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Helpless Rohingya Muslims


Rohingya Muslims, Courtesy: Asian Correspondent

Approximately 800,000 Muslims live in Burma, forming 4% of the Burma’s total population. Apart from these official estimates, the Muslim population in Burma is double according to neutral sources. These Muslims are commonly known as “Rohingya Muslims” and have never been given the legitimate citizenship of Burma despite living there from the 8th century. They are subject to racial discrimination as “Bengalis”, and, under a 1982 law, are denied citizenship. For decades, they have been suppressed by restricting their freedom to travel, practise their religion, or work as teachers or doctors. They need special permission to marry and are the only minority in the country barred from having more than two children. The discriminatory prosecution against them accelerated since 9/11, but it has surpassed all the previous brutality since June 2012. They are being slaughtered mercilessly and images on social media shook the world when it viewed the plight of these innocent victims. Marginalized for the past 30 years, this minority is seeking refuge in countries like Bangladesh and Thailand (that have their own reasons for not granting shelter to the distraught Rohingyas).

In a recent spate of this unconstrained atrocity, at least 48 Muslims were killed.  The incident took place in a small village that envelopes itself with an isolated corner of Burma. According to the United Nations (UN), Buddhist mobs attacked  at the village named Du Chee Yar Tan, situated in a state called Rakhine. This state at the northern side of Burma is home to 80% of the country’s 1 million Muslim Rohingya population. It runs along the Bay of Bengal and is disconnected with the rest of the country due to a continuous mountain range (Arakan Yoma mountain range). Not only this but, foreign journalists and humanitarian aid workers have limited access to this village, adding to the difficulties of confirming details about the violence. Above all,  the United Nations has declared “Rohingya Muslims” as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

According to a UN report, shared by an Iranian journalist, Dr. Ismail Salami, there are eight phases for any genocide:
1)  Classification, people are classified into “us” and “other”, the first stage towards isolation and colonization. In Burma, Muslims are seen as the ‘other’ and are considered 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.
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. Rohingya Muslims are also being dehumanized according to this definition.
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 Burma, the government has frequently repeated that the carnage is conducted by mobs. In the recent case of Du Chee Yar Tan village, the government has also denied the occurrence of any carnage or mass killing.
5)  Polarization: Hate groups forbid some of the very fundamental rights of the browbeaten group. If Ronhingya Muslims marry unofficially, they may be arrested and burnt alive. 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 (places of worship) 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.
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.
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. However, human rights group and eye witnesses testify that the mob intentionally killed the Rohingyas.

Matthew Smith, executive director of the Thailand-based rights group “Fortify Rights”, called on the Burmese government to give humanitarian workers, independent observers and journalists unfettered access to the village. He said hundreds were still in hiding and may need help. The Burmese government should let the UN probe the issue, if it believes that the incident didn’t take place at all. On the other hand, the Muslims countries should take a collective decision to support the case of Rohingyas at every platform.

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2014 in International Affairs

 

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The Perceived ‘Bengali Genocide of 1971’ Compared to the Real ‘Genocide of Rohingya in 2012’


Before I plunge into this ‘seemingly’ irrelevant contrast. I would like to state that there is no justification for the way Bengalis were alienated due to the disparities in the economic structure and political participation of the Eastern and Western half of Pakistan before 1970. There were various factors for this abrupt division, starting from geography and ending at the notorious, concealed media propaganda. Political immaturity of the politicians and ruling Generals tore away the Bengali bud from Pakistan. Disputes of this nature are often a blessing in disguise for the neighbouring rivals. The Indian involvement and intervention was the immediate cause for the creation of Bangladesh, therefore it cannot be ignored. The one who instigates the perpetrator is equally responsible. This is the reason that young trainees of Al Qaeda are not blamed entirely for their transgressions, the organization that instructs them shares the blame with them.

In a recent, but redundant demand by the Bengali foreign ministry that seeks an apology from Pakistan over the ‘perceived Bengali genocide’ in 1971, Bangladesh needs to adopt a rational approach. An apology for the ‘Operation Searchlight‘ conducted by Yahya Khan to track down the conspirators hatched with the help of India’s RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) first requires an apology from those responsible for creating ‘Mukti Bahini’. Those behind ‘Agartala Conspiracy’ should also share the shame for this disaster.

Why a ‘Perceived Bengali Genocide’?

I used the word ‘perceived’ because the Indian propaganda aimed at creating a negative international public opinion about West Pakistan had played a pivotal role. The Bengalis were seen as victims and the Western wing as a brutal butcher. Closely look at the picture above. ‘Operation Search Light’ was turned into a war being aided by the Indian military. The number of deaths were misreported and the situation was amplified by the Indian government to muster the support of other states. A tactical manipulation gave the impression that ‘Muslims are killing Muslims’.

Genocide of the Rohingya

Approximately 800,000 Rohingya Muslims live in Myanmar, forming 4% of the Burma’s total population. Apart from these official estimates, the Muslim population in Myanmar is double according to neutral sources. These Muslims are commonly known as Rohingya Muslims and have never been given the legitimate citizenship of Myanmar despite living there from the 8th century.They are subject to racial discrimination as “Bengalis”, and, under a 1982 law, are denied citizenship.The discriminatory prosecution against them accelerated since 9/11, but it has surpassed all the previous brutality since June 2012. They are being slaughtered mercilessly and images on social media shook the world to view the plight of these innocent victims.As a result, some of them took refuge in Bangladesh. However, the Bangladeshi government seems to be apathetic about the Rohingya Muslims.

Open this link to watch a video by Al Jazeera http://www.aljazeera.com/video/asia/2012/07/201272265714376776.html

The Bangladeshi apathetic attitude towards Rohingya Muslims should make the Bengali foreign ministry think that who will feel sorry for these stateless and innocent victims who are lying at the border of Bangladesh?

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2012 in International Affairs

 

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