By Sajjad Shaukat
Since August 25, this year, brutal military operations against the Rohingya Muslims across the Rakhine State accelerated in Myanmar (Burma), which forced thousands of the Muslims to migrate to Bangladesh.
During the crackdowns, security forces committed deliberate human rights violations such as mass gang rapes, merciless killings, brutal beatings, beheadings of babies and children, arson and looting the houses of the Rohingya Muslims. They razed several villages to the ground.
The pictures on social media and migrated persons verify “the rivers of blood, beheading of children and burning people alive—you do not have to be a Muslim to protest this or discern the truth, any person with even a tiniest bit of humanity, as to their hearts will quiver with pain. Just to envisage in what state our innocent brothers/sisters would be, bearing all this pain?”
According to the reports of international media, approximately 500 Muslims were slain during the operations, while it continues unabated. But media of some Islamic countries pointed out that more that 3000 Muslims have been killed since August 25, 2017 and more than 100,000 civilians have been displaced in Rakhine.
An advocate for the minority group has disclosed, “The Buddhist soldiers and civilians in Burma are attempting to cover up the massacre of the country’s Rohingya Muslim population by gathering their bodies and burning them.” Chris Lewa, director of the Arakan Project, who monitors violence in Burma’s Rakhine State, said her organisation had “documented the killing of at least 130 people in one settlement in the Rathedaung region…there were reports of three other villages where dozens of people had been killed.”
Meanwhile, Myanmar has blocked all the United Nations aid agencies from delivering vital supplies of food, water and medicine to thousands of desperate civilians, while humanitarian workers on the ground say that warehouses stocking vital emergency supplies are being looted.
Taking note of the genocide of the Rohingyas, Indonesian foreign minister reached Myanmar’s capital for emergency talks as pressure mounted on Jakarta after protest-marches at the Myanmar embassy.
Protests and rallies also erupted in Pakistan and Chechnya, including some other countries over a military campaign against the Muslims in Myanmar.
Particularly, in Pakistan, thousands of people participated in the rallies in various cities to protest against the massacre of the Muslims in Burma. The general public of Pakistan is set gather across the country after the Friday Prayers today (September 8, 2017). The Jmmat-e-Islami Chief Siraj-ul-Haq earlier announced a protest rally in Islamabad to record protest at the Myanmar embassy. According to the latest news, Police is stopping the rally. But Siraj-ul-Haq is not willing to comply unless Myanmar’s ambassador is expelled from the country, as he said.
Besides, leaders of the political and religious parties have severely criticized the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the UNO for lack of practical action in stopping the genocide of the Rohingya Muslims by demanding the special session of the OIC and the UN Security Council in this respect.
Silence of the Saudi-alliance of 40 Sunni countries over the genocide of the Myanmar’s Muslims, which was, in fact, formed by America to promote sectarian divide in the Muslim world and to revive the fake global war on terror has also been criticized in Pakistan, including some other Islamic countries.
The demonstrations in various countries and leaders of human rights groups raised the pressure on Aung San suu Kyi, the de facto head of Myanmar’s government and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who once embodied her country’s fight for democracy and human rights, has drawn international condemnation for failing to address ongoing rights’ abuses of the Muslim minority.
In fact, like other world’s institutions and organizations, the committee of the Nobel Prize is being controlled by the Israeli-led America. Typical Jews play a key role in awarding Nobel Prize. In order to show their impartiality, the members of the committee have, rarely, given Nobel Prizes on merit. For example, America’s former President Barack Obama who was behind the massacre of the Muslims in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Syria and elsewhere in the world, was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. Same is true in case of Aung San suu Kyi who has been protecting the Israeli-led Western interests against the Muslims in one way or the other.
However, except verbal condemnation of the Myanmar’s government regarding genocide of the Muslims, the US-led West is not going to take any practical action in this regard.
Regarding the killings of Myanmar’s Muslims, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Endrogan has said on September 1, 2017, “There is a genocide there…those who close their eyes to this genocide perpetuated under the cover of democracy are its collaborators…This has been happening for a long time now, innocent Muslims are being killed with extreme barbarism, not only in Burma but across the globe. Why does no one take any stand against them…Is it because the Rohingya Muslims are not from Paris or Britian…Or may be just because they are not Christians, Hindus or Jews…Is being Muslim a crime..He would bring up the issue at the next UN general assembly later this month.”
According to the state-run Anadolu news agency, the Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Bangladeshi authorities to “open your doors”, adding “Turkey would cover the costs associated with letting in more Rohingya Muslims.”
Nearly, 150,000 civilians from the Rohingya Muslim minority have now taken refuge in the relief camps of Bangladesh to escape the atrocities of the Burma’s security forces.
The UN’s main coordinator in Bangladesh stated in a report on September 5, 2017, “As fears grow of a humanitarian crisis in the overstretched camps. Their arrival has raised fears of a fresh humanitarian disaster as already crowded camps in Bangladesh…home to around 400,000 Rohingya refugees before the latest crisis—struggle to cope with the influx…Many are sleeping in the open air and are in dire need of food and water after walking for days to reach safety.”
