Thursday, November 29, 2012

NOBEL PEACE LAUREATE MAIREAD MAGUIRE'S CALL TO END BURMESE GOVERNMENT LED REPRESSION AGAINST BURMA’S ROHINGYA MUSLIMS

NOBEL PEACE LAUREATE MAIREAD MAGUIRE HAS CALLED ON UN AND INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO ACT URGENTLY TO END BURMESE GOVERNMENT LED REPRESSION AGAINST BURMA’S ROHINGYA MUSLIMS.


NOBEL PEACE LAUREATE MAIREAD MAGUIRE RECENTLY SAID:

‘THE STATELESS ROHINGYAS OF BURMA, HAVE SUFFERED FROM PERSECUTION AND DISCRIMINATION FOR DECADES AND ARE NOW FACING INTER-COMMUNAL VIOLENCE WHICH HAS EVOLVED INTO LARGE-SCALE STATE SPONSORED VIOLENCE AGAINST THEM.

SHE SAID ‘THE UN AND INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HAVE A MORAL AND LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY TO ACT NOW AND STEP UP DIPLOMATIC AND NONVIOLENT METHODS TO STOP THE PERSECUTION AND SUFFERING OF THE ROHINGYA PEOPLE AND TO END THE BURMESE GOVERNMENT LED ABUSE OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND REPRESSION AGAINST THE ROHINGYAS.’


In her earlier letter in July to Burma Campaign, UK, she wrote:
"BURMESE POLICE, SECURITY FORCES AND SOLDIERS ARE RAPING, LOOTING, TORTURING AND ARBITARILY KILLING ROHINGYA PEOPLE.


THERE HAVE BEEN MASS ARRESTS WITH ROHINGYA PEOPLE KEPT IN DETENTION CAMPS WITHOUT TRIAL, WITHOUT FOOD OR MEDICAL SERVICES.

AROUND 100,000 INTERNALLY DISPLACED PEOPLE ARE IN VARIOUS LOCATIONS, THE VAST MAJORITY WITHOUT RECEIVING PROPER ASSISTANCE BECAUSE THEY ARE ETHNIC ROHINGYA. AID IS MOSTLY BEING BLOCKED BY THE GOVERNMENT OR WHERE ALLOWED ROHINGYA PEOPLE HAVE BEEN EXCLUDED.

UNKNOWN THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE FLED TO BANGLADESH WHERE THEY ARE GETTING NO AID OR PROTECTION, WHILE THOUSANDS MORE ARE TURNED BACK BY THE GOVERNMENT OF BANGLADESH, LITERALLY AT GUNPOINT, IN VIOLATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW.

LOCAL AUTHORITIES ARE REFUSING TO ALLOW MANY ROHINGYA PEOPLE BACK TO SOME VILLAGES, SHOPS AND HOMES IN A POLICY THAT APPEARS DESIGNED TO ‘CLEANSE’ THESE AREAS OF ROHINGYA PEOPLE.

THE PRESIDENT OF BURMA HAS PROPOSED A POLICY THAT AMOUNTS TO ETHNIC CLEANSING ASKING THE UNITED NATIONS TO ARRANGE FOR ROHINGYA PEOPLE TO BE REMOVED FROM BURMA AND SENT TO THIRD COUNTRIES."




Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Carlos Galache's article on the Rohingyas of Burma - What Obama Didn't Say

Carlos Sardina Galache has done a great job analyzing President Obama's recent trip to Burma (Myanmar). He says, "For decades, the regime has been fostering ethno-racial hatred against Rohingya Muslims to deflect the majority’s attention away from the myriad political and economic problems plaguing the Burmese population and to pit the staunchly nationalistic Arakanese against an enemy other than the central government.
General Ne Win’s regime rendered the Rohingya stateless in 1982, when the government passed a law that denied the group citizenship by alleging that they were not one of the 135 ethnic groups that lived in Burma before the first Anglo-Burmese war of 1824. This is a hotly contested point among scholars, but there are references as early as 1820 to the “Rooinga” as the “Mahommedans who have been long settled” in Arakan."
Several of my own articles have shown that there is absolutely no doubt that Rohingyas are the descendants of the original inhabitants of Arakan who had settled hundreds of years before the Rakhine Buddhists settled there. The British inquiry report of 1940 also mentions that they were indigenous to Arakan and cannot be considered Indian immigrants who had temporarily settled in Burma during the British occupation of Burma.

 You can read the full article by clicking here.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Rohingya Question - Part 1


To many Burmese and Rakhine Buddhists of today’s Myanmar the existence of the non-Buddhist Rohingya people is mostly seen as a direct result of Indian, or more particularly, Bengali immigration during the post-1826 era of British occupation of the territories. To them, the Rohingya history starts with the British occupation of Burma, dating back to 1826 after the First Anglo-Burmese War of 1824-26 in which Arakan and Tenasserim came under the East India Company, with its bases in Calcutta (today’s Kolkata in West Bengal of India). The so-called Indian immigration to Burma is intimately linked with the colonial administration’s desire to transform Burma into a rice bowl for the British Empire.
In this paper an attempt is made to reappraise the events during the British occupation of Burma starting with its annexation of Arakan and its commercial attractiveness which drew people from other parts of the region to settle – mostly temporarily – there. The questionable influx of Bengalis, or more particularly Chittagonians (from nearby Chittagong District of British Bengal), to beef up the number of Arakanese Muslims, especially, the Rohingyas of Burma is also examined from available sources.
The First Anglo-Burmese War
First Anglo-Burmese War of 1824-26, the first of the three wars fought between the Burmese Empire (Kingdom of Ava) and the British in the 19th century, dealt a crushing blow to the Burmese pride beginning the end of their independence. The third Burmese Empire, founded by Alaungpaya just over half a century ago, was crippled and forced to pay an indemnity of one million pounds sterling, and sign a commercial treaty. The British would make two more wars against a crippled Burma, and swallow up the entire country by 1885.
The outcome of that war was a matter of great relief for the surviving inhabitants of Arakan - Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists, who were savagely persecuted during the long rule of Bodawpaya (1780-1819), the fanatic, blood-thirsty Buddhist monarch who had fathered 62 sons and 58 daughters by nearly 200 consorts. Bodawpaya, like all fourth brothers in Burmese folklore, was an eccentric and unpredictable figure who grew into a despot and a tyrant. His blood-baths had secured his throne against his rivals and had let to the mass exodus of the vanquished people. In Lower Burma tens of thousands of Mons had fled to Siam (today’s Thailand). In Arakan his invasion, led by his son in 1784, let to the massacre of tens of thousands of Arakanese Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists. He had no respect for the past and had destroyed mosques and Muslim shrines that once dotted the shorelines of Arakan. He claimed himself to be a Future Buddha and proclaimed that all monks must wear their robes in the orthodox manner. He ordered the study of the Buddhist scriptures by all laymen and laywomen, and built pagodas and Buddhist monasteries from exorbitant taxes and revenues he charged for such pet projects. 
Bodawpaya’s Burmese subjects looked upon him with admiration and love, and occasionally amusement. But his Arakanese subjects hated him. Speaking about the Burmese cruelty, historian G.E. Harvey said that to break the spirit of the people, “they would drive men, women and children into bamboo enclosures and burn them alive by the hundreds.” This resulted in the depopulation of minority groups such that “there are valleys where even today the people have scarcely recovered their original numbers, and men still speak with a shudder of ‘manar upadrap’ (the oppression of the Burmese).

