On death they come, afloat on rolling waters of river Naf as corpses, and on life they come in a caravan of thousands in number on foot to our land from the valley of death in the cross boundary Arakan (Rakhine) province of Burma (Myanmar) where a genocide, rape and arson has been unleashed by the goons of repressive military junta of that country.
While in Diaspora, with unfed rickety health they keep walking and walking with their name-sake belongings packed in hessians sack bags on their head to reach a safe-heaven in our land. With still in ill health, standing on a pair of shivering feet, they are seen to carry their old parents reduced to skeleton either on their back or in an improvised make-shift palanquin fixed in a robust bamboo rod resting on their shoulders.
The women with fear and trauma are seen walking fast carrying their children with fond embrace on their chest to land in our territory for a new lease of life. Their houses have been gutted and reduced to ashes. Their livestock's have been left perished before they have been uprooted from their land where they have been living over generations for centuries tong. Who are these hapless humans? They are none other than the most persecuted ethnic Muslim community inside Rakhine province of Burma known as Rohingya. Despite they have long ethnic root stretching more than 500 years in their land, they are treacherously denied citizenship of Myanmar in 1982 by a black law cooked by the military junta who grabbed the state power of Burma in 1962.
Once one of the richest countries in South Asia in terms of natural resources spread over vast terrain of land with an optimum number of population equivalent to 50% of that of Bangladesh, Myanmar's economic doors were open till 1962 before military junta usurped the state power and closed their windows to rest of the world thus reducing the country to a state of one of the poorest countries in South Asia.
Myanmar has, however, re-opened its economic window for foreign investment in the recent past and is gradually recovering from international isolation. Backed by fundamentalist Buddist monks clad in saffron, led by one master monk dubbed Bin Laden of Myanmar, who preaches the teachings of Lord Buddha outwardly with a obtuse mind filled in festering venoms of hatred for other religious community; the military junta cling on the shoulders of Burmese population like the monster of Sinbad and established an authoritarian rule in the country after gagging the voice of the people for ages.
Rakhine province which stretches through 380 miles long in the Burmese mainland from the Bangladesh border has been the home of more than on million ethnic Muslim community known as Rohingya. Repressive military junta on different false pretext pushed almost 5 lacs people of that ethnic root into Bangladesh in 1976/77 that were sheltered in Ukhia and other adjacent areas of the Cox's Bazaar district in the refugee camps supported by Bangladesh govt. with UNHCR's co operation and help.
Under the pressure of international bodies and Bangladesh government, the Myanmar government subsequently took back two lacs Rohingya refugee from Bangladesh in 1978 living the major burden of Rohingya population on the shoulders of Bangladesh. With a large population pressure of its own, additional Rohingya influx appeared to be a persistent pain on neck in Bangladesh with no sign of taking back the refugees by Myanmar over the long years.
With persistently denying the citizenship to Rohingya and not recognizing legally as one of the 135 ethnic groups constituting a part of the citizenry of Myanmar, military junta of Myanmar brand the Rohingyas as Bengali intruders and unleash excruciating persecution in different forms like killing, arson rape and forcefully pushing them into Bangladesh territory bordering Myanmar.
Despite Rohingya issue having reached the height of a bilateral issue between Myanmar and Bangladesh, yet under the leadership of former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Anan a formula towards finding a peaceful solution has recently been worked out and submitted very recently as Kofi Anan Commission Report to Myanmar's de-fecto leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi recommending formation of Commissions to find a permanent solution to the crisis. It is strange to observe that a day after the Kofi Anan Report was submitted an armed insurgency unleashed by Arakan Rohingya Salvation army (ARSA) took place in Rohingya populated north-west Rakhine province in the early hours of 25th Aug, 2017 killing numbers of Burmese policemen and army.
The timing of ARSA attack on 30 police and military outposts is mysterious in deed reflecting ominous sign of growth of terrorism in the region which warrants urgent redress. Aung San Suu Kyi should not forget what she herself said in her Nobel prize acceptance speech that "whenever suffering is ignored, there will be seeds of conflict, for suffering degrades and embitters and enrages." The incident infuriated the junta and instead of rounding up the insurgents, they hounded after the unarmed and innocent Rohingya people by killing, raping, arson and driving them out from their home, thereby creating a new wave of Rohingya influx into Bangladesh territory.
In humanitarian consideration Bangladesh had to open its border to take the new wave of Rohingya in spite of the fact that half a million of Rohingyas have been already staying for more than three decades in different camps in Bangladesh with no sign of going back to their own land in Rakhine province. In spite of Bangladesh government's urges to stop genocide and pushing the Rohingyas into Bangladesh territory, Myanmar's military junta just gave a deaf-ear and audaciously declared that the Rohingyas are Bangladeshi intruders in Myanmar.
An international outcry particularly in few Muslim countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Turkey has been recently heard loud, while major Western world who often loudly talks about violation of human rights and live with other high sounding rhetoric has so far kept their mouths shut in this particular gross violation of human rights issue and atrocities on Rohingyas in Rakhine province. It is strange to observe that Aung San Suu Kyi who won a Nobel Prize for peace appears to have been impeccably reticent till very recent past over the issue and only a couple of days ago opened her mouth with lending her unfettered support to military junta who have been dealing the issue ruthlessly and inhumanly.
A public figure of Myanmar who struggled for long time for bringing democracy and freedom in Burma and remained in house-arrest over decades by the military junta, Suu Kyi's double standard in keeping her eyes shut over the Rohingya issue has created wide condemnation throughout the world with suggesting Noble Peace Committee in Oslo to revoke her Nobel accolade for her visible double standard and myopic look on Rohingya issue. Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa told his 'dearly beloved young sister' Suu Kyi that "the images we are seeing of the suffering of the Rohingya fill us with pain and dread." Seventeen other Nobel Laureates including professor Muhammad Younus and Malala Yousuf Jai expressed their deep concern and resentment over the issue and duly sought for immediate U.N. intervention into the matter.
Over the last couple of weeks, about 2.80 lacs of new Rohingya refugees have entered Bangladesh, making total number as nearly as 7 lacs. Military junta's ulterior intention is presumably to push the remaining segment of Rohingya population; who are still inside the Rakhine province, into Bnagldesh once for all. Situation being much grave and precarious in nature, Bangladesh government should move fast to internationalize the issue and invite the attention of the influential Western world and the Islamic world to immediately create a safe-zone inside Rakhine province for safety and security of these beleaguered Rohingya people under U.N.
Security Council resolution. It is doubtfull that the military junta of Myanmar will pay any heed to the rational proposal of safe-zone inside Rakhine province. Adage says "The devil would not listen to the scriptures" or "The scapegrace will never listen to moral lecture" Should there be any such situation of active arrogance and defiance then the U.N. and the western world under an U.N umbrella should come forward under a U.N.
Security Council Resolution in enforcing the proposal of safe-zone and guaranteeing subsequent return of Rohingyas to their homeland by applying military fire power as last resort the way the western powers came forward in Bosnia and Kosovo to save the ethnic Muslim community from the wrath of Serbian leaders Slovadan Milesovic, Radavan Keiradjik, Radco Mledic and other war mongers and butchers of Ballkan and established a safe-zone in Kosovo which subsequently gained worldwide recognition. Having been removed from the seat of power, Slovadan Milesovic landed in the prison cell of War Crimes in the Hague and later died in prison, while on War Crime Trial Keiradjik and Mledic are still languishing in the prison cell of The Hague and undergoing trial. Military junta of Myanmar's brutality in resorting to genocide and ethnic cleansing on Rohingya Muslims are synonymous to ethnic cleansing drive that took place in Kosovo and therefore should be weighed in the same scale. It is now the cry of the hour to save the Rohingyas from the sharp claws of the monsters in human shape in Myanmar. God protects mankind from the wrath of living monsters.
The writer is a former civil servant
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