Mission of wiping Rohingya out of history

Nilratan Halder | Published: March 01, 2018 21:46:29


This combination of two satellite images provided by DigitalGlobe, Dec. 2, 2017, left; and Feb. 19, 2018, right; displaying the village of Thit Tone Nar Gwa Son, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Maungdaw, Rakhine state, Myanmar. - AP Photo

That Myanmar is on a morbid mission to wipe out the Rohingya people not only from Rakhine but also from history is clear enough. Its latest sinister drive to bulldoze the burnt down Rohingya homes aimed at removing any sign of clusters of homes in Rakhine villages speaks volumes for this. What does the Naypyidaw rulers want to achieve by this? Surely, those committing crimes against humanity have dark recesses in their hearts that are guided by their own flawed logic. When the entire world knows that the Myanmar administration under the influence of military generals is carrying on an ethnic cleansing, it wants to prove otherwise. No, it did not claim it was not driving the Rohingya out of Myanmar soil. Rather, it claimed that those were illegal settlers in Rakhine state and therefore had to be driven out. In doing so, the Myanmar security forces and local Budhhist marauders resorted to killing, looting, raping, arson and throwing babies into flames of burning houses.

In savagery, the pogrom does indeed compare with Hitler's extermination of the Jews, Pakistan army's genocide in Bangladesh in 1971 and the Serbian drive of ethnic cleansing against minority Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The three women Nobel laureates who have just concluded their visit to the camps in Cox's Bazar were so moved by the plight of the refugees that they actually broke down. The rape victims at the camps were in tears, so were the Nobel laureates. It is the depth of the tragedy the Rohingya women suffered that has moved Shirin Ebadi, Mairead Maguire and Tawakkol Karman -the three visiting Nobel laureates -so much. They have vowed to take the campaign to the United Nations for bringing the perpetrators to International Criminal Court. As members of Nobel Women's Initiative, they, like defenders of human rights everywhere, have censured Aung San Suu Kyi for her silence. A few international organisations have revoked the honour or reward bestowed on her during her struggle for democracy against the military rulers in Myanmar.

Any plea that she has no responsibility in the mass killing of the Rahingya, rape of their women, arson and fleeing of about a million of people to Bangladesh is simply unacceptable. Her party won the election and formed the government. Although, Suu Kyi is officially not the head of the government, she is the de facto head of the government. She may be anything but not a lame duck. Now her party is in power, she, herself a Nobel laureate, is no longer the indomitable spirit that she was when in exile or under house arrest. It would be foolish to think she does not know what is going on in Rakhine state and if she cannot rise up against the military in protest and abdicate her position, she has indeed fossilised. Politics has got the better of the revolutionary she once was. Not only should her Nobel Peace Prize be revoked but also she must be made to face trial for being a party to the crime.

Evidently, the pogrom looks like the obvious result of a long-hatched conspiracy. Accepted that the generals have drawn the blueprint of ethnic cleansing and they targeted the decisive offensive against the Rohingya when a political party under Suu Kyi took over. But should the civilian government so meekly capitulate to the military in a move that is going to be one of the worst pogroms in human history? The military may be powerful but civilian leaders must have moral courage and responsibility to uphold democratic values and human rights.

It is painful to believe that such a theatre of genocide can be opened anywhere in the world in the new millennia when virtually no crime can be hidden from public view. But Myanmar has been defying the world and would not even allow foreign media to the Rakhine state. How outrageous! Understandably, the rulers and their cohorts may have lost their sense but how come that they have won over two of the veto power holders of the UN Security Council? This is simply mind-boggling. Geopolitics is playing a most abject and negative role in this case. Bangladesh in 1971 was fortunate enough to have enjoyed support from the world community and also mastered ardent support from a superpower enough to neutralise threats from another. No one, it seemed, was going to take up the case of the Rohingya to the world forum with passion and a sense of urgency. The three women Nobel laureates have made it a point to do so.

The attempt to erase evidence of crimes from the Rakhine soil is a proof that the perpetrators are morally weak and behaving like fugitive criminals. If the international community exerts as heavy a pressure as is needed to knock them down, the perpetrators will have no way but to give in. Bangladesh has been an unwilling host to the refugees on consideration of their misery and tragedy. But the world now needs to play a more active role in order to force the Myanmar government to see reasons and take back its citizens. The powers backing it are the ones who can play a pro-active role in this regard in order to convince it that the crime has surpassed all limits. It can make some amend by creating a proper environment for the Rohingya return.  

nilratanhalder2000@yahoo.com

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