During Bodawpaya’s tyrannical rule, some 200,000 Arakanese fled to Bengal (today’s Bangladesh). His forces enslaved 20,000 Arakanese – including 3,700 Muslims (known as the ‘Thum Htaung Khunya (Three thousand seven hundred)’) – who were forced to carry the Maha Muni statue to Amarapura. Thousands of Arakanese were forced to widen a mountain pass to enable the statue to pass through. When the Arakanese protested against Burmese persecution, the Burmese army became more arrogant and started to deport them to Burma for re-settlement there. When in 1785 Bodawpaya invaded Siam, Arakanese levies were impressed for service in those expeditions.
Bodawpaya also built a number of temples, including a large temple at Mingun on the opposite bank of the river above Ava. He ordered enslaved Siamese and Arakanese craftsmen to work together and cast a great bell for the temple. Mingun was infested with mosquitoes and people working there were very prone to malaria attack. Learning of the shortage of labor for king’s project, the army in Arakan deported more Arakanese to Mingun. To pay for his project, the king raised many taxes. Burdened by such taxes, many inhabitants whispered, “When the pagoda (at Mingun) is completed, the great king shall die.” As noted by Burmese historian Maung Htin Aung, it was not a mere protest but a bitter curse.

Since its conquest and the removal of its great image, Arakan had been restless, and the Burmese army did not dare withdraw lest rebellion should break out. According to Aung, “After ten years the Arakanese had suffered so much that even the presence of the army could no longer intimidate them, and in 1794 they rose in rebellion, led by one of their chiefs. The rebellion was easily suppressed but the survivors crossed the frontier into British territory (of Bengal)." The Burmese troops followed them and camped inside Bengal, who were asked by a British force to withdraw. Subsequently, an agreement was reached between the two sides in which the Burmese would send a request in writing to the British authorities for any such hot pursuits. Nevertheless, Arakanese rebels became active again, esp. in 1799 when England was locked in battle with Napoleon’s France. A Burmese force pursued them inside Bengal where they were intervened by a small British force. The Burmese commander, realizing that he had acted unwisely, withdrew into Burmese territory, thus avoiding a general conflict. Lord Wellesley, the English governor general was angry and refused a written request from the Burmese military governor of Arakan for surrender of the rebels.
In 1811 an Arakanese leader, Chin Byan, who had been a refugee in Bengal, collected a force of refugees who had fled Arakan, and Bengali sympathizers, armed with latest British weapons, including cannons. He crossed into Arakan and attacked the Burmese forces, and occupied the capital. He declared himself king and appealed to the English governor general for assistance and recognition, which was, however, rejected. Soon Chin Byan was defeated by the Burmese forces, leading to his return to Bengal, where his movement was closely watched and he was prevented from crossing the frontier again.
With a long Anglo-Burmese frontier from Assam to Bengal and rebel activities originating from English-held territories and subsequent hot pursuits by the Burmese forces, it was only a question of time when a full-fledged war between the two neighbors would take place. Outside the Naaf River there was nothing to demarcate the borders between the two territories. When Lord Amherst, the governor general sent two officers to inspect the border area, they were arrested by the Burmese forces. British troops then occupied an island in the river, but the Burmese attacked and overcame them.
Overconfident with victory, the Burmese marched into Cachar in January 1824 and in the following March the British forces declared war against the Burmese. Instead of fighting in hard terrain, the British armada entered the harbor of Rangoon and took it by surprise on May 11, 1824. Pursuing a scorched-earth policy, the Burmese abandoned the city and instead chose to fortify positions outside the city. By mid-December of that year, the Burmese had lost 23,000 of their forces to superior cannon power of the British. General Maha Bandula who commanded the Burmese forces retreated to Danubyu at the head of the Irrawaddy delta. On April 1, 1825 the British launched a major attack and Bandula was killed by a mortar shell. The demoralized Burmese forces abandoned Danubyu. On the same day, Arakan also fell to the British forces. The British also took Prome.
A Burmese peace mission came to discuss terms with the British commander, but finding his demands too harsh they returned to the capital. The British fought on until they reached Yandabo, only fifty miles from Ava – the royal palace. The Burmese authorities were then left with no choice but to accept an even more cruel and harsh treaty on February 24, 1826. The territories of Arakan and Tenasserim were ceded to British Bengal along with Manipur and Assam.
The new governor general Lord Dalhousie famously said, “Among all the nations of the East, none is more arrogant in its pretensions of superiority, and none more pertinacious in its assertion of them, than the people of Burma.” With the humiliating defeat in 1826, thus began the process of taming one of the most arrogant of the nations!
While tens of thousands of Burmese forces died in the war, the casualty on the British side, fought jointly by English troops and Indian sepoys, was not small either. Some 15,000 were killed, and the cost of war was estimated at thirteen million pounds sterling, an enormous sum of money in those days. Burdened by indemnity, which left the Kingdom of Ava bankrupt, it took two more wars in 1852 and 1885 – much easier ones – to eventually swallow up the crippled country in its entirety.
Arakan was devastated in the 40-year long Burmese rule. Its capital city of Mrauk-U, once a highly cosmopolitan center, had became almost desolate. The once thriving kingdom, per account Mr. Paton who was the first British Controller of Civil Affairs in Arakan in 1826, had only a hundred thousand inhabitants – 60,000 Magh Buddhists, 30,000 Rohingya Muslims and 10,000 Burman Buddhists (remnants from the Burmese occupation era).
As noted by historian Robert Taylor, the establishment of British rule in Arakan (and Tenasserim) evoked little violent opposition after the surrender of king’s forces for a number of reasons: Arakan was not integrated administratively or ethnically into the pre-colonial order, significant rebellion and resistance had always persisted against the Burman rule, and being a marginal territory a significant proportion of its people had fled from one authority to another, who did not share either a religious or ethnic identity with the monarchical state, and indeed, who had little sense of loyalty or belonging to any state in the region. Arakanese of all faiths viewed the British as their liberators from the much reviled Burman rule. The rapid agricultural and commercial expansion of the region also greatly helped towards peaceful establishment of British colonial rule in Arakan.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Peter Lee's excellent review of the Rohingya Tragedy

Peter Lee has done an excellent job reviewing the Rohingya crisis in the Asia Times. You can read the piece by clicking here.

Understanding Rakhine Tactics to eliminate the Rohingyas of Myanmar

Here is an article posted in the Zaman by Nay San Lwin about the Rohingya issue and how the ultra-racist Rakhine Buddhist leadership wants to drive out the Rohingya the same way Palestinians are driven out of what was once historical Palestine. Interestingly, as I noted elsewhere, the tactics to demonize the Rohingya people follow the blueprint of fascist Nazi campaign against the Jews of Germany. What an irony!

ASEAN debate - Rohingya Genocide or not?


As I mentioned in my two last articles (click here and here), when a genocide takes place, all kinds of linguistic camouflage are often used by people within various governments and world bodies that don't want to take the responsibility of stopping it. 

