Authorities sealed off villages in Myanmar’s only Muslim-majority region and in some cases beat and arrested people who refused to register with immigration officials, in what may be the most aggressive effort yet to force Rohingya to indicate they are illegal migrants from neighboring Bangladesh.
Immigration officials, border guards and members of the illegal-alien task force in the northern tip of Rakhine state — home to 90 percent of the country’s 1.3 million Rohingya — this year, in addition to questions about marriages, deaths and births, people were classified by ethnicity.
Residents said those who refused to take part suffered the consequences.
“We are trapped,” Khin Maung Win said last week. He said authorities started setting up police checkpoints outside his village, Kyee Kan Pyin, in mid-September, preventing people from leaving even to shop for food in local markets, work in surrounding paddies or take children to school.
“If we don’t have letters and paperwork showing we took part — that we are Bengali — we can’t leave,” he said.
Chris Lewa of the Arakan Project, which has been advocating on behalf of the Rohingya for more than a decade, said residents reported incidents of violence and abuse in at least 30 village tracts from June to late September.
Most worrying to many, the government has largely stood by as Buddhist extremists have targeted Rohingya, sometimes with machetes and bamboo clubs, saying they pose a threat to the country’s culture and traditions.
Almost all Rohingya were excluded from a U.N.-funded nationwide census earlier this year, the first in three decades, because they did not want to register as Bengalis. And Thein Sein is considering a“Rakhine Action Plan” that would make people who identify themselves as Rohingya not only ineligible for citizenship but candidates for detainment and possible deportation.
Most Rohingya have lived under apartheid-like conditions in northern Rakhine for decades, with limited access to adequate health care, education and jobs, as well as restrictions on travel and the right to practice their faith.
In 2012, Buddhist extremists killed up to 280 people and displaced tens of thousands of others. About 140,000 people of those forced from their homes continue to languish in crowded displacement camps further south, outside Sittwe, the Rakhine state capital.
Many villages were placed under lockdown, with police checkpoints set up to make sure only those who have cooperated could leave, more than a dozen residents confirmed in telephone interviews with The Associated Press.
In other villages, the names of influential residents were posted on community boards with verbal warnings that they face up to two years in jail if they fail to convince others to take part in the registration process, Lewa said. Other Rohingya say officials forced them to sign the papers at gunpoint, or threatened that they would end up in camps like those outside Sittwe if they didn’t comply, she said. In some cases residents say authorities have shown up after midnight and broken down doors to catch residents by surprise and pressure them to hand over family lists.
Villagers also have been kicked and beaten with clubs and arrested for refusing to take part, according to Lewa and residents interviewed by the AP.
Rohingya said they didn’t want to register family members because they worry the information might be used to deny them citizenship.
As international pressure mounts to end abuses against Rohingya, the government has agreed to provide citizenship to anyone who qualifies. But many Rohingya say they cannot meet the requirements, which include submitting documents proving that their families have been in Myanmar for at least three generations. And under the plan Thein Sein is considering, even that would not be enough for people who insist on calling themselves Rohingya rather than Bengali.
لأولئك الذين يرغبون في مواكبة الجرائم ضد الإنسانية التي ترتكب ضد إخواننا وأخواتنا المسلمين في جمهورية أفريقيا الوسطى (CAR) هذه هي صفحة الفيسبوك الخاصة بهم Cries Of CAR هذا هو حساب على تويتر Cries Of CAR
The treaty has allowed Israelis to travel freely to Bolivia without a visa since 1972.
Morales said the Gaza offensive shows “that Israel is not a guarantor of the principles of respect for life and the elementary precepts of rights that govern the peaceful and harmonious coexistence of our international community.”
Bolivia broke off diplomatic relations with Israel in 2009 over a previous military operation in Gaza.
In mid-July, Morales filed a request with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to prosecute Israel for “crimes against humanity.”
In her latest post, my colleague Rania Khalek makes reference to “a new racist chant mocking the more than two hundred children slaughtered by Israel’s merciless bombing campaign in Gaza: ‘Tomorrow there’s no school in Gaza, they don’t have any children left.’”
