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Burmese Regime Pushing Rohingya to the Edge

By M.S. Anwar
Opinion Editorial
October 16, 2016 23:03

Yes, you read it right! They have been the Burmese successive dictatorial regimes pushing the Rohingya minority to the edge of tolerance through decades-long inhumane persecutions. In fact, United Nations call them one of the world’s most persecuted people and many human rights organizations claim they are subjected to a condition of apartheid, ethnic cleansing and genocide.

But is that all? Have the international authoritative bodies and the international community done enough to stop the Burmese regimes from committing the slow burning genocide? Despite witnessing all sorts of the crimes against humanity being committed against them, have the international authoritative bodies taken any concrete steps yet to help the people on the verge of extinction. To simply put it, NO! They have restricted themselves to merely giving lips-services as they prefer doing business and making trade-deals with the Burmese over stopping immense human-sufferings.

At a time when they are prohibited even from calling themselves with their own ethnic identity; they are left to be tortured and killed; their homes to be burnt down and their properties to be looted; and their women to be raped in the hands of the Burmese armed forces and an extremist section of Rakhine (Magh) Buddhists, the only option left for them is to resist the tyrants and oppressions by any means possible. Hence, you can’t rule out an Arm Resistance (in their struggles against the continuous oppression) either.

On October 9 early morning, a group of assailants armed with swords, sticks and hand-made guns conducted raids on the Border Guard Police (BGP) headquarter and other two posts in Maungdaw and got away arms from the BGP arsenal.  However, instead of chasing down the real assailants, the Burmese military have started retaliating by brutally attacking and killing the unconcerned civilians. Looking at the way the military has been conducting the assaults since Sunday, it seems that the Burmese regime has taken well-advantage of the incident to gain political leverages so as to be able to militarize Arakan state and implement their agenda to turn a slow-burning genocide of Rohingya into full-scale genocide.

Since then, at least 100 people have been killed; more than 1000 homes have been burnt down and other hundreds of homes looted; causing more than 15,000 people internally displaced who are now in dire situation and have no roof to sleep under in the heavy monsoon season and no food to eat. The numbers keep increasing as the military offensive continues.

On Friday, in a statement released by the President Office, the Burmese regime labelled the assailants to have links with and received trainings under the foreign based terror groups. However, it can be easily understood that under such a pretext of terror only, the military can commit more atrocities and killings of them and will be able to justify them. Had this group had any links with the so-called foreign based terror groups, you would NOT have seen majority of them with swords and sticks instead of heavy weaponry, with slippers instead of shoes and in sarongs instead of uniforms (going by the videos of that have surfaced on social media in which a group of armed youths calling others in their fight against the oppression). More importantly, they have been seen in the videos in their casual T-Shirts, Shirts and Sarongs instead of the long-white dresses of ‘Talibans’ whom the President Office allege them (i.e. the Rohingyas with arms – mostly swords and sticks) to have links with. 

As a matter of fact, they could be considered as a group of angered youths who dared stand up against the tyrants and decades-long oppression. They are unsystematic and disorganized. They seem to have understood that nobody is going to help them stop their unending crisis unless they take up arms and fight against the oppression.

However, who are responsible for this group of youths to take up arms and what has triggered them to do so? The answers lie just there before you! They are successive Burmese tyrannical regimes who have never even thought to treat them as human beings let alone to treat them as equal citizens. Thought the decades, the Burmese armed forces have subjected these people to inhumane sufferings, raped their women and killed them en masse. Their plight is getting worse day by day and more than 140,000 people have been forced to live in concentrated IDP camps. And the international community has always been reluctant to address their grievances.

And what do these people demand after all? It is their basic human rights, right to call themselves with an identity they belong to, ethnic rights and citizenship rights. The Burmese regime does not give them their rights and the international community are not willing to help them. What do they do in such situation? To live like modern-day slaves? Or to stand up for their rights and dignity?

But an irony here is when other ethnic groups of Burma can conduct Armed Resistance through systematic and organized Armed Groups, for the most persecuted people, the Rohingya, things do not seem at all easy to take up arms. They are easily labelled as Militants, Extremists or Terrorists by the Burmese regime because they follow Islam regardless of their history of one of the most peaceful communities in Burma.

Nevertheless, a group, disorganized and unsystematic, that have stood up just for the sake of fighting against the oppression could be exploited and joined by extremist groups tomorrow. They could even be empowered by those global citizens who sympathise Rohingyas on the ground of being a decades-long persecuted people.

The Burmese regime as well as any other parties concerned with Burma affairs should not forget that they (Rohingyas) have sympathisers not only among Muslims but also among non-Muslims around the world. Therefore, if there dire plight is not addressed today, they could rise even bigger tomorrow.

They should be allowed to exercise self-defense acts according to the Preamble of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) “whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.”

It’s high time for interventional intervention in the matter and the UN should act to according to Responsibility to Act (R2P). International Investigation Teams must be sent to Arakan to investigate into the crimes against humanity being committed against humanity for decades especially after 2012.

If you can’t help one of the most persecuted people in their fight oppressions, don’t harm their movement too. Don’t be too quick to label them as terrorists. Don’t create an ironical situation where your conscience will make you feel guilty and that guilt may kill your soul and sense of justice and humanity.

And yes, do not forget when you push someone to the edge, he/she will do anything for survival.

“Even a hare will bite you when it is cornered.” (Chinese Proverb)

M.S. Anwar is an Editor of Rohingya Vision TV. He can be reached at: