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Rohingya – End the Ethnic Cleansing

Liz Mys
RB Opinion
June 16, 2015

It seems the hysteria is dying down; to the circle of the usual activists and those who fight relentlessly to get as much attention to the cause and to the few news and organizations who are still covering the story. But it’s the same cycle, attention and news for a while and everyone else carries on till some other big story hits. 

The “boat people” which has been termly coined with the latest breaking story, uncovered massive exploitation ring, some known for a while and some newly “discovered” information of torture, ransom and detention.

As much as sensationalism goes, not much has changed in regards to a great breakthrough and hope for the Rohingya. Someone once wrote “sadly the Rohingya people’s sufferings do not appear to be deemed newsworthy by world media”. ..and pretty much true.

We have heard from the Dalai Lama, the respected Desmond TuTu and Barrack Obama the President of the United States who made a statement of a few words, referring to the plight and matter as “a great test for the democracy of future” and “to take very seriously this issue of how the Rohingya are treated”. 

World heads and world leaders and famous people championing the plight of the Rohingya; but what has it actually accomplished?

For now the heat is on the trafficking ring, so that will stop for a bit. But sadly in time, many more will be pushed to take that risk again for a better chance at life and a new cycle will start. 

We have help given to the ones who have made land in Indonesia and some in Malaysia. Help with money and aid to house them and care for them after the harrowing ordeal at sea. Many organizations and individuals have gone there- don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic gesture to see the level of kindness and love, humanity with people from all over coming to help. It’s beautiful and it is heartwarming. 

Remember the words by Chinua Achebe “While we do our good works let us not forget that the real solution lies in a world in which charity will have become unnecessary.”? Not to devalue the humanity and humanitarian gesture and not saying to remove charity at all, because God knows we the people of the world with its current global condition, charity will continue and it kinda has to. 

It’s looking at a solution. A durable shot at changing the situation and maybe a bit of the world. 

Just look at where we are at now.

Paranoia. The whole world is gripped with it. Fear. Oh my god yeah. 

Hatred. Racism. 

Greed. Phisshh…. wheels turning to explore and exploit the already down and out, making money out of the misery of others. 

For the Rohingya, the conditions don’t exist for them to go back where they came from. The Burmese government stripped the Rohingya of the right to hold temporary identification cards, but did not guarantee the full rights of a citizen. So what is that really? Feels like a living nightmare that your house, although it’s yours but you’re not allowed to have any rights, someone else gets to dictate what and how you get to live and you will probably get killed or your family members, while all you can do is you just watch it happen. 

A process of “ethnic cleansing and genocide”, let that sink in your perspective for a bit. 

It’s no use to use the plaster effect, Band-Aid actions if you will, it doesn’t help the root of all the happenings we are witnessing. 

Temporary measures would not be durable nor good for the people. Many more Rohingya children will be born “Stateless” in the countries who have been kind to take them in and many many more will be born in the camps. Many more will go to the seas again. No rights and dignity as a world citizen, and at the mercy of the host country still dictating what can be allowed to be provided to the Refugees. 

Boycott Burma. The nations of ASEAN, God bless them, whatever gestures, pressured or otherwise, that they have given. It puts a lot of stress on their own governments to take in the people but still not solving the stateless position of the Rohingya. Another child would grow up without rights to proper education, another mother would be giving birth to a child whose future of his life and roots will be soon be erased if this continues and just living on a hope or dream to be elevated instead of persecuted. 

Boycott Burma, with trade and economic sanctions. The leaders of ASEAN countries should stop being an indirect accomplice to the Ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya. Full rights to return home and all the rights as a citizen of Myanmar must be demanded with no compromise till that is achieved, instead of complaining, instead of just fixing up meetings and more exchanges of diplomatic words. 

I am not of a political expert or anything like that but maybe just enough to dream of a better way because I am sick of watching the way the people have to live, merely existing sometimes. Maybe cordon off land on Myanmar soil with Peacekeeping force mending and looking out for angry mobs targeting the Rohingya for a change. And let the people build back their lives in a system, working towards coexistence with the country, I don’t know how. But living and running in fear, in severe lack of rights, no freedom and unknown, bleak future is not what they or we want in any spot in our lives or country. 

The POTUS has spoken and says to “take very seriously this issue of how the Rohingya are treated”. How about doing something to stop the persecution, stop the Genocide. 

So can we do it? Countless petitions has been signed, many more demonstration and protests and talks have been done. What does it take for us, you, me, we, them, and the other leaders to put a stop on a 21st century genocide? 

If Justice stands for something then the Rohingya deserves to live on the land their past generations have lived on, if humanity is preached and worshipped by the majority people there, then brotherhood should be respected and restored. If peace is possible let it be what we wish for others too. 

A dream maybe, a human need to belong and live in peace, not pieces, co existing well, because it is possible. 

I remember a young Rohingya man asked me once when I visited the camp last year, most heartbreaking question I couldn’t find words to answer while I stood & listened to them is this 

“Why? (the injustice) ..We have dreams too” #Rohingya 

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