This video shows an Israeli mob actually singing in celebration of children’s deaths in the style of a soccer fans’ song: “In Gaza there’s no studying, No children are left there, Olé, olé, olé-olé-olé.”
The mob also incites directly against Ahmed Tibi and Haneen Zoabi, two prominent Palestinian citizens of Israel who are members of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.
The video of the 26 July event in Tel Aviv was published by Israeli journalist Haim Har-Zahav.
The words of the repulsive song have been translated for The Electronic Intifada by Dena Shunra:
Tibi – Ahmed Tibi
I wanted you to know
The next kid to be hurt will be your kid
I hate Tibi
I hate Tibi the terrorist.
Tibi – is dead!
Tibi – is dead!
Tibi – is dead!
Tibi is a terrorist.
Tibi is a terrorist.
Tibi is a terrorist.
They’ll take their papers away.
They’ll take their papers away.
They’ll take their papers away.
Olé, olé, olé-olé-olé
In Gaza there’s no studying
No children are left there,
Olé, olé, olé-olé-olé,
[Three lines, not entirely clear]
Who is getting nervous, I hear?
Zoabi, this here is the Land of Israel
This here is the Land of Israel, Zoabi
This here is the Land of the Jews
I hate you, I do, Zoabi
I hate all the Arabs.
Gaza is a graveyard
Gaza is a graveyard
Gaza is a graveyard
Gaza is a graveyard
Judging by the numbers of casualties on both sides in this almost one-month old war one would be led to the conclusion that Israel has resorted to disproportionate means in fighting a far less- capable enemy. That is as far as what meets the eye. But, it’s now obvious that the US and the UN are completely out of touch with the nature of this foe and are therefore not qualified to dictate or enforce the rules of this war – because when it comes to terror there is much more than meets the eye.
I wasn’t aware of this, but it seems that the nature of warfare has undergone a major shift over the years. Where wars were usually waged to defeat the opposing side, today it seems – and judging by the number of foul calls it would indicate – that today’s wars are fought to a draw. I mean, whoever heard of a timeout in war? An NBA Basketball game allows six timeouts for each team during the course of a game, but last I checked this is a war! We are at war with an enemy whose charter calls for the annihilation of our people. Nothing, then, can be considered disproportionate when we are fighting for our very right to live.
The sad reality is that Israel gets it, but its hands are being tied by world leaders who over the past six years have insisted they are such good friends with the Jewish state, that they know more regarding its interests than even they do. But there’s going to have to come a time where Israel feels threatened enough where it has no other choice but to defy international warnings – because this is life or death.
Most of the reports coming from Gazan officials and leaders since the start of this operation have been either largely exaggerated or patently false. The truth is, it’s not their fault,falsehood and deceit is part of the very fabric of who they are and that will never change. Still however, despite their propensity to lie, when your enemy tells you that they are bent on your destruction you believe them.
Similarly, when Khaled Meshal declares that no physical damage to Gaza will dampen their morale or weaken their resolve – they have to be believed. Our sage Gedalia the son of Achikam was given intelligence that Yishmael Ben Nesanyah was plotting to kill him. However, in his piety or rather naiveté Gedalia dismissed the report as a random act of gossip and paid no attention to it. To this day, the day following Rosh Hashana is commemorated as a fast day in the memory of Gedalia who was killed in cold blood on the second day of Rosh Hashana during the meal. They say the definition of insanity is repeating the same mistakes over and over. History is there to teach us lessons and the lesson here is that when your enemy swears to destroy you – you take him seriously.
Hamas has stated forthrightly that it idealizes death as much as Israel celebrates life. What other way then is there to deal with an enemy of this nature other than obliterate them completely?
News anchors such as those from CNN, BBC and Al-Jazeera have not missed an opportunity to point out the majority of innocent civilians who have lost their lives as a result of this war. But anyone who lives with rocket launchers installed or terror tunnels burrowed in or around the vicinity of their home cannot be considered an innocent civilian. If you’ll counter, that Hamas has been seen abusing civilians who have attempted to leave their homes in response to Israeli warnings to leave – well then, your beginning to come to terms with the nature of this enemy which should automatically cause the rules of standard warfare to be suspended.