A prominent Bangladeshi rights campaigner Nur Khan Liton said, “As a result of flood-like arrivals of new refugees, a massive humanitarian crisis is unfolding her…People are staying in refugee camps, on the roads, school yards and under open sky. They are clearing forest to create new settlements. There is an acute crisis of water and food.”
Despite Ankara’s statement to pay the expenditures of the refugees, Bangladeshi government has closed the border, and more than 2,000 Muslims are trapped on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border.
As a matter of fact, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh and leader of the ruling party, Awami League (AL) Sheikh Hasina Wajid who came into power with the secret support of India is following Indian-policies against some Muslim countries, especially Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Covertly, Indian Prime Minister and leader of the fundamentalist party BJP, Narendra Modi and Hasina Wajid are following the secret agenda of the US President Donald Trump who is well-known for his anti-Muslim policies and is acting upon the same to secure the illegitimate interests of Israel even at the cost of patriot Americans who are facing multi-faceted crises due to the phony global war on terror and a prolonged war of 16 years in Afghanistan.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Modi reached Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw on September 6, this year and held talks with Aung San Suu Kyi on the issue of latest violence. Although Modi spoke in favour of the Rohingya Muslims, yet like Suu Kyi, he declared them insurgents. India reiterated that it shares Myanmar’s concerns over the ‘extremist violence’ in the Rakhine State.
Nevertheless, Rakhine State (Arakan) is one of the poorest provinces of Myanmar. Among the 3 million Rakhines, there are about 1.3 million Rohingyas in Rakhine State, who have been living there for centuries, and others are Buddhists who are in majority. In 1942, the Buddhists carried out massive genocide of Muslims and almost 150000 Muslims were massacred. During the military rule (1962-88) in Burma, Rohingyas were treated as foreigners and gradually their nationality was taken away. During that era, more than 200,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh. Only 32600 were given formal protection as refugees.
In 1982 when Burma name was changed to Myanmar, they passed a new controversial law for citizenship and declared the people of Rohingya as Bengalis and they were denied citizenship. They claim that among the Rohingyas, over one million are Bengalis and are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Fact of the matter is that all Rohingyas are not Bengalis.
Particularly, in 2012, thousands of Burmese Muslims were butchered, while brutal methods of torturing, killing, inflicting physical and causing mental harm on them were employed by the extremist Buddhists. Instead of resolving the problem by protecting the minority Muslims, the Burmese military regime was being backed by the US clandestinely and supported the Buddhist rioters.
In 2012, eye witnesses had revealed that Buddhist extremists have torched several mosques, shops and houses of Muslims. Even Burmese military and police have been found involved in massacre, targeted killings, disappearances and rape of Muslim women.
According to reports, 650 of nearly one million Rohingya Muslims had been murdered as of June 28, 2012, while 1,200 others were missing and 90,000 more have been displaced.
In 1992, 250,000 Rohingyas fled to neighbouring Bangladesh to escape the persecution, while more than 100,000 are living in the Gulf States, Pakistan, Malaysia and Thailand. Due to fear of extreme repression, Rohingya Muslims left the northern Arakan region, especially Buthidaung and Maungdaw.
Historically, Rohingya Muslims arrived in Myanmar in early seventh century. However, in the seventies, the military junta embarked on a systematic programme of religious cleansing of the Burmese Muslims who are denied their basic rights, i.e. the right to freedom of movement, marriage, faith, identity, ownership, language, culture, citizenship, education etc. They have also been barred from government employment. “Deplorable as it is, the Muslims in Myanmar are among the most persecuted minorities in the world”, according to UN. Although permanently settled in Western Myanmar and making 1/3rd of total population of Burma, they are not recognised as the legal minority.
In March 11, 2006, about the Rohingya Muslims of western Burma’s Arakan State, BBC reported, “They have been called one of the world’s most persecuted people….in addition to their almost total lack of legal rights, many have been regularly beaten by police, forced to do slave labour and jailed for little or no reason.”
Although America and some western countries which claim to be the champion of human rights in the world, have issued some verbal statements regarding humanitarian tragedy in Myanmar, yet no practical action had been taken against the former military rulers of the country. Even UN had been fulfilling formality over the slaughter of Muslims.
Notably, US double standard is part of its strategic game in Burma. America has also included India in this game. In the recent past, Obama administration lifted restrictions on the US investment in Myanmar. American companies are now free to get partnership with the state-owned energy corporations—the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE). New Delhi has also been availing the opportunity of economic benefits in the country. Burma was undergoing an arranged political change, designed to legitimise the previous military regime, and enlist US-led India and some Western partners to evade the influence of China in that country.
In order to achieve their political and financial goals, he US, India and Israel had given a free hand to their secret agencies CIA, Mossad and RAW to support the previous military regime’s repression of its people and particularly of Muslims—which is also part of the ongoing anti-Muslim campaign, noted in some other Muslim countries.
