speaking out against Aung San Suu Kyi covering up Rohingya genocide, The Guildhall protest against "Freedom of the City Award", London, 8 May 2017

At the London School of Economic "Rule of Law Roundtable", 16 June 2012

Speaking on the Slow Burning Genocide of Rohingyas in Burma, with Professor Amartya Sen, Harvard University, Nov 2014

N. Ireland peace activist Mairead Maguire presenting Zarni with the Cultivation of Harmony Award on behalf of the Parliament of the World's Religions, Salt Lake City, USA 18 Oct 2015

Drafting the Oslo Communique calling for the end to Myanmar's Rohingya Genocide, Voksanaasen, Oslo, 27 May 2015

"National Traitor and Enemy of the State" for his opposition to Rohingya Genocide. Sun Rays, 16/9/17

Slow genocide continues in Myanmar

A Bangladesh border guard looking at Rohingya refugees at the Jalpatoli refugee camp in the no-man’s land area between Myanmar and Bangladesh, near Gumdhum village in Ukhia. Photo: AFP

By Mizanur Rahman Khan
Prothom Alo
September 21, 2017

Witnesses at the Permanent Peoples Tribunal in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday said a slow genocide is going on in Myanmar.

Human rights activist Maung Zarni, a Buddhist, in his statement, said the military government led by the then general Ziaur Rahman in 1978 had threatened the Myanmar government of supplying arms unless it took back its nationals from Bangladesh through bilateral talks.

Maung said in a space of four days of threat, the then president of Myanmar, Ne Win, instantly agreed to take back his nationals. Considering the threat as dishonour, he added, Ne Win made the Rohingyas stateless by formulating the Citizen Act in 1982.

Maung Zarni said a liberal democracy existed in Myanmar between 1948 and 1962. But, he pointed out, the rights of the Rohingya people were denied immediately after Ne Win had seized power through a coup in 1962.

Since then, Rohingyas are being made victims of, what he called as, "slow genocide".

He rejected the Myanmar government's campaign that its army launched the operation following the attacks by Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on 25 August.

Zarni said the Rohingya Muslims are being persecuted due to their ethnicity.

Maung Zarni himself introduced the idea of slow genocide in the international law.

Nobel laureate Amartya Sen agreed with the view that the latest persecution of Rohingyas in Rakhine state was slow genocide.

Zarni is the founder of Free Burma Coalition. The Myanmar government suspects Zarni to be a supporter of the Rohingyas.

Terming Rohingyas as one of the ethnic groups of Myanmar, Maung said noted Scottish geographer Francis Buchanan mentioned Rohingyas of Arakan as natives in 1778. So in all respects, he insisted, Rohingyas are the citizens of Arakan.

Maung said the citizen act of 1982 is a tool to launch genocide against Rohingyas.

The seven-member panel of judges led by Argentine lawyer Daniel Feierstein asked if ARSA did really exist on Myanmar soil.

Witnesses answered in the affirmative but pointed out that their number was less than 50.

Two witnesses claimed that those who indulged in rape and torture alongside Myanmar security forces, spoke Bangla.

The two witnesses are executive editor of Rohingya news agency Kaladan Press Network, Tin Soe and writer of Witness to Horror, Razia Sultana.

Razia Sultana interviewed 21 Rohingya women of nine villages who were victims of military operations between October and December 2016.

Nineteen out of 21 women had lost their husbands while 16 children of 11 women were killed.

"Some 100 women including me were gathered in a field and they separated 10 beautiful ones including girls of 10 to 12 years of age," Razia Sultana quoted a woman of Kya Khat Chang village in Myanmar as saying.

The hearing on the atrocities committed against other Muslims, who are not Rohingays, is scheduled to be held today (Wednesday).

Rohingya Crisis: Int'l people's tribunal reveals horrific details of atrocities

September 21, 2017

Kuala Lumpur -- A woman from Laung Don village fled her house when Myanmar soldiers came into the village, leaving behind her sister who had just given birth and her newborn baby.

Later, upon her return to the village, she found their bodies, said Razia Sultana, a human rights activist and Chittagong-based lawyer who visited the Kutupalong Refugee Camp on December 21-24 last year and interviewed the woman along with 20 other female refugees.

The women told her that altogether 16 of their children had been killed, injured or declared missing.

Razia revealed the details in her evidence presentation on the second day of the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal held at the Law Faculty of Universiti Malaya today.

"Two of their babies were burned alive, one had his throat cut while another was thrown to the ground and is now brain damaged,” she added.

The women also reported seeing at least 70 women and girls being raped, taken away to be raped or were found after being raped.

"They told me that most rapes took place when the women were forcibly gathered outside their villages during security operations.

In Yae Khat Chaung Gwa Son village, groups of soldiers pulled young women away to be raped. Some were just 10 or 12 year olds,” she said.

In her presentation, she said the women could see the girls being raped by over 30 soldiers and men in civilian shorts.