Everyone agrees that Israel has the right to defend itself as well as the right to exercise that right. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has declared it, Obama and Kerry have clearly stated that no one could be expected to sit idle as thousands of rockets rain down on the heads of its citizens, placing them in clear and present danger. It seems then that the only point of contention is regarding the measure of punishment meted out in this situation.
I will conclude with a question for all the humanitarians out there. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clearly stated at the outset of this incursion that his objective is to restore a sustainable quiet for the citizens of Israel. We have already established that it is the responsibility of every government to ensure the safety and security of its people.
“If political leaders and military experts determine that the only way to achieve its goal of sustaining quiet is through genocide is it then permissible to achieve those responsible goals?”
In mid-August 2013 an Egyptian friend of mine asked how I would assess the prospects of the nonviolent protests against the military coup. The Obama administration would turn a blind eye to one, two, or at most three bloodbaths, I predicted, but then would be forced by international public opinion to rein in the Egyptian army. As it happened, I was wrong. The massacres continued, enabling coup leaders to entrench their power and clamp down on the opposition. The obvious question is, Why did Gandhian nonviolence fail in Egypt?
In fact, it might have succeeded if, in the moment of truth, Egyptian secularists had not betrayed their avowed liberal values and effectively justified the mass slaughter.
Mahatma Gandhi conceived nonviolent resistance not as an act of martyrdom but as a practical, political tactic. To actively engage the broad public in support of a just cause, he believed, protesters had to make extraordinary personal sacrifices. The sight of their willingness to court physical injury and even death would evoke pity, then outrage and at some point active participation by sympathetic but normally quiescent bystanders. However, a protest movement could only elicit public support, according to Gandhi, if it satisfied a pair of conditions. It had to be “innocent” in both its means—that is, its tactics had to be nonviolent—and its ends—that is, its political goal had be perceived as just.
Although protesters in Egypt objectively met the threshold requirements of successful nonviolence, their heroic acts of self-sacrifice, marching unarmed, knowingly and willingly, into the line of fire, in order to restore a democratically elected government, failed to arouse global indignation. This was almost certainly because Egyptian secularists, who represent themselves, and command authority abroad, as principled, robust defenders of human rights, distorted the unfolding tragedy.
First, in a textbook display of false equivalence, Egyptian secularists declared that the means (tactics) of both sides were equally abhorrent. After the first army bloodbath on July 8, when several score nonviolent protesters were gunned down, Mohamed ElBaradei, who was uniquely placed to rattle the conscience of the West (he is a respected diplomat and Nobel Peace Prize winner), sermonized, “Violence begets violence and should be strongly condemned.” In mid-August, when the army had already killed hundreds of nonviolent protesters, novelist Ahdaf Soueif found cause to extenuate the bloodletting: “We need, of course, to remember that the sit-ins were to varying degrees armed…. We need to remember that the sit-ins caused death.” Even if a handful of protesters were armed (was there ever a nonviolent resistance that wasn’t infiltrated by the random armed protester?), the balance sheet of deaths attested to the fact that Egypt had witnessed not armed battles but a one-sided, protracted massacre.
Second, Egyptian secularists put the ends (goals) of the coup leaders and nonviolent protesters on the same plane of being either equally illegitimate (or equally democratic) and consequently equally undeserving (or equally deserving) of support. The question was put to Heba Morayef of Human Rights Watch, how did it come to pass that Egyptians who had “fought so hard for democracy…are now trying so hard to overthrow their first democratically elected government?”
I think that’s not really the question. I think the question is: Why did 14 million people turn out on June 30th? I think some of the coverage of this crisis in Egypt right now is oversimplifying it as a choice between democracy or the military and it’s really far more complex than that.
Because 14 million people is the biggest demonstration that Egypt has ever seen and that was not a pro-military demonstration. That was an anti-Morsi demonstration. So the question is: Why have we got to a moment where 14 million people turn out in opposition to President Morsi’s rule and what has he done in the last year to bring us to this moment? Now there are those at this point who would welcome the military in with open arms. There are others who have deep reservations about …a return of the military to power. But I think the question is not purely one of legitimacy versus a coup.[*]
But was the choice between “democracy or the military” and “legitimacy versus a coup” really “oversimplifying” a “far more complex” situation? Morsi was the democratically elected president of Egypt. If a majority of Egyptians had come to sour on his rule by the end of June 2013, they could have impeached him if and when they won parliamentary elections, slated for a few months later. (No one has alleged that Morsi intended to cancel these elections.) For an authentic defender of democratic institutions and human rights, it’s hard to conceive a simpler choice.