When the Tutsis were victims of genocide in Rwanda, it was depicted as an ethnic trouble, a sectarian trouble, nothing too serious for the African Union to seriously intervene, or the UN to engage into. During the Bosnian crisis, for too long the genocide of the Bosnian Muslims was portrayed as a small matter without depicting correctly who were the targets of a genocidal campaign. The shelling of Bosnian civilian population was not even mentioned. Here see the excerpt from a book (Goldhagen's - Worse than War) - 
"Mike Habib, a high-ranking U.S. State Department official, in keeping with Secretary of State Warren Christopher’s principal objective regarding the Serb’s mass slaughter of Bosniaks (or Bosnian Muslims), which was to prevent the United States from effectively acting to stop the killing instructed Marshall Harris, the State Department’s country officer for Bosnia, to conceal the Serbs’ identities and therefore their responsibility for the transgressions. Habib told Harris not to write that the Serbs were shelling a certain town but rather that “there was shelling” or “there were reports of shelling.” Harris explains that Habib “didn’t want us to be seen pointing the finger when we weren’t going to do anything.”

What Surin Pitsuwan, the  ASEAN chief, is doing now is same as what Warren Chistopher had done in the early 1990s. ASEAN does not want to interfere in the internal affairs of a fellow rogue country. So a clear pattern of ethnic cleansing  in a genocidal campaign by the Rakhine terrorists and Myanmar regime against the Rohingya people is now doubted under linguistic gymnastics. 

Shame on ASEAN leadership for not having the guts to call a spade a spade!


Dr. Maung Zarni's must-read article on Hypes and Realities in Myanmar

Dr. Maung Zarni, an expert on Myanmar, who is now with the London School of Economics, has written a very thought-provoking article in the Nation, Bangkok. For anyone curious about understanding the mindset of the quasi-civil regime of ex-General Thein Sein and the hypes that come with his so-called reform government must read this article. Here is the link.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Five Women Nobel Laureates call for an end to violence in Myanmar

Five Nobel Laureates have written a letter to presidents Obama and Thein Sein to bring an end to the escalating and systematic violence in Rakhine State of Myanmar. The full letter can be seen here.

Burma: Satellite Images Show Widespread Attacks on Rohingya

Attacks and arson in late October by ethnic Arakanese Maghs (Rakhines) against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s Arakan State were at times carried out with the support of state security forces and local government officials, Human Rights Watch said lately. New satellite imagery obtained by Human Rights Watch shows extensive destruction of homes and other property in the predominantly Rohingya Muslim areas of Pauktaw, Mrauk-U, and Myebon townships, all sites of violence and displacement in late October 2012.

You can view the HRW report by clicking here. For an old report in August which says that the government could have stopped the violence, click here.

For the latest satellite images on Rohingya villages and towns destroyed by Rakhine Buddhist terrorists, click here, here, here and here.

HRW's Asia Director Brad Adams said, "President Obama should make clear to the Burmese president that the attacks on the Rohingya need to stop if the Burma government wants to avoid renewed sanctions and the suspension of renewed military-to-military dialogues with the United States. This is crunch time because Burma’s failure to contain sectarian violence in Arakan State and hold accountable those responsible calls into question the Burmese government’s stated goal of becoming a rights-respecting, multi-ethnic state."

Saturday, November 17, 2012

An Open Letter to President Obama



Dear Mr. President,

I am somewhat puzzled by your decision to visit Myanmar, which has the worst records of human rights in our planet. As an overture to your trip, your administration has recently lifted import restrictions on Myanmar, broadly authorizing Myanmar-origin goods to enter the United States for the first time in almost a decade. So, you can understand why like so many other concerned human rights activists, I am at a loss to understand your rationale for the trip.

I am sure your administration is well aware of Myanmar government’s apartheid policy and its monumental crimes against its own people, esp. the Rohingya, who remain the worst persecuted people in our time. The root cause of the Rohingya people lies with the 1982 Citizenship Law, which is at odds with scores of international laws. This law, formulated during the hated dictator Ne Win’s era, has effectively made the Rohingya people stateless in their ancestral homeland. President Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian government promised reform from its criminal past, but, sadly, continues to follow the footsteps of its evil predecessors and ignore the calls from the international community to reform or revoke that age-old racist and highly discriminatory law.

The Myanmar government, a member of the United Nations, continues to deny human rights of the Rohingya people, ignoring all of the thirty Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is guilty of practicing a slow but steady genocidal campaign against the unarmed Rohingya civilian population, which has resulted in forced exodus of nearly two million Rohingya people who live as unwanted refugees in many parts of our world, including countries like Thailand and Bangladesh. While this figure of 2 million – nearly half the Rohingya population – may not sound too large to you, but just reflect for a moment that this is equivalent to forced expulsion of 170 million of the U.S. population.

Surely, such a gross racism and bigotry has no place in our time! And yet, such evil twins have become the defining characteristics of today’s Myanmar and its chauvinist Buddhist population. It is no accident that a Myanmar diplomat U Ye Myint Aung working in Hong Kong called the dark brown-complexioned Rohingya people “ugly as ogres.” How would you, Mr. President, who is equally dark brown, have felt if such hateful comments were made about you, your wife and your children? Just take a look at the postings by racist Burmese and Rakhines in the Internet to understand the depth of ugliness of today’s Myanmarism.  It is no accident either that Suu Kyi, through her appalling silence, endorses the current extermination campaign against the Rohingya.

Mr. President, the United Nations defines ethnic cleansing as the ‘purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas.’ As the never-ending episodes of violence clearly demonstrate what the Rohingyas are facing is nothing short of ethnic cleansing by fellow Rakhines that is participated by state security forces, politicians, and government officers.

Ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people has truly become a national project in today’s Myanmar that enjoys wide support from within the Buddhist population. In recent months, the Rakhine Buddhist terrorists and their patrons and partners-in-crime within the government - central and local - have uprooted more than a hundred thousand Rohingya people, let alone torched hundreds of Rohingya villages and townships. Muslim parts of the most of the towns and cities within the Rakhine state have simply been wiped out, as if they are bombed out places reminiscent of the Second World War. With homes, shops, schools, businesses, mosques, crops and cattle burned down, the Rohingya people are forced to either risk the high seas to seek a shelter anywhere or settle for segregated prison-like concentrations camps outside Sittwe (Akyab) in the Rakhine state. Regrettably, the Government of Bangladesh continues to deny them shelter. In recent days, hundreds have died in the Bay of Bengal. Thousands have also died as a result of the latest genocidal campaign.

Deemed stateless by the ultra-racist 1982 Citizenship Law, where will the Rohingya go and who will shelter them? What excuse does the world community, especially the powerful nations like the USA, have to stop this greatest crime committed by the Myanmar government and its racist elements within the society in our time?

