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Save Rohingyas Who Have Nowhere To Go

(Photo: Greg Constantine)

By Huson Salm
RB Opinion
March 22, 2014

President U Thein Sein has repeatedly promised the international community that he would deal with the communal problems honestly, justly and impartially. The tension between radical Buddhists and the already persecuted Rohingya Muslims have continued even after his inauguration as the first president in Myanmar’s history.

U Thein Sein, is widely believed to be nothing more than a puppet who is controlled by U Than Shwe who has inherited the legacy of general Ne Win. Ne Win was one of the most brutal, atrocious and wicked dictators that Myanmar has seen. His oppressive regime was known for crushing the democratic movements and political dissidents from 1989 to 2010.

Soon the matriculation examinations in Myanmar will be over and there are already destructive elements who are being positioned in targeted locations, created by the government agents to cause unrest and then culminating in the eruption of communal violence in several parts of the nation as a part of government sponsored programs.

Most people have no doubt that the strategist behind the ‘communal riots’ has been Minister U Aung Thaung. In fact, U Aung Thaung, who is the closest figure to U Than Shwe who is ordering the destruction from the shadows. His plans to hoard assets and keeping his favored cronies in power has been the biggest impediment to pure democratization and totally at odds with the position against Daw Aung San Kyi.

U Wirathu, is more a charismatic ‘Buddhist ghost priest’ than a peaceful monk. He is well-organized, trained and in agreement with the appalling tactics of the state which have been created and executed by U Than Shwe together with his cronies who are currently occupying positions in cabinet.

Every trip U Wirathu takes to the countryside is done with the sole aim of sowing seeds of communal hatred which later bloom into deadly communal violence. On his latest tour to Arakan’s townships he met with many fanatical Rakhine leaders to further his aim of disseminating ready propaganda as per the directions of the gang-networks players.

Soon after massacres and other violence throughout the country U Thein Sein forms so called ‘commissions’ , which translate into vague investigations by his brain-washed colleagues as an alternative to the international investigations that are desperately required to shed some light on the brutality and complicity of the ruling regime.

Regarding the three major incidents which occurred namely, the 2012 Rakhine crisis, the Meittilar massacre and the Duchiratan massacre in 2014, the government commission failed to find any violence was committed by the offenders despite first hand information that was obtained by international organizations such United Nations and Human Rights Watch clearly stating the opposite.

Instead the commission altered the truth and put all the blame squarely on the shoulders of the innocent Rohingya community. Myanmar was faced with international criticism for the irrational accusations put on massacred families. With the regional and international community absolutely dissatisfied with the treatment of victims the commission was challenged to set up a global inquiry which resulted in proper investigations and reports.

The remorseless Dr. Kyaw Yin Hlaing, who is responsible to answer the media’s questions regards the investigations into Duchiratan, clearly stated that they did not find any offenders from within the Rakhine people who are believed to have killed Rohingya muslims but rather that the commission found that Muslims attacked each other and burnt homes based on their old personal grudges. When asked about his thoughts on Myanmar being charges with “crimes against humanity and genocide” he said that he could not answer such questions and did not know about that because he was not employed in the state administration but only advises the President of the state and that the massacres and crimes against humanity which have been assumed by the international community against might be “the state policy”. 

I learned from one of the attendees at the Bangkok forum which was held on 7 March 2014 that every time the international community approaches the government to cooperate in inquiries it has been neglected, denied and blatantly ignored, the reasoning being that ‘the Rohingya issue is an internal affair and therefore a matter related to state integrity and sovereignty”.

Myanmar as a part of the world community and a member of United Nations should abide by international law and should cooperate with the world community as a member country. Sovereignty does not mean the freedom to exterminate, annihilate and oppress a particular minority after enclosing them in designated camps and gradually disenfranchising every single citizenship right for three decades. The concept of sovereignty requires a government to protect its citizens and fulfill their basic human rights as far as possible. The Rohingya are in desperate need of a secure life and livelihood, adequate food and good shelter, qualitative education, and a dignified human existence and above all they are entitled to full citizenship rights.

The Rohingyas are by no means a threat to the sovereignty of the state rather they are a part of the state and belong to mainstream society in the same way that all the other ethnicities are. The situation of the Rohingyas people’ in northern Rakhine and elsewhere in Myanmar has become like ‘hell in the cell’. I often watch the show ‘HELL IN THE CELL’, an American wrestling show where rivals are put into a cell which is tightly constructed from iron bars and closed by sheets on the sides. The single door is locked and there is no way out except to fight or disable your opponent. They fight until a winner appears. Similarly the Rohingya in Arakan have been confined by successive governments for more than 60 years, they have been even more strictly confined since 1990. The authorities’ have allowed no movement from one place to another for the purpose of education, medical treatment, commerce, and social visits. They have not been allowed any university education. For the past 40 years all school teachers, university lecturers, doctors and nurses have been instilled by Rakhine nationalists to further their brand of nationalism. Discrimination against Rohingya is the norm in schools, colleges and universities as well as in clinics and hospitals.

Doctors and nurses have been the worst who usually allow irrelevant treatment to Rohingyas patients and in some cases Rohingya have found some disguised nurses have paid visits to women to administer sterilisation injections without prior knowledge or consent of the individuals. Some Rakhine doctors are in the habit of injecting deadly diseases into the bodies of Rohingya patients. As a result of the aforementioned cases the Rohingya do not trust Rakhine doctors and nurses and turn to local practitioners for a temporary relief. MSF, which is run by Doctors without Borders has been a merciful medical facility and the only outreach medical facility for the vulnerable Rohingya. 