The nonviolent resistance thus failed because Egyptian secularists, who enjoyed the status of Egypt’s moral arbiters and authoritative interlocutors in the West, falsely depicted the protesters’ means and ends as tainted. It was alleged that they were as culpable as coup leaders of deploying violence, and that their claim on democratic legitimacy was no better than that of coup leaders. Had respected secularists such as ElBaradei, Soueif, and Morayef unequivocally condemned the coup and concomitant bloodbaths, it would have put Washington in an untenable position. President Obama might have been compelled to act more decisively, which in turn could have caused the coup leaders to think twice whether to proceed with their murderous repression. The bottom line is, the equivocations, rationalizations and misrepresentations of Egyptian secularists enabled the coup leaders to drown the nonviolent resistance in a river of blood.
It remains to inquire, What accounts for the Egyptian secularists’ betrayal of their avowed principles? It sprang, as informed commentators such as Khaled Abou El Fadl have pointed out, from arrogance compounded by contempt for religion.[†] On the one hand, secularists are all for democracy so long as everyone in the room acknowledges they are the most enlightened and should be placed in charge. On the other hand, the pervasive belief among secularists nowadays is that religion epitomizes backwardness. Consequently, when forced to choose between an elected religious party and a secular military coup, secularists embraced the coup as the lesser of two evils. They were not duped by the military but, rather, made a conscious—or, to be exact, subconscious—decision to go along with it.
This secular revulsion of religious people is of relatively recent vintage. True, V.I. Lenin said that only a militant atheist could be a communist. But in the not-so-distant past, an amicable modus vivendi had been worked out between secular and religious progressives. Famed leftwing journalist Alexander Cockburn, recalling his father’s generation (spanning the 20th century), observed that atheists then “lived in a world and consorted with people for whom religion had profound meaning, often inspiring them to acts of nobility and extraordinary self-sacrifice.” Whereas in the secular mindset nowadays, he continued, “religious people are stupid,” in fact “they weren’t stupid, and the atheists…didn’t deride them, but cheerfully swapped quotations from the Sermon on the Mount. The context was one of respect and mutual striving for a better world.” Indeed, many signature progressive causes of my own generation, whether it be the U.S. Civil Rights Movement or the struggles in Central America, were steeped in religion.
What, then, has changed? Before, religion suffused the spiritual ambiance, while the hard core consisted of tangible political struggles for justice that resonated among secularists: equal rights under the law, anti-imperialism, the right of the poor to a decent life. But in Egypt, religion was not, so to speak, background music; it was the heart of the Muslim Brotherhood’s self-image and of the image it projected, while demands for social justice were submerged in, sidelined by, subordinated to, or at the periphery of this religious identity. It was, if not all, then nearly all, about religion. In the meantime, sexual politics—women’s rights, gay rights, etc.—have come to dominate and define broad sectors of secular culture, often overshadowing and taking precedence over solidarity with workers, the poor and outcast, which used to be at the center, and the natural constituency, of progressive secular politics.[‡] These “litmus test” sexual identity issues have come to decide whether one falls on the “backward” or “enlightened” side of the great divide. The Muslim Brothers in Egypt (like Christian conservatives in the U.S.) fall squarely on the “backward” side.
It’s pointless trying to adjudicate which side is “backward” and which side “enlightened,” if only because so much of the debate is culturally bound, and it’s nearly impossible to predict the verdict that History will render a century from now. Consider the question of dress codes.