Mr. President, please, read US photographer Greg Constantine’s recently released book “Exiled to Nowhere: Burma’s Rohingya” to understand their human stories. He relates the story of 20-year-old Kashida who had to flee to Bangladesh with her husband. The Burmese authorities had denied her permission to get married, but when they discovered she had married in secret and was pregnant they took away all her family’s money and cows and goats. They forced Kashida to have an abortion, telling her: “This is not your country; you don’t have the right to reproduce here.” What atrocity and what brutality, and yet no relief for this unfortunate people! Rape has become a weapon of war to terrorize this people.
President Thein Sein is guilty of speaking with a forked tongue. He reneged on his agreement with the OIC. He is averse to international observers and an independent UN Commission of Inquiry. He likes to hide his regime’s crimes. He is not serious about securing the lives and properties of the non-Buddhist Rohingya people.

Last Friday, 3,000 Rakhine Buddhist terrorists surrounded the village of Paik Thae in Kyauktaw Township to evict the Muslim inhabitants. On Saturday morning some 200 security forces and Burmese Army soldiers entered the Muslim village of Anaryme in Pauktaw and ordered the Muslim villagers to leave their houses and the village. They have evicted these Muslims from their homes so that the security forces and soldiers can live in them. How can our generation allow such crimes of forced eviction?

As I write on Saturday, 50 ponds in Rohingya villages of U Hla Pe and Rwa Nyo Daung in Buthidaung Township have been found to be poisoned by Rakhine terrorists. It was aimed at killing the Rohingyas of those villages who depend on those ponds for drinking water.
Dear Mr. President, the list of such daily abuse, harassment, persecution and slow but steady genocidal campaign to wipe out the Rohingya and Muslim identity of Arakan and Myanmar is long and simply unacceptable. It needs to be stopped. Your visit to Myanmar should not and cannot be interpreted as an endorsement of the devious policies of the Thein Sein government which wants to push out the Rohingya minorities one way or another.
I, therefore, urge you to press President Thein Sein for genuine democratic reform, national reconciliation and restoration of human rights, and an end to genocidal campaign against the Rohingya and grant them citizenship on par with other ethnic nationalities.
I urge you to insist that if the Myanmar government is desirous of a friendly relationship with the USA, it must allow safe, timely and unhindered access of international media and rights groups across the Rakhine (Arakan) state to monitor and thus, act as a deterrent to any future pogrom against the Rohingya minorities. It must support UN peace-keeping forces being sent to Arakan for the purpose of preventing final solution of the Rohingya problem. It must also allow the UN to conduct unbiased inquiry and to send independent international observers to the troubled region. Like the Rohingyas in the Rakhine state, some 90,000 people have also been internally displaced in the Kachin state who are denied humanitarian aid by the Thein Sein regime. Therefore, you must stress the urgent need to allow international aid to reach the Rohingya and other affected minorities for security conditions that would allow them to return to their homes safely. The Myanmar government must also compensate the victims.

In 1994, Rwanda witnessed genocide in which more than half a million Tutsis were killed. The Clinton administration did not act quickly enough after the killing began and failed to call the crimes by their rightful name: genocide. Four years later, President Clinton and the First Lady Hilary Rodham Clinton visited the capital city of Kigali to apologize for the international community's failure to stop the genocide. I pray and hope that we shall be spared of a repeat of that sad episode of American indecision to come to the rescue of an endangered people.

Mr. President, the Rohingyas are victims of genocide in Myanmar. No linguistic camouflage of the yesteryears can hide this ugly truth. Please, have the moral authority to call a spade a spade, and stop this genocide, failing which, I am afraid, the Rohingyas will be an extinct community. Simply put, the human rights of the Rohingya and other affected minorities cannot take a backseat when they face extermination. It would be the greatest crime under your watch! Please, stop the extinction of the Rohingyas of Myanmar.

Alas Bangladesh!


Today, I came across a cartoon, sent by a classmate, published probably in a Bangladeshi newspaper, which says it all about corruption. The cartoon is about a class room setting in English grammar where a teacher asks the students to name the tense in the sentence: "One day our Bangladesh will become corruption-free." "Future 'impossible' tense," replies a student.

Yes, the student is right, or so it appears from Bangladesh's losing record to tame corruption within its society. It is sad to see that Bangladesh has not been able to tame this nasty beast. Through its laws, passed at the parliament, every government that comes to power, ensures that its own corrupt members could not be tried while in office. It ensures that the Anti-Corruption Commission remains a toothless and nail-less tiger, as so aptly complained by its Chairman, Mr. Golam Rahman. The government puts a limit on how much money the ACC can spend in legal fees to pursue cases against the corrupt people. Thus, the end result has been a zero-sum activity in which with highly paid lawyers like Barrister Rafiqul Haque defending the corruption of the accused, the latter comes out free - sometimes without even serving a single day in the prison. 

During my personal conversations a few times with Mr. Rahman, and his predecessor (Retd.) Lt. Gen. Hasan Mashud Chowdhury, I have been told about the scheme that the government plays. With so limited a budget/quota to appeal a corruption case (it is so pathetically low that you can't even find a reputable lawyer other than 'bat-talar ukil' to hire), it is not difficult to understand why the corrupt defendants always come out free from such cases. In spite of running handicapped, for our record, the ACC, run by some of the honest personalities of the nation, has not taken out any of the corruption cases from its own list against the members of the ruling party (as soon as the government will be replaced, they will have to face their turn). But when the system is meant to be run with hands and feet tied, with so much constraints imposed by the government, the ACC cannot win the battle against corruption even if an angel were to put in charge of routing such a vice from our society today. That is the sad reality!

A few suggestions that come to mind:
  • Making the ACC totally independent and autonomous by any account with enough funding so that it can afford all the legal fees required to fight corruption. It is simply not there today. 
  • Enacting laws in the parliament to ensure that the ACC can do its task without being handicapped and with the ability and power to go after any member of the society - at home or abroad - ruling party members and members in the opposition. 
  • Ensuring that the judges and magistrates are incorruptible by choosing people of honesty and integrity over partisan affiliation. It is a sad commentary that many see the judges and magistrates to be the worst individuals in the Bangladeshi society. There is hardly a judge today whose children are not studying in the western country without ANY scholarship. How can they afford such high tuition fees from their salaries?
  • Working towards building a corruption-free society at the grassroots by conscientious members of the society, which enables and empowers people to say enough is enough with corruption, and thereby refuses to elect corrupt members from Ward level up to the government level.
The sad fact is our society has become corrupt from top to bottom. Like a fish it started with the head and now every part is rotten. 

Some 14 centuries ago, Prophet Muhammad (S) said, "As you are so will be your leaders." Through its sad state of affairs, Bangladesh has epitomized that statement.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Jacques P. Leider is a disingenuous researcher

My attention has been drawn to an interview of Jacques P. Leider in the Irrawaddy.org. Here is my comment below:
Jacques Leider is long known for his academic dishonesty. In his own writings he mentioned that during the British era only a few dozens of Bengali migrants moved to Arakan, and now he claims that Rohingyas were not known until the 18th century. Well how about poet Syed Alaol's writings from the early 17th century? 
The greatest crime one can do is when it denies the rights of others to define themselves. The Rohingyas are a distinct religious and racial group from the Mongoloid- tribes of Burma, esp. the Rakhine Buddhists. By any definition in sociology, they are an ethnic group, whether or not Leider agrees. 
He has been parroting Aye Chan's flawed thesis to plant seeds of racism and intolerance, and thus justifying the current genocidal activities of the joint Myanmar-Rakhine criminal racist cliques. It is shameful activity for anyone claiming to be a researcher. He sounds more like hateful intellectual frauds of the Hitler era to marginalize the Rohingya people. Shame on him and shame on his disingenuous research!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Genocide of the Rohingyas of Myanmar



Part 1: Current Situation inside Arakan
Myanmar’s western state of Arakan (Rakhine) is again burning. In Mrauk-U, the former capital of the independent kingdom of Arakan, hundreds of young Rakhine Buddhist men were on the march: packed on the backs of pickups, on motorcycles, on trishaws, tuk-tuks and bicycles, but mostly on foot. They carried spears, swords, cleavers, bamboo staves, slingshots, crossbows and the occasional petrol bomb. Their target: the unarmed Rohingya Muslims. As the Economist (dated Nov. 3, 2012) of the UK noted, one Buddhist terrorist tugged at an imaginary beard and made a grisly throat-cutting gesture.

