim men, women and children. Human rights watch, the New York based watchdog, has documented 17 sites where satellite imagery showed extensive fire damage, also showed one village where 700 buildings had been burnt. It breaks all records of inhumanity said a member of the Border Guard Bangladesh named Anamul, stationed at the Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp. I have never seen anything like this (nytimes.com).
Although, it is the worst kind of terror meted out on Rohigyas yet Myanmar government is facing limited criticism from certain factions of the world. The Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Myanmar government of genocide against the Rohingyas. Those who close their eyes to this genocide perpetuated under the cover of democracy are its collaborators asserted Erdogan. Pakistan and Iran have also shown their concern regarding the killing of Rohingyas. According to the state run Anadolu news agency, the Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu told Bangladesh government to open its doors, adding that , “Turkey would bear all the expenditure associated with allowing in Rohingyas”.
The UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, expressed concern that many thousands of people are increasingly at risk of grave violations of their human rights (the guardian.com). But, still the world especially Muslim countries have turned their blind eye and are in deep slumber. The so called champions of Democracy and the preachers of humanity have lost their conscience and have proved morally bankrupt. The UN has lost its credibility; beyond giving certain statements it can’t control the crisis. Its Secretary General, Antonio Gutierrez, rather to crack the nut is sitting on the fence and is watching how so called humans are destroying humans.
It is most pathetic that, on the one hand, our own people are not allowing them to enter in Bangladesh. On the other hand, the barbaric political vendetta and jingoistic nature of Myanmar military and civilians is at its apex. Tragedy is that UN aid agencies continue to be blocked from delivering food, water and medicine to hapless Rohingyas. According to the Guardian newspaper about 20,000 people are stranded in the no man’s land between the two countries, having been denied entry by Bangladesh border guards.
History has witnessed, time and again , such barbaric and butcherly nature of Buddhists of Myanmar. Thousands of Muslims have been killed, raped and burnt alive and even, media and independent observers have been denied access to Rakhine and the figures cited by the government sources are not authentic also are impossible to verify. On Tuesday, the UN announced that the number of people to have reached Bangladesh in recent days was estimated to be 123,600. Up to 15,000 people are expected to cross the Naf River into Bangladesh each day this week. But, when we probe deeper about at the grass roots, the situation is quite complex and worrisome.
The question arises why Buddhists are killing Muslims in Myanmar? Why monks of Buddhism are involved in delivering hate speech and thus starting religious riots? If Rohingya Muslims are in small minority and are not any threat to Buddhists’ existence also, and are very poor and peaceable then why they are being slaughtered like animals? The basic principal of Buddha’s teaching is about love, peace and nonviolence. He is of the view;
“Hatred does not cease by hatred at any time: hatred ceases by love, this is an eternal rule.” If this is the teaching of Lord Buddha why then his followers have created this hatred atmosphere and are persecuting Muslims in Myanmar? If Muslims would have been committed such grave crimes against the humanity the whole world would have beaten the chest and then statements are being issued against Islam and prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Of late, the world is not raising the finger against the Buddhism. Why this double standard? Why this issue has remained hidden from the eyes of world? If Arakhine is the most pathetic part of the world, why it has not so far succeeded to get the attention of international community?
There are different dimensions regarding the Rohingyas ; these are as varied as the economy, geo politics or for that matter “Islamo-phobia. International community has its own geo political interests.
To sum up, the need of the hour is that the Muslim world has to awake from the deep slumber and has to stand by Rohingya Muslims. If not all the Muslim countries ,at least, Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran have to take institutive and thus, save the Rohingya Muslims. At this crucial time Muslim countries have to bury the hatchet and behave as one “Ummah”. These countries can internationalize this issue, mobile people and start s social media campaign, raise funds and build pressure on Myanmar government to stop this terrorism. They should aid Bangladesh financially and take her government into confidence that they will bear all the expenditure associated with Rohingya Muslims but Bangladesh should allow them to enter. If at this juncture our Muslim countries will not be unite to each other then time is not so far that all the Muslim countries will bear the brunt and wrath of all mighty Allah.
—The author is doing a PG in English Literature from Kashmir University. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org