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Why Single Out the Case of the Rohingya Vis-A-Vis Other Unfolding Atrocities Around the World?

By Maung Zarni
TRANSCEND Media Service
January 27, 2014

Today world is a violence-soaked place. A glance at Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, parts of Africa, and so on speaks volume about the nature of the current world order without a rudder or a moral compass, or inspiring revolutionary humanism.

I am singling out the case of the Rohingya subject to a 35-year state-policy which rests on the INTENT to erase the Rohingya as a group, a memory, an identity and the literal existence. You cannot get any more evidence than the institutionalized and popularized ‘intent to destroy’ this ‘ethnical, religious, national group’.

What is even more exceptional about is the Rohingya genocide is a slow-burning process, pursued as a matter of policy and INTENT at the highest level since Feb 1978, using all kinds of international criminalistic behavior – crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and yes genocide.

Even the minimalist readings of the 1948 Convention any open-minded lawyer who has not made up his or her mind a priori about the Rohingya case will see that there is massive evidence, contextual and substantive, that meet the 4 out of the 5 genocidal acts.

The intent is to ultimately ERASE/DESTROY the identity of the Rohingya – now 1.33 million inside Burma according to the official government figures, with nearly a million in Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and to a lesser extent in settler colonies such as Australia, USA, and Canada.

More than 140,000 are in camps which a few honest diplomats call, correctly, ‘concentration camps’ – where forced labor, rape, gang-rape, murder, extortion, summary executions, and all manners of human rights atrocities are committed on a daily basis.

No, there are no furnaces and gas ovens. No, JP Morgan isn’t funding Myanmar’s projects. No, there is no single Hitler or Pol Pot – but a cluster of small hitlers preaching hatred packaged as ‘nationalist and religious defense of Buddhism against Islam’s plan to turn Burma into an Islamic country (90% of the population are Buddhists, evidently nominally, and less than 5% are Muslims).

Plus mass killings that take place in war time – Iraq, Syria, African countries – are of different nature. The Rohingya are being destroyed in cold-blood, as a matter of policy and with the popular backing by the thoroughly brainwashed and ignorant “Buddhist” majority – my own fellow country-men and -women.

The Rohingyas pose no threat to Burma’s national security, do not control the local province of Arakan or Rakhine demographically, economically or politically. They are not terrorists – even I would be a ‘terrorist’, were I a Rohingya myself, given the incredible and unspeakable level of inhumanity to which they as a group have been subject to ! — nor do the Rohingya in diaspora or in the country advocate violence and terrorism, generally speaking. No organization that can be called ‘terrorist’ or ‘armed’ exists. The Rohingya Solidarity Organization is extremely fringed, has no means to do anything violent to either the Rakhine locals or the country as a whole.

The case of Rohingya is simply a case reflective of Burma’s deep seated religious fear and racial hatred of dark-skinned Muslims. The Rohingya are the only ethnic group in Burma that is NOT armed – not in the real sense – to defend themselves.

The destruction of the Rohingya group identity is both a starting point and the final objective of Myanmar’s policy since Feb 1978. Everything else is filling in the strategic blanket.

No sane international lawyer calls the Rohingya genocide genocide; they are too smart to know that the international justice system is irreparably broken. Neither the white liberal western powers – US, UK, France nor the autocratic Russia and China will ever develop an appetite for stopping the genocide in Burma. If no power in the world, beyond their embassies in Rangoon issuing statements addressing their business partners – the Burmese generals and ex-generals, has done nothing serious or concrete to stop the systematic genocide of the Rohingya over the past 35 years, under at least 3 successive military regimes, all eventually supported by the UN Security Council perm members, there is then no hope for resort to international legal instruments.

Hence the Permanent People’s Tribunal – the conscience of the citizens, at least among us who have no faith in the current United Nations, the system of Machiavellian states, governments and politicians.

From the Nobel iconic Aung San – I-am-a-politician-and-I-have-never-been-a–human-rights-defender Suu Kyi to leading Buddhist preachers and monks have morphed into the deniers of even ethnic cleansing – indicating their deep ignorance of what EC means, obviously – and defenders of the genocidal “Buddhists” and their fear of the Muslims (90% fearing less than 5% religious minority makes one question the intellect and mental health of these demagogues and charlatans).

The State in whose rests the responsibility to protect all segments of society, including the religious minorities, is THE MAIN PERPETRATOR, initiating the genocide, sponsoring it, legalizing and discoursing it, outsourcing it to local Rakhine ultra-nationalists who draw their inspirations from two irreconcilable sources: Hitler’s Mein Kempf and Israel. (Maybe reconcilable now ala Gaza and West Bank, if not originally.)

The international community, so-called, especially its leading members on the UN Security Council sit on their hand. Britain, which is partially responsible as Burma is a post-colonial mess the White Men from 10 Downing left behind in my country, is training 30 Burmese military officers to be nice and kind? – ‘to learn to operate in a democratic framework’ – and US President Barack Drone Obama is pushing for the greater Pentagon engagement and collaboration with Burma’s Armed Forces. The NSA of Snowden notoriety uses Burma – US Embassy in Rangoon – as one of its key global listening posts. The Chinese and the Indians in Delhi and Beijing couldn’t care less as their goals are Machiavellian. USA and China have gradually locked their horns for access to the Arakan coast line; it is indispensable for China and hence important for Washington.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi pledges her love and affection for the Armed Forces, the main power base of the genocidal killers, and steps up to the plate as a genocide-deniar – in hopes that the generals will love her back and let her be a future head of state, before she goes – she is already pushing 70.

I have just finished my co-authored peer-reviewed baseline study of 3 years, with the title ‘Myanmar’s Slow-Burning Rohingya Genocide’. And it is forthcoming from the Pacific Rim Law and Policy in its special Burma edition this Spring (March/April).

I’ll be happy to send you the piece when it is out.

Zarni, a Rohingya by choice.

Maung Zarni, Associate Fellow, the University of Malaya. Dr. Maung Zarni is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment, founder and director of the Free Burma Coalition (1995-2004), and a visiting fellow (2011-13) at the Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit, Department of International Development, London School of Economics. His forthcoming book on Burma will be published by Yale University Press. He was educated in the US where he lived and worked for 17 years. Visit his website

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