The oppressor, even if he can manipulate facts using his tools, resources, and influence for a specific period or within limited geographical locations, this does not mean that the oppressed becomes a criminal. The crime remains a crime, and the oppressor remains an oppressor. Even if he succeeds in presenting a different image through his clever use of resources, the Rohingya Muslims of Arakan face all forms of racism, ethnic discrimination, violence, persecution, and genocide at the hands of Buddhist authorities, whose hands have been stained with the blood of innocent humans over the years from 1938 until today.
No Rights for the Rohingya
The Burmese government steals the rights of the Rohingyas in their homeland – the right to live, the right to move, the right to education, health rights, the right to work, and even the right to freedom of religion. The pursuit of justice by the Rohingyas is legitimate according to credible sources such as the UN, OIC, European Union, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and more.
Why Can We Not Blame the Rohingya?
That’s why it’s understood that their seeking refuge in neighboring countries was entirely out of necessity, seeking survival and safety, leaving behind everything, running away from Burmese barbarisms and atrocities. They cannot be blamed; instead, the inhuman characteristics of the so-called Burmese authority against innocent, helpless civilians led them to this choice. It is only a quest for security and safety in their lives; they have no choice but to leave, facing either forced migration or death.
This is the main reason that international reports have always highlighted cases of Rohingya boat people seeking safe shores in neighboring countries.
Shocking Report by Local Indonesian Portals
Recently, some Indonesian news reports shocked the world when they described the arrival of Rohingya survivors to Bandar Aceh in Indonesia as a world crime. How can victims of genocide become criminals while the real criminals causing continuous harm to them escape even from their condemnation? These irresponsible reports create uncertainty and confusion among the public, who continually stand beside Rohingya and their rights and dignity for decades.
False Accusations and Clarifications
To address and counter those false accusations against innocent victims of state-sponsored terrorism, I am endeavoring to elucidate a few facts and realities so that people can have a clear and accurate understanding and view on Rohingya’s plight.
Publics are generally categorized into three concerning the plight of the Rohingya People:
- Those Unaware of Rohingya’s Suffering: Those who have no idea about the suffering of the Rohingya people in their homeland of Arakan, Burma, and believe in irresponsible media reports and acting based upon them.Our appeal to them is, please don’t stand with the criminals against helpless innocent people just seeking your shores to escape definite death, hoping for your mercy and kindness. With one click, you can find the true story of these people from credible sources. Please take one step ahead before you join hands with the historic criminal against all minorities in the country called Burma (Myanmar).
- Those Aware of Rohingya’s Suffering: Those who have known the suffering of Rohingyas for decades and have always been supportive of saving the lives of these people. Please come forward to help for the sake of humanity. Let others know that these people also have the right to live and are not criminals. They haven’t committed any crimes, but all crimes have been committed against them. Some of the survivors lost all of their family members or relatives and left all their belonging behind.
- Those Brainwashed by Anti-Rohingya Propaganda: Those who have been brainwashed by anti-Rohingya propaganda launched by Myanmar authorities and its components through various media means and channels.
To them, we say, please stop acting unthinkingly. Open your eyes. No people ever accept leaving their homeland for no reason. Try to go back to history for a while and find out the background of this community in Arakan. Did they go to Rangoon, or did Burmese aggressors come to Arakan? Why?
Here are some facts that may help everyone better understand the root cause of the plight of the Rohingya at the hands of the military junta in Myanmar.
Accusations and undeniable facts
- Rohingyas as Intruders: Rohingyas are consistently blamed for being intruders in the country, claiming they are not indigenous to the country. To refute this false accusation, we can go back to 1948, after the country gained independence from the British occupation. During the leadership of national Hero Aung Sang and Prime Minister U Nu, the Rohingya people actively participated in the nation building process, working shoulder to shoulder with other ethnicities in the country. They were an integral part of Burma’s glorious era, often called the golden era. Furthermore, some ministerial posts were occupied by Rohingya elders. If they were considered intruders, why were such privileges granted to them? This not only aligned with the principles of justice but also exemplified the spirit of national unity. Moreover, numerous historical events and documents from that era, along with official declarations, affirm the Rohingya as indigenous people of the country.Even if, for the sake of argument, we entertain the idea that Rohingyas are considered intruders, it does not justify their expulsion from the land. Instead, a more constructive approach could be integrating them into the local community and applying the concept of unity in diversity, which has proven highly successful in many South Asian neighbouring countries. This approach has been a critical factor in fostering development and stability.
