The Rohingyas of Myanmar - Does Anyone Care about their plight?
At the Milwaukee International Conference last year it was noted with great concern that what was going on in the Arakan State was nothing short of genocide. The current events in Myanmar again confirm our fear.
In a recently published article, journalist Dr. Ismail Salami of Press TV demonstrated how the 8-stages of genocide, first coined by Dr. Greg Stanton, are in play when it comes to the Rohingya people. He writes [extra phrases or sentences within the parentheses are mine]:
1) Classification: People are classified into "us" and "other", the first stage towards sociocide and colonization. In Myanmar, Muslims are seen as the 'other' and therefore inferior.
2) Symbolizations: People are given names or symbols in order that others may tell them apart. This stage is not, per se, dangerous unless it turns into dehumanization. [The Rohingya people are called 'Kala' people, or Chittagonians or Bengalis - to symbolize that they are outsiders in the Buddhist majority country of Burma.]
3) Dehumanization: In this stage, one group refuses to acknowledge the humanity of the other group. In other words, one group reduces another group to a subhuman. This is exactly what is happening to the Rohinyga Muslims in Myanmar. [After being classified as state-less in their ancestral land, the Rohingya people face daily dehumanization in the hands of every Buddhist - civilian or government officials. It, thus, sets the stage for crimes against them which are ignored by the government, and considered as legitimate violence to weed them out.]
4) Organization: Genocide is backed up by the government or government-related bodies. A genocidal act is carried out through an intermediary such as terrorist groups or punks in order that the government can exonerate itself from any blame whatsoever. In Myanmar, the government has frequently repeated that the carnage is conducted by mobs. [As has been documented repeatedly, the mobs not only enjoyed the clear support from the Thein Sein Government and the local municipal or township authorities in such pogroms against Muslims they were seen actively participating in such crimes against humanity.]
5) Polarization: Hate groups forbid some of the very fundamental rights of the browbeaten group. For instance, in Myanmar, Rohinyga couples should secure permission to marry. If they marry unofficially, they may be arrested and incarcerated. Muslim men ought to shave their beard so that they may be given permission for marriage. They are not allowed to build new mosques or seminaries nor are they allowed to renovate the old mosques.
6) Preparation: In this stage, the victim groups are identified and made to wear badges which distinguish them from others. Further to that, they are selected for the death row or marked for death. The selection may be random or systematic. For instance, in March 2013, over 40 houses and a mosque were burned and at least 32 people were killed in Myanmar. [The Buddhist terrorist monk Wirathu and his band of hard core racist and bigot monks and supporters have been known to visit a targeted Muslim site days before the planned day of attack. Then they set up meetings with local Buddhists and community leaders where the mob is fed disinformation and hateful messages saying that if the Rohingya and other Muslims are not eliminated the Buddhists would disappear. Thus, the mobs are given the reasons for which they must attack first. The criminal program is meticulously planned and followed with full cooperation of local leaders and government officials.]
7) Extermination: In this stage, the extermination of the downtrodden group starts at the hand of the hate group. The term signifies that the hate group who functions like a killing machine refuses to believe that the people they are killing are indeed human beings with human feelings and worthy of living in this world. [The Rohingya people have been victims of repeated extermination campaigns since at least the 1940s when the Japanese Army moved into the vacated British-occupied territories, let alone the great massacre of 1784 in which many Rohingyas were slaughtered, and others taken as slaves by Buddhist fanatic king Bodawpaya of Burma.]
8) Denial: It is the last stage and a routine with any genocide. In the recent attack and mutilation of women and children, the government denied that a Buddhist mob rampaged through a town and mutilated Muslim women and children while witnesses and a rights group said more than a dozen people may have been killed, and that hundreds have fled their homes.
"We have had no information about killings," Deputy Information Minister Ye Htut told reporters on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Nations Foreign Ministers' meeting in Myanmar's ancient city of Bagan. [End quote.]
The Burma Task, UK, has lately noted that "Pipe bomb [was] found outside Muslim orphanage in Shan State". It noted: "A pipe bomb was found outside a Muslim orphanage in Taunggyi, Shan State, on 25 December, according to Mizzima News. The pipe bomb was discovered inside a plastic bag and military officials carried out a controlled detonation. Three other pipe bombs were discovered in a gutter in Taunggyi earlier in December."
This once again shows that the genocidal campaign in Myanmar is an all-encompassing one with the objective of eliminating the entire Muslim population in this Buddhist majority country.
And yet, the powerful western nations refuse to call a spade a spade and do the needful to stop this genocide of the Rohingya people. Their attitude reminds me of the statement made by various speakers in the Milwaukee conference that the West has been hypocritical in such contentious issues; its self-interest has always taken precedence over its morality. Burma is looked upon as a far distant place that is well into the zone of influence of China, and probably India, too, and the west has nothing at stake, even if they were to ignore the problem.
With all the powers the western powers have in the UN, it has, therefore, become a difficult task for the rest of us who care to find noble and fair solutions to such humanitarian crises of our time. How long should the Rohingya and other vulnerable people wait? Will they have to wait until it is too late - they are all exterminated in a calculated way?
Dr Habib Siddiqui has authored 10 books. His latest book - Devotional Stories - is now available from A.S. Noordeen, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Topics: Buddhism, Burma