When Europeans came to North America, they decided that the Natives must be savages because they paraded their (comparatively) naked bodies in public. Now Europeans have decided that Muslim society is backward because Muslim women are (comparatively) overdressed. The simple facts are, every culture has a dress code, where it draws the line on the permissible versus impermissible is often arbitrary—what, pray tell, is the point of string bathing suits?—and cannot possibly constitute an inherent indicator of a progressive versus regressive society. Neither believers nor nonbelievers can, in retrospect, claim a monopoly on enlightened behavior. Secularists, for example, were certainly correct when they championed the rights of workers and racial minorities, but they were also dead wrong when they lent support, in the name of Science and Progress, to Eugenics (including forced sterilization of “defective” people), and to the horrors of Stalinism.
The critical question before us is, Can political alliances yet be formed between the Muslim Brotherhood and secularists? My sense is, only if both sides radically reorder their priorities, focusing on those commons concerns—the rule of law, equality under the law, the rights of workers and the poor—that enabled mutually beneficial and mutually respectful alliances to be forged between religious and secular constituencies in the past. If rational grounds for hope exist, it’s because each side needs the other. Each side has something to learn and gain from the other, and the combined energies of both are needed if the current nightmare is ever to end.
[*] For argument’s sake, I set aside that (1) this representative of a respected human rights organization uncritically repeated the absurd crowd figures touted by the military, and (2) in her mind the critical question was what Morsi, and Morsi alone, had done to cause people to take to the streets, as if those who, from the day after the revolution, set out to restore the ancient regime played no part in the ensuing social discontent and unrest.
[†] Professor Abou El Fadl’s commentary right after the coup puts the lie to the alibi of Egyptian secularists that its outcome could not have been predicted. Already on July 9, 2013, he wrote, “In a year from now, the young dreamy youth who rejoiced and danced when Morsi was overthrown will find themselves in the next cell block to the Brotherhood.”
[‡] Women’s rights now trump the rights of the working poor even as women constitute the majority among them. Thus, liberal feminists figured among President Bill Clinton’s most ardent supporters because of his public embrace of women’s issues such as abortion rights, although his policies such as “welfare reform” devastated the lives of the poor and women of color. On the other hand, the election of Bill de Blasio as mayor of New York City resulted from a successful marriage between the working-class politics of the Old Left and the identity politics (personified by de Blasio’s spouse and children) of the post-New Left.
The scathing attacks against Field Marshall Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, have been relentless and are only gaining steam.
This is an Arabic poem, by Jihad Al-Torbani – جهاد الترباني:
انتخبوا العرص انتخبوا العرص سليل العار انتخبوا من حرق الثوار انتخبوا حبيبًا للأوغاد انتخبوا عدوًا للأخيار انتخبوا من سحق الأطفال انتخبوا من سجن الأحرار عودوا وانتخبوا فرعونًا وارضوا بدمار بعد دمار فرعون بأرضكم استعلى … وبشعبه آلهة قد صار يا مصر شبابك قد ملوا… من حكم العسكر والفجار لن يرضى شبابك إرهابًا من صنع الشرطة والأشرار لن يخش رجالك تقتيلًا لن تخشى نساؤك صوت النار لن يرض العيش بإذلال … قوم كسروا قيد الأسوار هي حكمة تاريخ كتبت … فاسمع ما جاء من الأخبار في بيت قصيد تحفظه.. وتخلده بين الآشعار لا خير بأرض يحكمها عرص وبدا من غير وقار انتخبوا
An OIC (Organization of Islamic Countries) delegation, which included foreign ministers and senior officials from its member states Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Djibouti, and Bangladesh recently visited Myanmar. It was led by the OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. The OIC delegation pressed for unhindered access of humanitarian aid to all affected people and communities, including Rakhine (Arakan) State, without any discrimination. They also stressed the need for clarifying misconceptions and misunderstandings on both sides and for building mutual trust and interfaith community harmony.
As has become the norm in this mostly Buddhist country that has come to signify the den of intolerance and hatred of our time, the OIC delegation was, however, met by angry demonstrators, esp. in the Rakhine state, which has seen more than its share of ethnic cleansing of the Muslim minorities. Some 3,000 protesters, led by Buddhist monks, staged their demonstrations in Rakhine’s capital Sittwe (formerly called Akyab) as they toured camps housing mostly displaced Rohingya refugees as well as some ethnic Rakhines and met local officials. The delegation’s visit to Myanmar’s commercial capital Yangon on Friday also saw nearly 1,000 people, carrying “No OIC” placards.