Sadly, Mrauk-U is not the only town where Rohingya Muslims are facing a genocidal campaign at the hands of Rakhine terrorists. From the reports collected inside Myanmar, there is little doubt that the Rakhine Buddhist terrorists, aided by local and central government politicians, police and security forces, are carrying out a pre-meditated genocidal campaign to exterminate and drive out every Rohingya of Burma (Myanmar). So atrocious and criminal this campaign is even the president of Myanmar, who had previously tried to hide such targeted violence, had to admit on Friday, October 26 (as reported in the pro-government newspaper the New Light of Myanmar) that eight mosques (Muslim houses of worship) and 2,000 of Rohingya homes were torched to completely destroy these. His spokesman told the BBC this weekend that "there have been incidents of whole villages and parts of the towns being burnt down in Rakhine state." The actual facts and figures, however, are much worse!

It is feared that in the last week of October at least 5,000 Rohingya homes were burned to ashes. Satellite imagery shows the utter destruction of a Muslim quarter of the coastal town of Kyaukphyu, from where oil-and-gas pipelines are to cross Myanmar to China. In this latest genocidal campaign, the Muslim villages and localities in townships are cordoned off and fire bombed. Anyone trying to escape from their burned homes is shot dead by the Rakhine Buddhist terrorists and their patrons within the government. Racist Rakhine politicians and monks are creating an environment of racial/religious hatred and intolerance which justifies all types of violence against the unarmed Rohingya population. Many Rohingyas have, therefore, tried to escape to the forest or the open seas, only to be hunted down there, too. Last week, hundreds died when their boats sank in the Bay of Bengal. Others are forced to sneak out to Bangladesh. Denied entry, many have ended up in squalid camps in Sittwe (Akyab) to join others who have been confined there since early June. Dozens of Rohingya girls were also kidnapped by the Rakhine terrorists to use rape and kidnap as weapons of war to terrorize the Rohingya populace.

It is an all out extermination campaign against the Rohingyas of Myanmar. In a statement dated Thursday, October 25, Ashok Nigam, a United Nations official in Myanmar, said, "The UN is alarmed by reports of displacements and destruction.” He said that access to all affected people is critical and appealed for immediate and unconditional access to all communities in accordance with humanitarian principles.

As I have pointed out earlier in my speeches and writings, the Myanmar government wants to hide its heinous crimes against the Rohingya people and, thus, have not allowed access of the international media, NGOs, aid groups and even the UN to the troubled region to investigate, monitor and assess the scale of the violence. Since the elimination of the Rohingya people one way or another is the declared state objective, no aid has reached from the Myanmar government agencies to the Muslim victims. And what is worse, even the relief materials sent from the OIC and the Islamic Relief have not reached the intended Rohingya victims. Less than 10% of such aids have trickled down to the victims. The Myanmar government, thanks to the state-managed protests and demonstrations in October by racist Buddhists that included monks, has also barred the OIC and Muslim relief agencies from opening offices inside the Rakhine state to help the Rohingya victims.

Not a single Buddhist terrorist has been punished for the gruesome murder of Muslims, not then and not now. All what we heard from the Thein Sein government was that it had identified the instigators behind the violence and pledged to bring them to justice. But as we have witnessed earlier with the June 3 lynching death of 10 Burmese Muslims, such promises have not translated into justice, let alone created an atmosphere that protects the lives and properties of the affected Rohingya minority.

It is obvious that the Thein Sein government is playing the cat-and-mouse game with the world community with false promises made to divert attention away when the satellite pictures are too obvious and difficult to hide such crimes, and once the outside pressure is low to encourage and participate in this heinous crime. As such the pogroms that started in June 3 with nearly a hundred thousand internally displaced Rohingyas have only worsened with extra tens of thousands that are now without any shelter. The once thriving Muslim localities now look like bombed-out territories. No Rohingya has been allowed back in to rebuild those properties. They have been caged in camps that look like the Nazi concentration camps from which they can’t venture out to fetch their livelihood without risking being shot by the Rakhine Buddhist security forces. They have been placed there to slowly die.

Terrorizing the unarmed Rohingya population has become a Rakhine national passion. The Border Security Force (NASAKA) continues to remind the Rohingya people that Arakan is a Rakhine place where there is no place for the Rohingya Muslims and that they must leave or will be killed. Newer territories are added to the list of ethnically cleansed ones to terrorize Rohingya Muslims and exterminate them. The Section 144, which prohibits an assembly of more than five people in an area, is only applied against the Rohingya. They cannot go out to protect their homes, shops, mosques, schools and villages from being looted and set on fire by the Rakhine terrorists who are not stopped from committing such crimes by the security forces.

In most cases, these criminal Rakhines are aided by the government. There have been cases, e.g., as in Kyauk Pyu Township, in which instead of dousing the fire with water, the Buddhist firemen sprayed gasoline into the fire to complete the destruction! "The firemen threw petrol on the flames, as if it was water! The authorities are one-sided. We can never trust them," said a local teacher to Pete Pattisson, a journalist working for the Independent (UK). Last Wednesday, the entire Muslim community in Kyauk Pyu decided to flee in their fishing boats, joining thousands of others trying to escape from being killed or burned alive. Former Muslim residents of Pauk Taw told the Independent that a government ferryboat had rammed their fishing boats at sea, resulting in drowning deaths of dozens. Those who had fled and made it ashore have been prevented by government authorities from landing on the coast.

Satellite images of Kyauk Pyu and its coastal surroundings, released by the Human Rights Watch at the weekend, show the extent of the devastation. Where once there were houseboats and floating barges moored along a harbor town packed with houses, now there is charred desolation, with 811 homes and other structures destroyed.

All the victims in recent months have also been Muslims and yet the Thein Sein government tries to portray the violence in the Rakhine state as an interracial or communal riot.

What is going on inside the Rakhine state is simply a purposeful policy designed by the Myanmar government in which the members of the majority Rakhine ethnic group, which is Buddhist by faith, are willing executioners to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of the Rohingya ethnic community, which are Muslims, from the geographic areas of Arakan and Myanmar. The United Nations define such activities as ethnic cleansing. No hog-washing by the murderous regime and its supporters at home and abroad will succeed to hide such monumental crimes.

Part 2: Ethnic Cleansing of the Rohingyas of Myanmar
The ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people is a text book case. It has become a national project that is led by the Myanmar state at the central level and the Rakhine state at the local level, supported by a good percentage of the Buddhist nation and its dominant Burman and Rakhine ethnic groups. It  employs large institutional and material resources. The local Rakhine politicians and terrorists, the Buddhist monks and mobs, and the entire state apparatus from the local to the central government level are enthusiastic partners in this project towards final solution of the Rohingya problem.

It was no accident, therefore, to witness demonstrations of monks, esp. those organized by Young Monks Association, supporting Thein Sein’s plan to expel the Rohingyas from Myanmar. The largest such demonstration was led by Wirathu, considered a venerable teacher by many Buddhists. He is a criminal who was imprisoned in 2003 for inciting violence against the Muslims. It is no accident that Suu Kyi spoke with forked tongues and that her NLD party has actually been supporting the national project towards elimination of the Rohingya people. Many of the so-called ‘democracy’ leaders have proven to be no better than fascists and are actually worse than the KKK members.

The worst criminals in this extermination campaign are, however, the fellow Rakhine Buddhists, whose ancestors settled in Arakan beginning in the 11th century, i.e., centuries after the darker complexioned Indo-Bengali ancestors of the Rohingya people had already settled in this coastal territory once ruled by the Hindu Chandra dynasty, which had closer ties with Bengal (today’s Bangladesh). 

With that intrusion, albeit a violent one, of the Tibeto-Burman people, the forefathers of today’s Rakhine race, who professed Buddhism, the original inhabitant Hindus and Muslims gradually became minority religious groups. However, in 1430 when two contingents of Muslim Army from Bengal, comprising of more than 50,000 soldiers, restored the fleeing Arakanese king Narameikhla (Maung Saw Mawn) to the throne of Arakan, and a great many of them were asked to protect the regime against any future Burmese invasion, the new settlements of the Muslim garrison around the new capital city of Mrohang (Mrauk-U) greatly added to the size of the minority Muslim community.

The Arakanese rulers of Mrauk-U dynasty adopted superior Islamic culture from nearby Muslim Bengal/India, and issued coins with Islamic inscriptions. They patronized Bengali literature. They also adopted Muslim names, a practice that was to continue for generations well into the 16th century. Muslims played major roles in administration, courts and defense of this multi-ethnic kingdom that maintained its independence for centuries until its annexation by the Burmese king Bodawpaya in 1784.

Bodawpaya was a Buddhist religious fanatic who tried to demolish everything Islamic. He introduced racism and bigotry into this multi-religious region. He destroyed mosques that once dotted the shorelines of Arakan and patronized building Buddhist monasteries and pagodas. He massacred tens of thousands of Muslims, and took another 20,000 as prisoners during his annexation of Arakan. During his tyrannical rule, some 200,000 Arakanese also fled to Bengal (today’s Bangladesh), which by then was under the British rule. After 40-years of Burmese rule (1784-1824), Arakan was occupied by the English East India Company who ruled the territory until Burma won its independence on January 4, 1948.

During the Second World War, taking advantage of the Japanese occupation of Burma, the Buddhist forces which had allied themselves with the Fascist Japanese Imperial Army against the British Raj, targeted the Indian and Muslim population and their homes and businesses. Even the Rohingya Muslims who lived in the western territories did not escape the extermination campaign. Nearly a hundred thousand of them were killed in that joint campaign. They were pushed out of the southern parts of the Arakan state; and many managed to survive by living in northern territories, closer to the Bengal, where they were a solid majority. Another 80,000 settled permanently in Bengal to save their lives. Two hundred and ninety four Muslim villages were totally destroyed.

Even after Burma achieved its independence, sadly, the mass elimination and targeted violence against the Rohingya and other Muslims continued. To the best of my knowledge, at least two dozen campaigns have been directed against them to ethnically cleanse them. These are:
01. Military Operation (5th Burma Regiment) - November 1948
02. Burma Territorial Force (BTF) - Operation 1949-50
03. Military Operation (2nd Emergency Chin regiment) - March 1951-52
04. Mayu Operation - October 1952-53
05. Mone-thone Operation - October 1954
06. Combined Immigration and Army Operation - January 1955
07. Union Military Police (UMP) Operation - 1955-58
08. Captain Htin Kyaw Operation - 1959
09. Shwe Kyi Operation - October 1966
10. Kyi Gan Operation - October-December 1966
11. Ngazinka Operation - 1967-69
12. Myat Mon Operation - February 1969-71
13. Major Aung Than Operation - 1973
14. Sabe Operation February - 1974-78
15. Naga-Min (King Dragon) Operation - February 1978-79 (resulting in exodus of some 300,000 Rohingyas to Bangladesh; 40,000 died)16. Shwe Hintha Operation - August 1978-80
17. Galone Operation - 1979
18. 1984 Pogrom in Taunggok
19. Anti-Muslim riots - Taunggyi (western Burma), Pyay and many other parts of Burma including Rangoon - 1987-88
20. Pyi Thaya Operation – July 1991-92 (resulting in exodus of some 268,000 Rohingyas to Bangladesh)
21. Na-Sa-Ka Operation  – since 1992
22. Race riot against Muslims – March 1997 (Mandalay)
23. Anti-Muslim riot in Sittwe – February 2001
24. Anti-Muslim full-scale riot in Central Burma – May 2001
25. Anti-Muslim violence throughout central Burma (especially in the cities of Pyay/Prome, Bago/Pegu) after 9/11 – October 2001
26. Joint extermination campaign – June 3, 2012 – to date.

Every attempt has been made by the Myanmar government since the days of General Ne Win to ethnically cleanse the Rohingya people and deny them human rights. They were declared stateless, thus licensing every crime directed against them; not a single Article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was honored. Here below is a shortlist of such crimes against the Rohingya people:
Denial of Citizenship
Restriction of Movement or Travel
Restriction on Education
Restriction on Ability to work
Forced Labor
Land Confiscation
Forced Eviction
Destruction of homes, offices, schools, mosques, etc.
Religious persecution
Ethnic discrimination
Restrictions on Marriage of Rohingyas
Prevention of reproduction and forced abortion
Arbitrary Taxation and Extortion
Registration of births and deaths in families and even of cattle, and the associated extortion
Arbitrary arrest, torture and extra-judicial killing
Abuse of Rohingya Women and Elders
Rape as a weapon of war
Depopulation of Rohingya community
Confiscation of residency/citizenship cards
Internally displaced persons or undocumented refugees and statelessness
Destruction or alteration of historical Muslim sites and shrines to erase its symbolism or Islamic identity.

Part 3: All Over Arakan It’s Bosnia Again!
In a meeting (in which I was invited to speak on the Rohingya problem) held in Luton (located 30 miles north of London), UK, on October 13, a British MP mentioned close parallel between what is happening today against the Rohingya Muslims in Arakan and what happened in Bosnia in the early 1990s against the Bosnian Muslims. He is right.

