Asia-Pacific, Myanmar, Human Rights, Politics

Rohingya Muslims Genocide: Ignorance at its Finest

Abhorrence in ignorance. A truth we have managed to disregard, in consistent harmony, around the world since the dawn of civilization. One may witness an oblivious state of being towards the genocide of Native Americans as Christopher Columbus stands well known to this date. A holiday in his name and, surprisingly, a following of deranged ignorant illiterates that still herald his name in joyous recognition. The father of a nation. A blood riddled past holds insignificant weight in the eyes of people that choose to live in ignorance. Human existence all over the world is, sadly, no different.

Genocide Defined

The fact that there is a need to formulate a researched and well-defined version of a word that seems self-explanatory; tells us how the world needs guidance through its infancy in recognizing atrocious actors of foreign lands.

Genocide cannot occur unless fueled by the commitment to a circumscribed radical ideology.

Under a formulation developed by the Polish international jurist, Raphael Lemkin; genocide does not conform to the singular case of immediate destruction of a nation. The route, which needs to ensure genocide’s success, covers multiple parallels that must be fostered. Indispensable foundations of a national group’s heritage are primary targets in a genocidal blueprint, while the group’s eradication materializes into reality.

Genocide must entail disintegration of said group from the realms of political and social representation, culture, language, religion, and any traces of existence in the economic spheres of the country.

It must, consequently, ensure the complete extirpation of healthcare, human liberties along with the most fundamental right of all; the right to live.

Rohingya Muslims— The Hidden Origins

The gross lack of documented history when it comes to the advent and spread of Islam throughout South Asia is astounding and quite frankly suspicious. One of the only known bodies of knowledge as to the origins of Muslims and the spread of this religion is Moshe Yegar.

Yegar is a Research Fellow at the Truman Institute, Hebrew University, an academic and former Israeli diplomat. He states in his book “Between Integration and Secession” that Muslim seamen from the Arab world may have first reached Myanmar in the 9th century. Most of them, being men, usually married local women and became integrated into society. Eventually evolving into the Rohingya community that now faces controversy while being called Bengali immigrants.

Key Contributors to the Rohingya Muslims Genocide

The evolutionary cycle of segregating Rohingya Muslims involves a well-placed series of milestones which have thus far incurred favorable results for the forces wishing to disband and dismantle these indigenous Muslims from Myanmar.

The Rohingya Muslims have been stigmatized, dehumanized and effectively isolated as they face denial of citizenship and false rhetoric along with trumped up scare tactics by their communal co-inhabitants, namely, the Rakhine Buddhists. This successfully implanted conflict into both nations and has ensured the extinction of harmony between the previously peaceful set of communities that call the Rakhine state their home.

Government Support

The most abhorrent attribute to this wave of insanity is, perhaps, the fact that anti-Rohingya activities have garnered support from the highest levels of government officials to local members of the Rakhine civil society. In 2015 the Head of the Myanmar Human Rights Commission, an ethnic Rakhine, stated:

“As human beings… we have the right to food, health and other human rights, but when you claim yourself as a Rohingya, that’s a different issue.”

In May 2015, Myanmar’s leaders announced their refusal to participate in a regional meeting held in Thailand which dealt with the boat crisis on the Andaman Sea if the word ‘Rohingya’ was used in the invitation.

Myanmar’s deputy foreign minister reportedly stated:

“If they are using the word Rohingya in the official title of the meeting, we cannot join… If we joined, it would seem like we accept the term Rohingya.”

In an unpublished interview, monk, Ven Pannasiha said:

“There are over 500,000 monks in Burma. There are only 450,000 soldiers… religious leaders have the power to grab people and attract them. And so, if the monks are united, the military cannot withstand it. Monks know that.”

969 and Ma Ba Tha are two of the biggest nationalist movements, both entailing extremist ideals.

They have long been known to have incited anti-Muslim thoughts among the mass populace of the Rakhine Buddhist community.

The 969

969 is a group of monks and their followers. It is excessively bound to extreme forms of ethnoreligious nationalism with unadulterated hatred towards Islam. Wirathu; their most well-known and actively poisoned spokesperson was sentenced to nine years imprisonment in 2003 by the military junta against the crime of instigating violence against Muslims while challenging the dictatorship. He has continued to preach hatred ever since his release in 2012. In an interview with the Global Post he stated:

“Muslims are like the African carp. They breed quickly and they are very violent and they eat their own kind. Even though they are minorities here, we are suffering under the burden they bring us,”

Ma Ba Tha has pursued a highly political and centralized approach to their anti-Muslim rhetoric ideology. Their leaders have ensured a strong portrayal of Islam as something culturally hostile to Burmese values, claiming it to be inherently violent, driven by an agenda to take over the country, region, and globe.

Present and Future of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

The violence that erupted in the Rakhine state in June and October 2012 displaced around 147,000 people, about 138,000 of them Rohingya Muslims.

The inevitably displaced Rohingya Muslims suffer enforced detention in camp complexes created on the outskirts of Sittwe, with more isolated versions situated in Pauk Taw, Mrauk U, Minbya, and Myebon. Aung Mingalar effectively entrenches the city’s remaining 4,500 Rohingya Muslims in grotesque ghettos. Predominantly Rohingya townships of Buthidaung and Maungdaw in northern Rakhine have been restricted to the public as securitized zones within which the people endure an excessively limited existence.

Over a million Rohingya Muslims have been in a consistently repetitive cycle of chaos with an abundance of violence and poverty surrounding their very reality as unwanted and downtrodden products of segregation. The aboriginal people of a country who were recognized as such by the very first President of that very nation-state itself, in 1959, have been effectively disenfranchised from the land that was once their own.

Hundreds of thousands face radicalized governmental policies, ensuring the denial of aid in neighboring Bangladesh, where an estimated 30,000 registered Rohingya refugees are living in United Nation camps.

The state, in cahoots with a misguided Rakhine community, categorically reject the term “Rohingya”, whilst the Rohingya Muslims repulsively deny the term “Bengali”. A deadlock situation ensues. The people need rights which cannot be guaranteed via citizenship alone should it eventually be granted. The blatant ignorance of human rights on multifaceted levels creates a genocidal reality that can no longer be denied.

About Ahmed Moin

Ahmed has always found solace in good literature and has relished any accumulation of words, versed in a manner that surprises him. He has always found passion in writing and works on honing his skills while freelancing professional content for a little over a year now. He’s currently volunteering at a local animal shelter in Lahore, Pakistan. Their activities can be followed via the following Facebook page. Donations are always needed and highly appreciated!

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