- Rohingyas as Disturbance and Indiscipline People: Rohingyas are considered a disturbance and indiscipline people, always causing trouble wherever they go and contributing to instability. To refute this false accusation, we can look back at the 12-year golden era after independence. During this period, hundreds of high-profile civil servants, particularly teachers in government schools and colleges, as well as local parliament members, were Rohingya. This indicates that these individuals had high moral standards, as evidenced by the government’s choice to appoint them. Additionally, Rohingyas have a long history overseas, especially in the Middle East. Apart from typical human negativity, this community has not caused any significant problems. In fact, in some countries, they have been praised by the highest authorities for their intelligence and exemplary moral conduct. Yet, we agree that, after suffering for an extended period, some human errors emerged but not up to the false claims by their enemies.
- Rohingyas Taking up Arms for Independence: Rohingyas take up arms against the central government, and they are seeking independence. This is a false accusation. Myanmar is a multiethnic and multireligious nation, and the Union of Burma was formed based on this reality. Due to the military coup and the brutality of the Myanmar militaries, almost all ethnic communities, including Rohingyas, have taken up arms against the central government, there are several primary reasons for the reaction against central governments
- Burmanization Process: The central leadership of the time, mainly dominated by the Burman ethnic group, initiated a Burmanization process in essential sectors of the government body, causing unrest among the other partners.
- Violations of Agreements: According to agreements made by ethnic representatives during the gaining of independence, every ethnic state had the right to seek self-determination after a certain period. However, the central Burman-controlled government ignored this clause, leading to ongoing bloodshed among members of the same nation. The Rohingya are a minor revolutionary group compared to the Kachin, Karen, Chan, Rakhine and others, but they received the most brutal military operations.
- Divide and Rule Formula: In certain states, such as Arakan, where two communities have lived peacefully for centuries, the Burman-controlled central government has played a divisive role. Their tactics involve creating hatred and exploiting religious and ethnic sensitivities to prevent these communities from uniting their voices against oppressive decisions imposed by the central government on the state.
A Bitter Truth
Myanmar is surrounded by many rebel groups, and the government has lost control of some areas. In fact, peace agreements have been signed with some strong arms groups, such as the Karen, but civilian members of those ethnic rebels are safe and living in their designated ethnic homelands. However, in the case of the Rohingya people, it’s a different story. In the name of countering rebel groups, the civilian population was displaced and swiped from their homelands. The reason for this is crystal clear: the Rohingya do not share the same faith, culture, and identity, so they are unwanted humans. It’s a bitter truth that many find difficult to digest, unfortunately.
The Rohingya are always worried about the malicious plots of their enemies, particularly Myanmar authorities, to sabotage the harmonious relationship that exists with their host country. This is done to create misunderstandings and to distort their image in the minds of their hosts.
These conspiracies and plots have been encountered in the past and present, and of course, they are also expected in the future. The spreading of fake stories and clips, misinformation and lies, using cyber troopers, fueling social media, and using ill-hearted columnists and bloggers aimed at distorting the Rohingya image and dignity. All of this is carefully orchestrated to diminish the sympathy of the host towards the Rohingyas and to sow the seed of hatred between the refugees and their hosts.
In a nutshell, the Rohingyas are people searching for survival from an enemy that is trying to destroy them by all means. The Rohingyas are seeking helping hands that stand beside them for their legitimate and rightful cause to attain civil and political rights and justice in their homeland of Arakan. They want the world to make way for them to return to their homeland with dignity and respect and to restore and sustain their culture and indigenousness.
But the question arises: How can they secure safety in an unsafe world?
Farid Abu Ahmed
* This represents the writer’s own opinion only it doesn’t necessarily reflect organizational stance.*
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