As regards the present genocide of Muslims, Burma’s Hindu organisations which are in collusion with Buddhists have been propagating that the latter are the most peaceful citizens, and called Muslims as trouble makers and terrorists. Extremist Buddhists have not only enjoyed the tacit assistance of politico-military regime, including CIA, Mossad and RAW, but are also being encouraged by Hindu religious extremists to wipe out the Muslims from Myanmar.
In 2011, the military junta was officially dissolved following a 2010 general election and a nominally civilian government was installed. This, along with the release of Aung San Suu Kyi has improved the country’s foreign relations, and has led to the easing of trade and other economic sanctions. Although in the landmark 2015 election, Aung San Suu Kyi’s party won a majority in both houses, but Myanmar’s military remains a powerful force in politics.
It is of particular attention that The Independent wrote on September 6, 2017, “Israel continues to arm Burma military amid ongoing violence against Rohingya Muslims…More than 100 tanks, as well as boats and light weapons, have been sold to the Burmese government by Israeli arms companies, investigations by several rights watchdogs have found.”
Notably, massacre of Jews through various tactics of torture in the concentration camps, erected by Hitler before and during the World War 11 is still shocking and condemnable. It was a big tragedy, popularly known as the Holocaust, conducted by the forces of state terrorism. But, before and in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy, the Zionist-Israeli-led America has been taking unjustified revenge of the Holocaust from the Muslims in particular and the Christians in general, including persons of some other religious communities like Rohingyas who were not responsible for the Holocaust.
The tragic scenes of continued atrocities perpetrated by the Burmese forces and Buddhist militia on the Rohingya Muslims who are escaping to Banladesh remind the escape of Jews from Sobibar, a concentration camp, erected in Poland during World War 11. In that camp, German Nazis had made the life of Jews so troublesome, even culminating to deaths that a number of Jews prepared a plan and succeeded in saving their lives through the ‘escape’.
These Holocaust warriors have been trying to convert the entire world into holocaust, as terror-related attacks have shown in various Islamic countries, including America, Europe and other Western countries. In connivance with CIA, Mossad and RAW, under the cover of war on terror, the former presidents of America, George W. Bush and Barack Obama deliberately changed Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria into ‘concentration camps’.
During the fake global war on terror, the US-led troops, assisted by CIA have carried out indiscriminate mass round-ups in catching up suspected Muslim men and women in Afghanistan and Iraq, including some Arab countries without evidence. Mossad and RAW have helped the CIA officials in arresting the Muslim men, having beard and ladies, wearing scarves. Besides Guantanamo Bay and Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, CIA torture cells were present in several Islamic countries and were also set up in ships where US secret agencies and military personnel employed various methods of torture on the militants and suspected persons like physical violence and even murder. American notorious private military firm Blackwater also eliminated countless Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan.
When America implemented the suggested plan of Rand Corporation and sparked a civil war (Sectarian violence) between the Sunnis and Shias in wake of war on terror to promote the objectives of Israel in the Muslim World, the horrible scenes of deaths were witnessed in Pakistan and especially Iraq.
It is mentionable that through the war against terrorism, President Bush and Obama provided a golden chance to Israel and India to accelerate the systematic genocide of the Palestinians and Kashmiris in the occupied territories of Palestine and Kashmir. Their forces have been employing military terrorism such as curfews, crackdowns, sieges, massacre and targeted killings to maintain alien rule on these territories. Thus, they have converted these controlled regions into ‘concentration camps’.
In these terms, holocaust of the Muslims in Myanmar cannot be seen in isolation, as it is part of the worldwide holocaust which continues unabated against the Muslims and the Islamic countries. Under Trump administration, state terrorism in the Indian Occupied Kashmir and Israeli-controlled Palestinian territories has been accelerated.
Nonetheless, we should not blame all the Buddhists for genocide of the Rohingya Muslims, as religious extremists are found in every religion. Like Islam and Christianity, Buddhism is a religion of peace and teaches tolerance of the rights of other religious communities. It is owing to collaboration of the US-led Israel and India with the past and present regimes of Myanmar that general masses, belonging to Buddhism have been incited against Rohingya Muslims, which has, now, resulted into humanitarian catastrophe.
Because of inaction by the US-led international community, this crisis can destabilize the whole region by jeopardizing political and economic interests of America and other Western countries. It could also be manipulated by the militant outfits such as the Islamic State group (Also known as Daesh, ISIS, ISIL) and Al-Qaeda, including their affiliated groups like Al-Nusra Front, Afghanistan-based the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ur-Ahrar (TTP-JA also known as JuA) and will cause more recruitment in these and other terror-groups, and more terrorism-related assaults in South Asia, the Middle East, Europe and America.
It is the right hour that human rights organisations, OIC, Security Council and international media must play their active role so as to prevent wretched treatment meted out to Muslim minority, and to stop their further bloodshed in Myanmar.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations