by Amina Khan
Rohingya women, men, and children are ruthlessly being executed by the Myanmar army as a form of ethnic cleansing. These Muslims are being hunted like animals, whilst Buddhists burn and behead them for simply being of Rohingya descent. Despite claims from leader Aung San Suu Kyi that allegations on the government’s participation in the Rohingya genocide are false, the facts don’t add up as suspicions still hover.
What sparked the Rohingya genocide?
Myanmar underwent a transition from military control to civilian democracy in 2010. One week after elections, Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest after being detained for nearly two decades. However, political oppression was still a key factor in Myanmar.
“Whether Aung San Suu Kyi is living in the prison of her house, or the prison of her country, does not change the fact that she, and the political opposition she represents, has been systematically silenced,” stated Barack Obama in 2010.
Whilst Aung San Suu Kyi collected her Nobel Peace Prize awarded to her in 2011, violence had sparked between Buddhists and Muslims in the Rakhine state. This results in Rohingya people, as of today, becoming the most persecuted people in the world as nearly 1.1 million people have fled and conformed into a refugee status or have been murdered under chilling circumstances.
In June 2012, a rape and murder were committed by three Muslim men against a Buddhist woman triggering a more forceful attack on Rohingya Muslims, killing 280 innocent victims as 125,000 Rohingya and other Muslims were displaced. This event has provoked the horrifying conflict between Buddhists and Muslims in the Rakhine state.
How Colonialism Has Affected the Events in Myanmar
After the British rule ended in 1948, the military regime in Myanmar began to cultivate their own sense of nationhood. The Rohingya were promised their independence during their war with Japan, yet this promise was nullified. The Rohingya were left unclaimed, thus their stripping of identity; but, by no means is an excuse for their brutal treatment.
In 1962, a military coup took place in Myanmar and in order to establish a mandate for them to rule, religion became the primary indication on proper citizenship. Therefore, Buddhism became harnessed as a sense of nationalism for Myanmar. Rohingyas were therefore labeled as “foreigners” and essentially were stripped of their identity being forced to flee in order to avoid the wrath of violence.
Why are Rohingya Muslims ostracized?
Rohingya Muslims are not legally recognized citizens due to the Union of Burma which was passed in 1948, but 135 other ethnicities are legally recognized. Shortly after in 1982, the Myanmar Nationality Act was passed which shunned the Rohingya and was even protested by the United Nations. As Rohingya Muslims are not considered citizens, they are revoked from receiving proper education and can have their property confiscated, amongst other dehumanizing terms. The local government has even latched forced labor onto Rohingya, some at the young age of seven.
Despite these restrictions on Rohingya, all Aung San Suu Kyi has to say on the matter of her involvement in the genocide is that it’s “fake news”.
However, on allegations against the government on its participation in the genocide, Al Jazeera, and Yale University Law School set out an 8-month long investigation receiving strong evidence proving the government’s wrongdoing; however, Aung San Suu Kyi had restricted UN access to the investigation as more international attention began magnetizing towards Myanmar’s affairs.
Is Israel assisting Myanmar with the Rohingya genocide?
According to an article by the Independent, Israel has still been aiding the Burma Army with military weapons, despite the heated violence against Rohingya. Not only are they helping with weapons, Israeli’s are even training Burmese special forces. However, Israel’s high court will decide on whether to ban arms sales to the country later this month after a petition by Israeli activists.
“Successive Israeli governments have been selling arms to the military dictatorship in Burma for years,” Ofer Neiman, an Israeli human rights activist, told Middle East Eye.
“This policy is strongly related to Israel’s oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian people. Weapons used against the Palestinians are being sold as ‘field-tested’ to some of the worst regimes on the planet.”
Why isn’t anyone helping?
The UN has been prohibited from helping with humanitarian aid as Rohingya are not receiving basic human rights to food, water, and medicine. The vivid inhumanity from the Myanmar government’s is blazingly disgusting.
Additionally, Turkey has offered to pay all expenses if Bangladesh took in Rohingya refugees in this moment of crisis, yet the Prime Minister of Bangladesh believes helping the Rohingya is not their “burden” to hold, according to an interview. However, more than 160,000 of the Rohingya minority have fled to Bangladesh over the years.
Myanmar’s army chief is justifying the murder of Rohingya as “unfinished business” from World War II. The Human Rights Watch has collected petrifying data from satellite images which clearly show villages ablaze.’
“This new satellite imagery shows the total destruction of a Muslim village, and prompts serious concerns that the level of destruction…may be far worse than originally thought,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
As a citizen, what can we do to help?
Sign a petition here, in order to pressure UN Security Council members to make the referral to open an investigation against the Myanmar government and their involvement with the Rohingya genocide.
Donate to Islamic Relief.
Please spread awareness on the topic by sharing this article.