The worst is already happening in Rakhine state, Myanmar, with hundreds of Rohingya Muslims being murdered, mutilated and decimated. Unverified accounts have emerged of horrors, including children being thrown into burning homes by the Myanmar military, which is acting with total impunity.
In its November 14, 2016 issue the Bangkok Post reports, “Myanmar’s Rakhine state was hit by fresh waves of violence over the weekend with more than 30 ‘insurgents’ killed during two days of fighting, the military said, as proof emerged of atrocities against villagers.” Another news outlet, Myanmar Observer has reported that Myanmar Army has rained rockets on Rohingya houses in Rakhine state killing scores, burning houses to ashes. When people started fleeing from their burning houses they were shot at, killing men, women and children.
This escalation of violence has been going on for weeks now, with the Rohingya diaspora and human rights advocates appealing for intervention and help through social media. Yet the world is silent. There has not been a whimper from the World in general and West in particular, for they are shackled by naked opportunism. The United Nations has not said very much, and the world superpowers are dismissive. No one believes that the butchering of Rohingya by the military is a worthy enough cause to take up.
It’s even more appalling that such brutality is happening under the leadership of the National League for Democracy (NLD) government, led by Aung San Suu Kyi. Once considered as an icon of democracy, Ms SuuKyi has simply disappeared, much to the disappointment of allies who once considered her worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize that she won while under house arrest in 1991.
Aung San SuuKyi is also indifferent to this protracted tragedy in Myanmar mainly because she is but a captive of both dead consciousness and naked opportunism for she fears that any show of favour to Myanmar Muslims could easily risk her own position of comfort and glory that she currently enjoys and at the same time many also argue that she also supports military’s policy of disenfranchisement of Muslims in general and Rohingyas in particular.
Human rights activists, civil society representatives, and even political leaders from neighboring countries have lost faith in her, and even more so when she turned a blind eye to the sacking of Myanmar Times journalist Fiona McGregor, who was fired after she reported that security forces had raped Rohingya women. Ms Suu Kyi has not ordered an exhaustive and comprehensive probe into the allegations.
Aung San SuuKyi is also indifferent to this protracted tragedy in Myanmar mainly because she is but a captive of both dead consciousness and naked opportunism for she fears that any show of favour to Myanmar Muslims could easily risk her own position of comfort and glory that she currently enjoys.
Instead, the military and police have upped attacks against Rohingya, including air strikes last weekend. Access to areas which are under siege by security forces has been denied for diplomats, journalists and humanitarian aid workers, meaning there is no way for independent observers to verify the government’s claims.
The world catches glimpses of the horror inflicted on Rohingya men, women and children through the photos and short videos captured by people on the ground. But stakeholders, regional bodies such as ASEAN, and governments, including India, have not acted to stop the targeted killings and sexual assaults on this group of helpless people.
This is unconscionable. This is about a group of men in uniform, without public objection from the NLD government, unleashing violence against the Rohingya seemingly without regard for civilian life. And every one of us will be complicit in these crimes, which are being carried out with impunity, if we remain silent.
ASEAN, government leaders, the United Nations, and international organisations must therefore come together to exert pressure on Myanmar to stop these atrocities. This humanitarian crisis could lead to another exodus of the Rohingya to neighboring countries through a perilous sea journey. This would mean another round of abuse, victimization, and horror at the hands of traffickers. It would mean Rohingya children being forcefully married off to traffickers to settle money owed by their parents for the boat rides.
The world body of Muslims, the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) simply has neither the gall nor the moral standing to do much about the issue either for its members are too busy killing and demonizing each other.
In a situation where institutions and individuals that matter have failed the Myanmar’s Muslims, the only hope is conscientious people of the world who are not in millions but in billions that have the power to give voice to the oppressed. They, therefore, must unite and protest in the strongest of terms, internationally and within their own countries through their political representatives, MP’s/MLA’s , senators, congressmen, parliamentarians whoever and get their governments to raise the issue of Myanmar’s Muslim persecution with Myanmar government.