ROHINGYA MASSACREby ASIF AHMED
There have been long-standing tensions between Rakhine people, who are Buddhist and make up the majority of the state's population, and Muslims, many of whom are Rohingya. Many Rakhine Buddhists have said that much of the violence in June was carried out against them by Rohingya groups. Rohingyas say they have been forced to flee because of the violence.
There's never been any justification for killing people anywhere in the world. In this case, yeah Muslims are being wronged and killed, but killing of even an atheist or a non-Muslim would be wrong. And keeping mum about this injustice is a shame. Anyhow, you can't expect much when the Burmese President Thein Sein had himself stated that deportation or refugee camps were the only solutions to the Rohingya crisis. What kind of solution is this? He sounds more of a chicken. Why is he scared of his own people? Up to 90,000 people have been displaced so far and that's a huge number.
Anyhow, Amnesty International has called on Myanmar's parliament to amend or repeal the 1982 Citizenship Law to ensure that Rohingyas are no longer stateless. I just hope this mad killing, raping and torturing come to an end. Moreover, laws need to be amended in the state of Burma. I believe it's high time. And the only question that pops up in my mind is: are you really all that good or simply trying to pretend to care about humanity?
SUU KYI MUM ON ETHNIC CLEANSING
This is a very strange fact and a great paradox for the world to know that the Buddhists, who had been historically so peaceful and non-violent, have now turned so horrific; certainly this is a huge shock. It is a catastrophe! Even the Nobel Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi is so calmly silent about the problems of this minority in Myanmar. After a long gap Suu Kyi addressed the issue some weeks ago at a press conference in London, saying, "ethnic conflict plaguing the country" should be investigated and "dealt with wisdom." This is not acceptable from a person of such reputation.
These incidents have a very negative impression on Buddhism, especially the Theravada Buddhism, when Buddhism is considered to be the most compassionate religion of the world. How are the followers of Buddha, Burmese Buddhists in general, and Rakhine Buddhists in particular, practising their compassion to other human beings? Gautam Buddha has showed several ways to curb their own passion and desires.
THE CHINESE FACTOR
Burma is under-populated with less than 60 million population while all our immediate neighbours, Thailand in the East and Bangladesh in the West have far more population, even though their land area is much more smaller than that of Burma. This does not count giant countries, India and China. Naturally all our neighbours want to dump their excess population into Burma, which is blessed with rich natural resources. The immediate problem where both legal and illegal immigration is concerned is the Chinese in the east and not so much Bengalis (Muslims) in the west.
A rough estimate puts that there are more than four million Chinese immigrants in Burma so much so that Mandalay, the second capital of Burma is called second Beijing as most of the business areas and the city have been taken over by the Chinese while the locals have moved to the suburbs. This does not include the illegal Chinese coming across the border areas posing as ethnic nationalities. So why did the Tatmadaw create this Mujahid problem when it tried its level best to placate the local outburst against the Chinese? The Burmese saying of not being able to conquer Kalar beat up the Rakhine was skilfully turned into being unable to tackle the Chinese turned on to Kalar. Will the Thein Sein Administration ever challenge the illegal Chinese as many of them have become local quarters' and townships' chairmen?
The Burmese army is too afraid to take on the Chinese, as it has to depend on them for not only arms and ammunition but also the diplomatic support, but for all of them would now be standing trial in the Hague. The Generals' security comes prior to the security of Burma. But at the same time they know the real situation and to tackle this Chinese problem they must get the western support and this is the main reason of letting Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD to come back to the political field. Naturally, the resource hungry West falls into this trap. The country is heading for democracy, equality, free trade and probably federal type with the second Panglong Conference and all its citizens can choose to reside anywhere else in the country provided they respect the local laws and authority. But not the 'aliens'.
Since there is much influx of Chinese, the government can confine them to Western Burma where now the majority of Muslims resides; this is feasible as China is constructing a fast railroad with gas pipeline scheduled to be completed in 2013-14. Confine these China-men to that area of the Rohingya then send all these Rohingyas to the eastern part of Burma where there are lots of land with a favourable weather and they can take out their lives there. (Burma: Killing Two Birds with a Stone or A Win, Win Situation by Kanbawza Win).
ONGOING SITUATION IN BURMA
Like President Thein Sein who has said Rohingya Muslims must be expelled from the country and sent to refugee camps run by the United Nations, the former army general said on July 19 that the "only solution" was to send nearly a million Rohingya Muslims – one of the world's most persecuted minorities – to refugee camps run by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The UN says decades of discrimination have left the Rohingyas stateless, with Myanmar implementing restrictions on their movement and withholding land rights, education and public services. Now the problem is that the government says that these people do not belong to Myanmar. This is something which is not acceptable. It is an international tragedy. It is something that those people belong to Myanmar and Bangladesh. Now they stand as such, as you see, they are being eliminated.
This ethnic cleansing is absolutely an international tragedy. Fighting in Myanmar's Kachin and Rakhine provinces has reignited the threat facing the Rohingyas after a nearly two-decade ceasefire between Myanmar's armed forces and Rohingyan insurgents. The fallout has displaced at least 70,000 people and as many as 90,000 according to reports from human rights agencies. This has been going on for the last 30 years but the world hardly knew about it. The persecution was there but it was not of such a huge scale as it is now. This is absolutely incorrect that they are outsiders, and that they must be thrown out. This is ethnic cleansing. Now the government of Myanmar does not recognise Rohingya Muslims as citizens, despite their claims to the land in Myanmar's Rakhine province that dates hundreds of years back. They have been accused of being ethnically tied to neighbouring Bangladesh and are diminutively called "Kalar," a slur against their darker skin. However, Bangladesh does not recognise them, largely crowding them into camps like the one at Shahburi Bib, where the Rohingyas are largely left stateless.
The Muslim world bears a historic moral responsibility in choosing to ignore the continuous ethnic cleansing of the Rohingyas. Some Muslim organisations want the Dalai Lama to speak out against these atrocities to show the entire world in general, and the Muslim world in particular, that Buddhism condemns these grave human rights violations against Muslims. As said, we need Dalai Lama in the spirit of this blessed month of Ramadhan to send a message of love, peace, and comfort to the victims of those horrible incidents in Burma, their families and loved ones but the authority and following of Dalai Lama among Burmese monks are not very popular because they have different religious sects.
UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana has stressed the need for the authorities to take steps to address the "long-standing issues of deprivation of citizenship, freedom of movement, and other fundamental rights" that plague the welfare of the Rohingya people. It is indeed the time for the authorities to act, and act fast.