The protests of this kind – organized by the members of the central government and local administration, Buddhist politicians and monks – are nothing new. These are a show of defiance against everything noble and humane. These dark, hideous and savage forces of Theravada Buddhism want to hide their monumental crimes against humanity and want to starve to death the remnants of the Muslim minority who mostly now live in abject poverty as Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in squalid camps.
Last year, the Buddhist government similarly did not allow the fact finding missions from international agencies, including the OIC, to tour the ethnically cleansed territories. It also did not allow opening up an OIC office in the Rakhine state. In the midst of government-sponsored protest demonstrations, the OIC had to pack up and leave, which only emboldened the savage regime and its supporters within the apartheid state to repeat their crimes against the Rohingya – who, according to the UN, are the most persecuted people on earth – and other Muslim minorities.
So the plight of the Rohingya and other Muslim minorities continues unabated inside apartheid Myanmar. In ethnic cleansing drives in this country, the victims are usually the Rohingyas and yet they end up in the prisons (and not the Buddhist marauders) overwhelmingly. A peaceful demonstration may cost them their lives in this Mogher Mulluk.
The same security forces which did nothing to stop lynching of Muslim victims have no moral qualms in killing them unprovoked for staging a peaceful demonstration.
As has been noted by the Associated Press on November 24, 600 Rohingya Muslim men were recently thrown in jail in this remote corner of Myanmar during a ruthless security crackdown that followed sectarian violence, and among one in 10 who didn’t make it out alive.
An eyewitness described that when she visited the jail, the cells were crammed with men, hands chained behind their backs, several stripped naked. Many showed signs of torture. Her husband, Mohammad Yasim, was doubled over, vomiting blood, his hip bone shattered. “We were all crying so loudly the walls of the prison could have collapsed,” the 40-year-old widow said. “They killed him soon after that,”she said of her husband. Her account was corroborated by her father, her 10-year-old son and a neighbor. “Other prisoners told us soldiers took his corpse and threw it in the forest.” “We didn’t even have a chance to see his body,” she said.
In early November, three Rohingyas were killed. One Rohingya man was murdered by Rakhine villagers when collecting firewood in the forest. Another two were killed and four wounded after riot police opened fire during clashes. In Pauktaw Township the situation remained tense with many of the remaining Rohingya villagers being forced into an IDP camp allegedly for their own security by army and police.
Many are afraid because the camp, funded by an international aid group, is very close to a village with only Buddhist Rakhines.
Buddhist security forces have been allowed to operate with impunity. As a result of such brutality, unfathomed discrimination by state authorities and their obvious collusion with the Rakhine (Magh) extremists towards never-ending pogroms life has only gotten worse for Rohingya.
They see no way out but to board rickety boats for Bangladesh, or make the perilous journey to Malaysia. Many have already drowned trying when their boats capsized.
In spite of Myanmar’s Government’s zealous efforts to hide its complicity and crimes against humanity, truth has been leaking out. Consider, for instance, the testimony of Mr. Thomas H. Andrews, President and CEO of United to End Genocide on September 19, 2013 in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs,
Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. In that, he provided his first-hand account of visits made in Burma. He travelled to Rakhine State in the west where he visited eight IDP camps and spoke with dozens of desperate IDPs. He also travelled to the central and northern area of Mandalay and the city of Meiktila where he visited neighborhoods and met with many people and families who continue to live in fear and desperation. He also came across Muslims in Rangoon whose fear and intimidation was on the rise in Myanmar.
During his trip, Mr. Andrews was blocked by security forces at roadside checkpoints from visiting IDP camps. The reason was clear. They did not want him to hear what had happened to the Muslim community inside Myanmar.
Nevertheless, the signs of destruction were everywhere and he was able to see burnt out buildings and destroyed Mosques, meet with those who had to literally run for their lives after watching their homes and everything that they had worked for destroyed. They were living in abject poverty in makeshift camps wanting desperately to return and rebuild their village but also utterly terrified by the Buddhist mobs, Myanmar security forces and police even more.
Throughout his travels, Mr. Andrews heard stories of systematic discrimination, isolation and blanket oppression where every aspect of life of members of the Muslim minority was controlled.
People described living in constant fear of violence within their communities and intimidation by authorities. The right to move from one village – or even one street – to another, the right to earn a living, to get married, to have more than two children and even the right to live with one’s own family was often dependent on the permission of authorities and most often only after the payment of bribes.
He found that hate speech – a precursor of genocide – was prevalent in Burma. Fueling it was a systematic, well organized and well funded campaign of hatred and bigotry known as “969”. It followed a well established pattern:
1) Campaign organizers arrive in a village, distributing DVDs, pamphlets and stickers that warn Buddhists that their religion and their country were in peril as Muslims seek to eliminate both and establish a Muslim caliphate;
2) Villages are invited to a special community event to hear a message from venerable Buddhist monks about how they can protect their families, nation and religion;
3) Radical nationalist monks arrive at the designated time and deliver fiery hate-filled speeches warning that Muslims are plotting to destroy Buddhism and take control of the nation. Villages are encouraged to support the movement by signing petitions, and displaying “969” stickers on their homes and businesses. They are encouraged to only patronize those who displayed the stickers and boycott any Muslim owned or operated business.
As I have documented earlier, the hateful rhetoric of these radical Rakhine monks and the “969” campaign is ominously reminiscent of the hateful propaganda directed at the Tutsi population and their sympathizers in the lead up and during the Rwandan genocide, let alone the Nazi-led Holocaust more than half a century earlier.
Demanding the expulsion of all Rohingya from Burma, these monks urge the local population to sever all relations with not only the Rohingya, but also with what are described as their “sympathizers”. Labeled as national traitors, those Buddhists who associate with Rohingya Muslims also face intimidation and the threat of violence.
Gregory Stenton, President of Genocide Watch, documented eight stages of genocide – Classification,
Symbolization, Dehumanization, Organization, Polarization, Preparation, Extermination and Denial. Human rights watchers have long concluded that the Rohingyas are facing genocide in Myanmar, and this crime must be stopped.
Last week (Tuesday, November 19) the U.N. General Assembly’s human rights committee passed a resolution urging Myanmar to give the stateless Rohingya minority equal access to citizenship and to crack down on Buddhist violence against them and other Muslims.
In its response, an official of the Myanmar government said that it will not allow itself to be pressured by a U.N. resolution. Presidential spokesman Ye Htut insisted in a posting on his Facebook page that the government does not recognize that there is a group called Rohingya, referring to them instead as Bengalis.
As I have noted above, such defiance by the rogue Myanmar regime is not new and unless checked vehemently it will continue to defy the world community.
The elimination of Muslims there has become a national project enjoying widespread support from Nobel disgrace Suu Kyi to president Thein Sein.
Thus, the UN has to go beyond passing soft resolutions that don’t bite the rogue regime.
A reading of history shows that genocide succeeds when state sovereignty blocks international responsibility to protect its persecuted group. It continues due to lack of authoritative international institutions to predict it and call it as such. It happens due to lack of ready rapid response forces to stop it and lack of political will to peacefully prevent it and to forcefully intervene to stop it.
Since founding of the UN, at least 45 genocides and politicides have taken place in our world resulting in deaths of some 70 million people. It is a shameful record that needs to be improved.
The time for soft talk with Myanmar is over. It is high time for the UN Security Council to authorize armed intervention in Myanmar by a UN force under Chapter Seven of the UN Charter.
The Mandate must include protection of Rohingya civilians and humanitarian workers and a No Fly Zone over the Rakhine state. The Rules of Engagement must be robust and include aggressive prevention of killing. The major military powers (e.g., the USA, Russia and the UK) must provide leadership, logistics, airlift, communications, and financing.
If Myanmar will not permit entry, its UN membership should be suspended. Myanmar’s leaders should be tried in an international criminal court for committing and aiding crimes against humanity. Nothing short of these will be able to stop these savage criminals. Sooner the better!
Dr Habib Siddiqui has authored 10 books. His latest book – Devotional Stories – is now available from A.S. Noordeen, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.