The Arakan state, which per estimates made by Dr. Shwe Lu Maung alias Shahnewaz Khan, in his book – The Price of Silence: Muslim-Buddhist War of Bangladesh and Myanmar – a Social Darwinist’s Analysis – had probably as many Rohingya Muslims as there were Rakhine Buddhists living in its four districts before the latest extermination campaign that began on June 3 of this year, is now almost devoid of any Muslim village that is unharmed or intact by Buddhist Rakhine terrorism.

The UN and other international human rights groups have called the Rohingya Muslims, and rightly so, the worst persecuted people in our planet. Because of their race and religion, they are victims of genocide in the Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

Truly, no other word in the English language but genocide can describe what the Rohingya people are facing. The use of this term should not come as a surprise since the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines genocide as "the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political or cultural group.” As noted by experts, the term can be applied to such destructions in whole or in part of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group. By any definition, the Rohingya people of Arakan are ethnically, racially, religiously different than the Rakhine Buddhists and majority Burmans in Myanmar.

In his book – Worse than War – Dr. Daniel Jonah Goldhagen cites five principal forms of elimination: transformation, repression, expulsion, prevention of reproduction, and extermination. Transformation involves the destruction of a targeted group’s essential and defining political, social, or cultural identities. As I have mentioned earlier, in spite of their ties to the soil of Arakan since time immemorial, the Rohingyas are falsely alleged by the dominant ethnic groups as new settlers from nearby Bangladesh.

Repression entails keeping the hated, deprecated, or feared people within territorial reach and reducing, with violent domination, their ability to inflict real or imagined harm upon others. Such repression has been a regular feature of Rohingya life inside Myanmar.

Expulsion, often called deportation, is a third eliminationist option. It removes unwanted people more thoroughly, by driving them beyond a country’s borders, or from one region of a country to another, or compelling them en masse into camps. The Myanmar government since the days of Ne Win has been guilty of this crime.

Prevention of reproduction is the fourth eliminationist act, which the Myanmar government has been employing in conjunction with others. Not only are the Rohingya families restricted from marrying, the women are often forcibly sterilized, forced to abort and very often raped. In recent months, during attacks on Muslim homes, villages and towns the kidnapping of the Rohingya girls and women have become a recurring event.

Extermination is the fifth eliminationist act in which the targeted groups are killed, often with the excuse that their very existence poses a mortal threat. It promises not an interim, not a piecemeal, not only a probable, but a “final solution” to the putative problem. It is not difficult to see why in recent weeks, poisoned oil and food were sold to the Rohingya people by Rakhine businessmen to kill them. The latest activities by the Rakhine terrorists, aided by racist monks and others within the larger Myanmar society, including murderous politicians and government authorities, thus, clearly show that Rohingyas are victims of an extermination act.

A comparison with the previously cited list of crimes of the Myanmar government clearly shows that Rohingyas are facing all the five forms of elimination. It is a complete package of annihilation of the Rohingya people!

Genocide requires preparation and planning. It begins in the minds of men and needs mass mobilization to commit the horror against the targeted group. The perpetrators or the executioners must not only feel secure but also must be self-motivated and zealous to commit their horrendous crimes. Often times, the task of preparing the mind is left to ideologues and chauvinist intellectuals who sell the poison tablet of intolerance against the targeted group. Without political leadership the overwhelming majority of the perpetrators would not lift a finger in harm. However, once set in motion, typically with a few encouraging and enabling words, they, both the eliminationist regimes’ shock troops and their societies’ ordinary members give themselves, body and soul, to death. They do so easily, effortlessly. And this is what we are witnessing today in Myanmar, esp. the Arakan state.

Taking a cue from other places where genocides have taken place, the leaders of this greatest crime of our time - the Myanmar government, the local Rakhine politicians and intelligentsia, and their racist Buddhist monks within the general population -- have been feeding many myths for public consumption that not only distort the history of the Rohingyas and other non-Buddhists but also exaggerate the potential benefits that could come from ‘purifying’ the soils of Myanmar and Arakan by eliminating the ‘other’ people, esp. the Rohingya Muslims. Thanks to the poisonous writings of Rakhine chauvinists like Aye Chan, (late) Aye Kyaw, Khin Maung Saw and others, the Muslim population is deemed an ‘influx virus,’ a threat to the Buddhist identity of Myanmar, esp. of Arakan. Thus, a pervasive slogan that is often heard and discussed in the media is that the Rakhine people can’t live any more with the Rohingya ‘terrorists.’ Forgotten in such biased reporting is the mere fact that all the victims of the carnage have been Rohingya people. It is they who are terrorized by Buddhist terrorism, and not the other way around!

The causes of mass murder can often be found in the ideology that the state espouses. Social and ethnic compositions are usually the fault lines along which such elimination projects emanate. As I have noted elsewhere, the Myanmar government espouses a new Myanmarism in which racism and bigotry are the defining ideologies to purify its soil of all the non-Buddhists and non-Mongoloid races. Its mosaic of identities - ethnic, racial, religious, linguistic and cultural, and the resulting diversity, which could have been its greatest strength is seen in this toxic ideology as its greatest weakness.

In 1935, years before the Jewish Holocaust happened in Germany, anti-Jewish racist and bigotry-ridden laws were promulgated in the German city of Nuremberg stopping social and economic contacts with the Jews. The Jews also lost the right to vote and hold office. Within the next eight years, 13 implementation ordinances were issued dealing with the enforcement of the Reich Citizenship Law that progressively marginalized the Jewish community in Germany. Anyone violating these laws was punished by hard labor, imprisonment and/or fines. Such laws were exploited by hard-core Nazis to destroy properties of a people that the authorities would not generally protect. Truly, it is hard to imagine the Jewish Holocaust in Europe without those Nuremberg Laws. The recently issued religious edicts from Buddhist monks banning social and economic ties with the Rohingya people, in particular, and the Muslims, in general, is a sufficient reminder and a dire warning about the ugly head of genocide that is emerging now in Myanmar, esp. in its western state of Arakan.

As I have noted in my keynote speech at the Bangkok Conference on “Contemplating Burma’s Rohingya People’s Future in Reconciliation and (Democratic) Reform,” the new Myanmarism, espoused by the Buddhist political leadership inside Myanmar, is totalitarian and is akin to neo-Nazi Fascism. Its leaders and followers erase distinction between politics and religion, wanting to merge their racist and fascist politics with and subordinate to radical Theravada Buddhism that is extremist, fundamentalist, racist, violent and intolerant of all religions except its own. This toxic ideology is a sure recipe for disaster in a country like Myanmar with some 140 ethnic groups and minority Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and Hindus comprising 15 to 20 percent of the total population. It breeds intolerance and promotes violence that is officially sanctioned by people in authority and supported by vast majority of its people as a national project. This hybrid cocktail of Burmese racist supremacy and intolerant Buddhism is a threat not only to its minority races and religions, but also to the entire region.

Sadly, however, because of the western appetite for Myanmar’s natural resources, the crimes of the Myanmar and Rakhine government are overlooked. And instead, the root causes behind the targeted violence against the Rohingya Muslims are falsely attributed to poverty and lack of economic opportunities – points recently made by Victoria Nuland of the U.S. State Department.