Unfortunately MSF was forced out of the region by Rakhine thugs because it treated some 22 Rohingya who were injured in attacks by Rakhine police and their treatment was exposed to the media as a medical accomplishment and was not politically motivated. The reality remains that there is currently no medical treatment for Rohingya, there has been no tertiary education for the past 2 ½ years, no employment at all, no access to jungles to gather wood or do other forest related work, no water in which to fish, no freedom to travel, no police stations to bring complaints, no courts to appeal to and no advocates to hire. There is no protection for homes or residences and Rakhine terrorists move easily from one place to the next burning down Muslims houses and properties with the help of the police and Rakhine security who have been condoning the acts of Rakhine vigilantes all along.

The international community has been sympathetic but are not entirely free and being curbed by the government with regards to the type of assitance they may provide. The Rakhine are above the law and have been protected from punishment despite their constant intimidation, attacks and forceful attempts to impede the global assistance providers and social workers in Rakhine state.

The situation in Aungminglar quarter, Rathedaung township, Mrauk Oo, Pauktaw, Myaybone and Kyauknimaw – are terribly affected areas and constantly under attack by Rakhine assailants for the past two and half years. The situation is now dire and they are now facing shortages of food, medicine, shelter, and require daily humanitarian necessities.

It seems that democracy does not include the Rohingya and the sole aim of the Rakhine has to been to expel the Rohingya to Bangladesh because they are not citizens of the state while majority of who were made as White Card holders. Base on this line of thought Rhakines have begun to confiscate Rohingya lands, stop them pursuing higher education or economic activities, limit their birth in order to shrink their population, to burn, loot and destroy their homes, cattle and businesses in order to gradually force them into the dire poverty and make them flee from the land rather than attempting for Rakhine themselves to get lost rights from the Union government. It seems that the Rakhine are content with the Rohingya having no rights instead of regaining their own rights and having a government that is truly a democracy.

U Thein Sein’s democracy is based on blasphemous media propaganda that included several journalists and locals with disguised agents to make mess up the normal life of the public, and the cheating policies which become the repeating theories through his elite in local and international inexorably which is nothing more than a coward, dishonest, cruel, unreliable and unpredictable than praiseworthy for which he has done and earned some changes after his inauguration.

Every department of government relies on the 1982 citizenship law which is the most oppressive machine inherited from Ne Win. The clauses imbued in 1982 citizenship laws are confusing to apply and practice. At this point, all state stakeholders who want Rohingyas to be disenfranchised should consider whether they were accepting and happy with the drive general Ne Win’s caretaker government coup? Who will agree to say yes? Were we accepted and satisfied the 1963’s revolutionary council’s nationalization? No one will agree about that! Have we been happy with the military administration by Ne Win who was ostracized by the international community and cut off relations even with neighboring countries? Not at all! Haven’t we got a harsh and totally shut up life whatever Ne Win and his close elite did to the people of Burma which hard-pressed the country into abysmal conditions by the illegalization of the Myanmar currencies one after another and which led to mass chaos and total destructions in the year 1988? Yes, of course! Didn’t U Ne Win order to kill the innocent people who were peacefully involved in non-violent demonstrations to regain the democracy which was lost at the hands of U Ne Win in the year 1958? Yes he ordered to kill! Haven’t U Ne Win’s elite dragged the country down after the 1988 coup and refused to hand over power to the landslide victory winner, the NLD in the 1990 elections?

My point here is to make it clear that the reason for the situation Myanmar finds itself in currently was U Ne Win’s lack of knowledge, ignorance, selfishness, stubbornness, mismanagement, discriminatory mindedness and bullshit policy of the state in the region. People in 1988, the mass and class demonstrations have fully understood that they never needed U Ne Win or his rule and the brave people have overturned all the ruling systems of U Ne Win. Why is it that the legacy of the brutal citizenship law is dragged into practice to apply only to the Rohingya.

None of us has a desire to inherit the legacy of Ne Win because every one of us knows it is disgusting and unacceptable in society that is why we renounce the system of Ne Win and march towards democratization which is the only a way for us to unite under the path of peace, love, unity, respecting and honoring the equal human rights in nation building tasks.

Let us not move backwards because there is no room for backtracking in this 21st borderless century era. To remove Rohingya rights, the several demonstrations-- which have been advised or have been condoned by president, the two cabinets, parliamentarian members, RNDP MPs, 88 generation leader particularly by Ko Ko Gyi, several ignitable journals, some politicians and political parties, and disguised monks from numerous monasteries—have evidently shown to entire world that the government of Myanmar does not care for the soft advocacy of ‘non-binding resolutions’.

All in all the atrocities being practiced against Muslims by township police, Rakhine armed mobs and concerned authorities from village to union level have become totally intolerable while there is no thread of hope or resolute action against the brutal Myanmar authorities from the international community. with a rigid binding resolution after having suffered year on year. How much worse should the situation faced by the helpless Rohingya get and how much longer should they wait for international jurisdiction to save them? How many helpless, hopeless, and vulnerable Rohingya should be brutalized, killed and distressed in fields, seas, jungles and jails in the country and beyond? Please take care of us to survive in our land as other people of the world.

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