Saturday, 14 July 2012

BURMA: WHY SUCH SILENCE OVER MUSLIM GENOCIDE?


Buddha came and went, with his message of peace and love; he preached common-sense humanity. Would Buddha be more concerned with the revering of his towering statues, in decorated pagodas or would he be more eager to hold the hand of a suffering fellow human. Would Buddha not be hurt to see, of all people, those upholding his name, treating fellow beings in the most brutal, inhumane ways?


The Rohingyas are the largest minority of Burma, comprising of ethnically Bengali Muslims who migrated to this land after the British had conquered it, in 1886, as cheap labor and settled in the Rakhine province. The plight of the Rohingya is that the Burmese Buddhist majority has never accepted them as their own; after more than a century and several generations the Rohingya haven’t earned a right to claim Burma as their homeland.


Right from their inception into Burma the Rohingya have been facing hatred and riots against them, the riots have become increasingly systematic and the massacre has been widespread.


The major uprisings against the Muslims in 1930, 1938, 1997, 2001 and now in 2012 have witnessed major human rights violations and among other Muslim of Burma, have left thousands upon thousands of Rohingya massacred. But due to the strict control of the government over the information media the real numbers of killings are never released and estimates may go in the tens of thousands each time.

Each time the Rohingya face these waves of slaughter and are persecuted with murder, enslavement, forced imprisonment, torture and rape in the several days between mass killings, there are apt to flee the country. Devastated by the onslaught the Rohingya families would grab whatever their hands can hold and flee towards the boats; if land cannot give them refuge perhaps the water would. At such time of desperation the Rohingya have one hope in their illusioned hearts; that perhaps they can go back to Bangladesh. But what has happened to them every time is extremely heartbreaking and inhumane.


Each time the Rohingyas are hurled into boats, by the force of the riots and the designs of the Rakhine people, these boats are deliberately escorted by official boats into deep seas and left on their own there. A large number of these boats, laden with hungry, wretched, people sink in the ocean; a few that manages to reach the shores of Bangladesh, are unwelcomed. The Rohingyas are either forced to return or to remain stranded in narrow shore areas by the Bangladesh authorities.


Here are some eye-witness excerpts from a Rohingya blog upon the recent and ongoing 2012 riots against the Rohingyas. The material depicts these riots to be systematically organized genocides.


Excerpt 1:


28 June; Twenty two villagers were arrested from Anukpin Village of Rathedaung Township earlier and on June 27, again 60 villagers were arrested from the said village by army and Nasaka. After arrest, they were sent to Rakhine villages where they were tortured severally by Rakhine villagers. … fate of the arrested villagers is not known to their relatives. The village has about 1000 houses, of them, 60 houses were burned down by Rakhines with the help of army and Nasaka …. Besides, 350 houses from Mozai Dia village and 150 houses of Sarat Pyin village were burned down into ashes by a group of Rakhine extremists in front of army and Nasaka….  They also co-operate with the racist Rakhines for arson attack to the Rohingya villages. The Burmese media also highlighted that the Rakhines are suffering from crisis of food and shelter, showing artificial Rakhine refugees who have been taking shelter in Nasaka camps and Buddhist monasteries…]


Excerpt 2:


[…many Rohingya villagers in Rathedaung Township have been suffering from food, shelter, medicine crisis since the event were broken out…. villagers were flooded by heavy rain fall in Rathedaung. There is no place to take shelter whose houses had already burned down…. the villagers are passing their days and nights with terrible situation for fear of arrest and torture


Besides, the army and Nasaka are arresting the Rohingya villagers continuously, especially from Nurrullah Para, Kilaidaung, Sarcumbo, Horsara and Sombonna villages and other villagers of Maungdaw Township. The authorities are targeting mostly to Rohingya young people even 10-12 year old boys. It is learnt that the young boys were stabbed by Natala villagers, after arrest.
The authorities also took away cattle, goats, rice, fowls and valuables from Rohingya villagers. Every night, the armies, Nasaka accompanied by Rakhines go to the said villages and make arbitrary arrest to the villagers. So, the villagers flee from the villages leaving their family members in the villages. Taking this advantage, the authorities assault the Rohingya women and young girls in the villages. This is the daily basis occurrence in the Rohingya villages.]


Excerpt 3:


[According to the information we received in the past 15 days, the death number of Rohingyan is exceeded over 10,000 from Sittwe city alone and similar number from Maungdaw, Rathedaung and Kyauktaw townships. Most of them were shot dead, brutally beaten to death, burnt alive and killings of thousands of the rest of those taken away by security forces into hidden areas.  At least, 25,000 of Rohingya houses were burnt down and more than 100,000 are homeless all over Sittwe, Maungdaw, Rathedaung, Rambre Island and Kyauktaw townships.


It is not fighting each other but it is another terror of well planned genocide by Rakhines cooperatively with local armed forces. From the beginning, Curfew and Order are restored only for Rohingya and confined within their homes. While Rakhines are openly allowed to trespass and attack Rohingya villages. Local security forces who are also Rakhine are sided with Rakhine people and explored more brutal crimes that include shooting fires into the houses and letting its partisan Rakhines to torch fire. Again, Rohingyans those came out from homes were brutally beaten and slaughtered and those fleeing were shot fires regardless of women or children. Plus, sexual abuses, looting goods and cash.


In advance, waters, electric, foods are cut-off and restriction imposed in Rohingya villages since 3 June. So, it is all about well-planned ethnic-cleansing pogrom systematically turned into religious violence…. Rohingyans are ending-up between gun-fires of security forces and lethal knives of Rakhine people. This time they can’t escape because security forces rounded up all the way out, those hiding in remote areas were also attacked by Rakhines and security forces and navy forces are patrolling across the beach and eliminating them]


How are hearts turned to stone, how does the Burmese populace and authority alike, fill itself with such hatred, how do the lovers of Buddha harbor such animosity for their neighbours through generations. How do they trample upon and burn religious books, how do they raze mosques to the ground by bulldozers. And how do they push their own people into the dark ocean of death. It is a pity that we, as Pakistani are unable to reach the drowning hands of our brothers and sisters; therefore is this appeal to the Burmese, to please find your Buddha in your hearts and warp these wretched people in the arms of your mercy.


Pakistan is one of the largest refugee holding countries of the world, we have more than 1,900,000 refugees on our land. We never ask them to go back, we never stop them from earning a living, in fact we are fast in forgetting that they are not one of us. Currently Burma ranks as the 4th most highly corrupted nation out of 183 by the Transparency International. Burma’s admittance to ‘Least Developed Country’ status by the UN in 1987 highlights its economic bankruptcy. Perhaps the first step for Burma to enter the community of respectable and prosperous nations is to raise herself in the human-rights index, it doesn’t cost much and strengthens her from the core.


Our final message to the people of Burma and our Muslim brethren there is that they should keep in mind the events of history and how Muslims have answered to the call of their brethren in the past. If Bin Qasim could cross the sea to save the passengers of a ship at Debal and if Pakistan can take a beating for their brothers in Afghanistan then the page of history can turn on Burma too.



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