There is, however, no doubt that in spite of Myanmar’s enormous natural resources, the country remains the poorest of the ASEAN countries, and South-east Asia. But to say that poverty is at the heart of the genocidal campaign is a linguistic camouflage to justify U.S. State Department’s silence on the grievous nature of the crimes committed by the   murderous Myanmar government. We have heard similar excuses during the Bosnian and Rwandan genocidal campaigns. There are many countries with worse poverty but the powerful majority there doesn’t commit acts of genocide against the minority. For genocide to happen, it is always a national project in which people of all walks of life participate, and that is what is happening with the Rohingya problem inside Myanmar.

For years, China, India and other Asia Pacific countries have been doing business with the brutal military regime in Myanmar. Human rights were never a priority. Many of the European and North American countries were left out from a share at that Myanmar pie. For them to join in, they needed a face change with Myanmar. And that devious process started first with the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Suu Kyi – who did not merit it, and then with the change of the uniform of the old guards who not long ago had donned the military dress to claim that they are reform-minded. It was a Glasnost moment for Burma, which was renamed Myanmar. That claim was followed with a controversial election held in 2010 (followed by a by-election in which Suu Kyi’s NLD enthusiastically participated) to show that Myanmar was moving from a fascist military oligarchy into a democracy, and then the trip of Suu Kyi as Thein Sein’s unofficial ambassador to the western world pleading for opening up trade and commerce relationship with the government. And in this warming up session, the last play was played during Thein Sein’s trip to the UN where he met with Ban Ki-Moon and other western leaders.

Soon thereafter one after another of the western governments, too keen to eat their share of the pie, lifted all previous bans against the murderous regime. They promised huge investments. Emboldened by such moves, the Thein Sein government does not feel that it is obligated to honor any previous pledge made to the world community. Soon after his return from the UN session, the racist Buddhist monks conducted stage managed demonstrations asking the government to force out or relocate Muslims. In government managed newspapers, they announced dire consequences against anyone doing any business with Muslims including selling food and buying or renting out homes to and from them. As hinted above, it is a copy of the Nazi era policy. It is a total package of ethnically cleansing Myanmar of the Muslim population, in general, and the Rohingyas, in particular. So insidious is Myanmar’s Buddhist fascism, the Rakhine Buddhists living inside and outside Arakan and their patrons in the Buddhist-majority Myanmar do not want any Muslim, esp. the Rohingya, living inside Myanmar, esp. in the Rakhine state.

As I have noted elsewhere, ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people has now become a national project in Myanmar in which most Buddhists of Myanmar including the so-called democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi are willing participants one way or another. Even when they are not personally participating in this heinous crime, through their sinister silence and/or endorsement of the regime’s anti-Rohingya policy and the genocidal campaign that is carried out by criminal Rakhine Buddhists, they have essentially become partners in this crime. The Rakhine Buddhists now have their own version of Kristallnacht. They are mimicking the Nazi Party's series of pogroms in 1938, whereby one Jewish township after another was attacked. At this rate of destruction, there won’t be any Muslim locality left inside Arakan, their ancestral home.

None of these attacks since June 3 are isolated, unplanned, or spontaneous offenses. Already made stateless by the highly discriminatory 1982 Citizenship Law that is at variance with scores of international laws, the Rohingyas are falsely blamed by fascist Rakhine politicians for crimes that they did not commit so that the Buddhist populace could be incited to accept and assist the progressively savage operations of "race purification." Lynching attacks are organized by Aye Maung’s fascist party - RNDP and other equally racist Rakhine politicians and greedy businessmen to loot Rohingya properties and burn their homes, businesses and mosques. Rohingya property is confiscated. In this task the Rakhine-dominated security forces and police are willing partners. As a result, the Rohingyas are now caged in concentration-like camps and ghettos or pushed into exile. The genocidal program is progressing in fury and irresponsibility to the "final solution" to make them an extinct people.

We can still stop this extinction if our powerful western governments act. They can pressure the Thein Sein government through the UN Security Council not only to stop this ethnic cleansing and restore Rohingya citizenship, but also ensure that the Rohingyas are compensated for their loss of lives and properties and live with safety and security under UN-monitored safe havens created to the west of the Kaladan River. If the regime resists such tangible changes, the UNSC members can take the criminal leaders of Myanmar and the Rakhine state to a Nuremberg-type trial for committing heinous crimes against humanity, let alone ban all economic transactions with the rogue regime.

Unfortunately, the attitude of the powerful nations towards the Rohingya problem is a reminiscent of the Nazi era; they refuse to see and hear the obvious truth. It is simply immoral and inexcusable. They are buying and parroting the Myanmar regime's argument, that the conflict is basically two-sided with two large racial groups attacking each other. This is a false equivalence. When all the townships that are burning, and refugees, are from one side – the Rohingya, and when renowned activists, Buddhist monks, and local Rakhine politicians and students are using language reminiscent of the Nazi propaganda, something truly catastrophic is underway seeking "final solution" of the Rohingya problem. Nothing can hide this ugly truth!

The Rakhine (Arakan) state now looks like a prison-like ghetto for the Rohingya people. Now, the Rohingya homes are ring-fenced by burnt-out buildings and military checkpoints. Outside the capital city of Sittwe (Akyab), up to 100,000 more Rohingyas are living in a series of sweltering refugee camps where malnourishment and disease are rife and where security forces and local Rakhine activists impede aid workers from operating freely. As a result of years of persecution and a slow but steady genocidal campaign, half the Rohingya population has already been pushed out. Others living inside are counting their days to get out of this living hell. Can our generation allow such an obliteration of an entire community?

How many Rohingya deaths and destruction of their homes would qualify for these powerful nations to act and stop this most far-flung and terrible racial persecution of our time? How can we ignore or tolerate such a calculated, malignant and devastating crime, which epitomizes racial hatreds, religious bigotry, terrorism and violence, and the arrogance and cruelty of power?

It is sad to see that we have not learned anything from genocides of the past – neither from Hitler’s Germany nor from the more recent ones in Bosnia, Kosovo and Rwanda. Linguistic camouflages are still used to minimize the nature of the crime faced by the Rohingya people. Many reporters relaying the events are using prefixes like “alleged” only to obfuscate what is really happening. Many local reporters are absolutely biased and are guilty of disseminating government propaganda.

In his closing remarks before the International Military Tribunal at the Nuremberg Trials in 1946, Robert Jackson, the U.S. Chief Prosecutor, issued the following warning: “The reality is that in the long perspective of history the present century will not hold an admirable position, unless its second half is to redeem its first. These two-score years in the twentieth century will be recorded in the book of years as one of the most bloody in all annals. Two World Wars have left a legacy of dead which number more than all the armies engaged in any way that made ancient or medieval history. No half-century ever witnessed slaughter on such a scale, such cruelties and inhumanities, such wholesale deportations of peoples into slavery, such annihilations of minorities. The terror of Torquemada pales before the Nazi Inquisition. These deeds are the overshadowing historical facts by which generations to come will remember this decade. If we cannot eliminate the causes and prevent the repetition of these barbaric events, it is not an irresponsible prophecy to say that this twentieth century may yet succeed in bringing the doom of civilization.”

Witnessing the latest genocidal campaign against the Rohingyas of Myanmar, it is obvious that we have failed on both counts - to eliminate "the causes" and to prevent "the repetition of these barbaric events."