(Continued from the First Installment)
Nationalism turns to racism
People are engaged in critic and doubt whether Bangladesh would support the Rohingya community or not, if they were from other ethnic or religious communities. This sort of question allow us to think deeply. Perhaps, this question may seem valid to them, who always find plots, hidden agendas and politics in any sort of critical issues even like the war afflicted people of Rohinghyas, who are from a particular religious community. However, this debated question is a vivid example of fallacy. Nurturing the same feelings, equal sympathy for all ethnic communities, the neighboring communities, is very important that we observed in 1971. India supported in The Liberation War 1971 and provided shelters 2 crores Bangladeshis from both, political, moral and dutiful aspects. However, ethnic, communal or sectarian brotherhood works well as well during the war, as it matters to people’s identity, their socio-political interests and their life. We need to be careful the identity politics should not turn to racism. However,Muktijuddho, The Liberation War 1971 is a great example of equality feelings among the Bengalis, the entire Bengali nation and the all Bangladeshis. It is deplorable thatsome countries do not support anddefend their own community and religious group, for example, Saudi Arabia has no sectarian feelings for Palestinians. As we know humanitarian and communal feelings are closely related to nation’s interest and global politics, not it is always related to the interest to a particular religious group. On the other hand, excessive feelingsof nationalism, rigidity of identity, communal feelings, may create divisions in the nation state, and religious favoritism can go awry like the Myanmar issue now.
Japan captured Burma (Myanmar now) in 1942 and by 1943, about 3 lakhs ofRohingyas were killed by the BurmeeseRakhins. In 1944, Britain captured Burma and the Rohingyasgained theirfreedom. In 1948, when Burma gained independence, theRohingyas were anxious and they proposed to Kayed I Ajam Muhammad Ali Jinnah to have them as a part of Pakistan, but Jinnah denied including them. Since its independence, Burma denied citizenship totheRohingyas and has been torturingthem over the years. In 1962, Burma declared Martial law and deprived theRohingyas inclusion in the police, army, and civil services. They declared Rohingyas as refugeesand not the citizen of Burma. The Myanmar government kept Rohingyas out of the national census as a strategy of their ethnic cleansing plan. Thus, Rohingyas lost their voting rights in 1971 as they were declared not citizen anymore. By 1978 this false notion wasfirmly established by the brutal Myanmar Military government.
The oppressed Rohingyas started to organize themselves to battle against the Military government. They were involved in a few guerrilla fights. China always wanted to see Myanmar as a communist country, but the Buddhist believers proved that they are not communists but fundamentalists. The Genocide 2017 accountability goes equally to Aung San Suu Kyi and the Commander General Min AungHlaing, as per the Myanmar constitution the Army has 25 percent members in the parliament and they have right to veto any proposal.
No prominent nation outside of Southeast Asia is willing to do much for the minority group either. The Rohingyas have no close ethnic or linguistic ties with a regional or global power: the Uighurs, a persecuted Muslim minority in western China, for instance, have ethnic and linguistic ties to Turkey. Bangladesh, from which some Rohingya originally migrated, is itself desperately poor and not interested in having the Rohingyas settle there. Indeed, Bangladeshi security forces have often forcibly repatriated Rohingyas, or kept them in squalid camps along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. No Western nation have opened its doors for the Rohingyas the way they have done for the Tibetans who were forced out of China.
Hope of co-existence falls apart
Myanmar’s civilian leader, former democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, has also been castigated for failing to voice sympathy for the Rohingyas — a group she has asked her government to refer to only as “Muslims of Rakhine state”. Suu Kyi was the last hope to Rohingyas when the Junta, military government fell. But Suu Kyi is silent and taking measures to save her skin staying loyal to the Army and her people. Her long silence and denial of the atrocities to theRohingyas has ledone of Britain’s largest trade unions to suspend an award given to Suu Kyi during her time as a political prisoner, as international criticism mounts over her tepid response to Myanmar’s humanitarian crisis. Canada has been urged to revoke Myanmar leader’s honorary citizenship amid the current Rohingya crisis.
Recently, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh proposed 5 demands for the Rohingyas in Myanmar: 1). stop all oppressions on Rohingyas; 2). ‘safe zones’ for Myanmar’s Rohingyas; 3).Safe return of all Rohingyas; 4). Materialize the proposal of UN Chief without conditions immediately; 5). All Muslim nations to continue support for Rohingyason humanitarian grounds. I hereby propose to the UN and the world leaders, the Rakhine state as thesafe zone for theRohingyas,The UN must call for vote for an independent country for the Rohingyas. They can live there with dignity and rights of a citizen. We hear a similar cryin Palestine, for Israel must leave the land they captured from the Palestinians. Likewise with Kashmir asPakistan and India must leave the Kashmir territory and let them live alone, peacefully, independent, free and happy.
Caution to Bangladesh
There is a possibility ofprovocation of war with Myanmar if Bangladesh government is not careful of international politics involvingChina, Japan and India’s political stand over theRohingya issue. It is a collaborative effort to convince regional and international organizations including the UN so that powerful hegemonies that genuinely are concerned will play a role in this peace-making effort.
Silent world leaders
Why are the world leaders’silentand ignoring the Genocide 2017 in Myanmar? It is painful to watch that the Canadian PM was silent about Rohingyas during his recent speech in UN speech. The atrocities, killing, burning and persecutionby the Myanmar government is a crime against humanity. Rohingyas are suffering because of the tricks and trickery of politics but the world leaders are watching them from a distance and not making any decision against the maliciousMyanmar government. Myanmar blocked all UN aid to civilians at the heart of the Rohingya crisis. The Guardian also viewed the slaughter in Myanmar too.And UNICEF alarmed about children, who are suffering largely of Rohingya crisis.
How can the Rohingyas life be saved and given dignity, freedom and liberty?I am also concerned about the child refugees who are fleeing from the violence in Myanmar, they need, food, clean water, and health supply. On the top of, they need learning centres where children can learn and play. I conclude urging world leaders and the UN toensure people’s safety and improve humanitarian conditions in Myanmar, Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan, or else reconsidertheir status and role as the global leaders.
The writer is an anthropologist and environmentalist. She is pursuing her PhD research on Curriculum Studies and Teacher Development at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto, Canada. [email protected]