"They were gang raped. Each girl was raped by five to six men in turn. They cut off their clothes and held a knife to their mouths so they would not shout," Razia said, recalling her interview.

The women were then forced to deny these violations by the Myanmar police and soldiers in front of the camera.

"They were rounded up in a field at a police station and guns were pointed at them. They were asked, “Who burned your houses? Was it RSO (Rohingya Solidarity Organisation)? Did RSO kill your parents and children?”

Afraid they would be shot if they said no, the women had to say it was the RSO who burned their homes and committed the killing,” she said.

According to Razia, in January, an interim report of the National Investigation Committee into the Maungdaw Attacks, led by the vice president and former army general, Myint Swe, found “insufficient evidence” of rape allegations.

"In February, the United Nations in its Special Rapporteur after a visit to the Bangladesh border found “allegation after allegation of horrific events” having taken place in the Rakhine state.

"However on March 10, the National League for Democracy-led government spokesperson in response said that the United Nations' claims of crimes against humanity in Rakhine are exaggerated,” she added.

In her presentation, Razia also called on the international community to use every means, including diplomatic and economic sanctions, to pressure the Myanmar government.

“We have to make sure to hold their security forces accountable for the recent atrocities in Maungdaw. We must also end the systematic persecution of the Rohingya,” she said.

The tribunal, taking place today until Friday, is held to hear crimes against humanity that were carried out by the government forces in Myanmar on the Rohingya and other minority ethnic groups.

The judges at the tribunal are Nursyahbani Katjasungkana, Shadi Sadr, Gill H. Boehringer, Daniel Feierstein, Helen Jarvis, Nello Rossi and Zulaiha Ismail.

The findings from the tribunal will be delivered to international bodies, especially the United Nations, for further action to be taken against Myanmar and with the aim of ending the violence at the same time.

Rohingya Repression Prompts Washington to Rethink Myanmar Ties

Smoke is seen on Myanmar’s side of border as an exhausted Rohingya refugee woman is carried to the shore after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border by boat through the Bay of Bengal, in Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh September 11, 2017. (Reuters Photo)

By William Gallo
Voice of America
September 15, 2017

The violence that has caused nearly 380,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee western Myanmar is prompting the United States to reconsider its relationship with the country's military-dominated government. The humanitarian crisis is also affecting Washington's close relationship with Myanmar's longtime democracy icon, Aung San Suu Kyi, as VOA's Bill Gallo reports.

ARSA: Who are the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army?

ARSA says its aim is to 'defend and protect' the Rohingya [ARSA video, screengrab from YouTube]

Who are the ARSA, what do they want, why did they form and are they linked to any armed groups?

By Faisal Edroos
September 15, 2017

More than 300,000 Rohingya have been forced to flee their ancestral homeland in Myanmar's western region of Rakhine amid a campaign of murder, torture, arson and mass rape by Myanmar security forces and allied Buddhist mobs.

The latest mass exodus, which began on August 25, comes after a small group of Rohingya men attacked around 30 police and army posts in Rakhine State, killing 12 officers, according to the government.

Residents and witnesses have told Al Jazeera that the army retaliated with disproportionate force, burning down scores of Rohingya homes and villages as they tried to hunt down the attackers.

The Myanmar army has put the death toll at around 400, saying most of those killed were rebels. Residents, however, say it is more than 1,000 people. 

The group that carried out the attacks has insisted it is acting in the best interests of the Rohingya - but who are they and what do they want?

Who are the ARSA? 

The Arakan Rohingya Solidarity Army (ARSA), formerly known as Harakatul Yakeen, first emerged in October 2016 when it attacked three police outposts in the Maungdaw and Rathedaung townships, killing nine police officers.

Despite facing decades of oppression, the predominantly Muslim Rohingya had largely refrained from violence.

Rohingya living in Maungdaw township told Al Jazeera that the men, numbering only a few dozen, stormed the outposts with sticks and knives, and after killing the officers, they fled with light weaponry.

In an 18-minute video statement released last October, Ataullah Abu Amar Jununi, the group's leader, defended the assault, blaming the Myanmar army for inciting the violence.

"For over 75 years there have been various crimes and atrocities committed against the Rohingya ... that's why we carried out the October 9, 2016, attack - to send a message that if the violence is not stopped, we have the right to defend ourselves," he said.

Maung Zarni, an adviser to the European Center for the Study of Extremism, told Al Jazeera that the group's actions were borne out of "systematic abuses of genocidal proportions" by the Myanmar military.

"This is not a terrorist group aimed at striking at the heart of Myanmar society as the government claims it is," Zarni said.

"They're a group of hopeless men who decided to form some kind of self-defence group and protect their people who are living in conditions akin to a Nazi concentration camp," he added.

"ARSA's actions resemble Jewish inmates at Auschwitz who rose up against the Nazis in October 1944."

What do they want?

ARSA says it is fighting on behalf of more than a million Rohingya, who have been denied the most basic rights, including citizenship.

"Our legitimate self-defence is a necessary struggle justified by the needs of human survival," Jununi said in a video uploaded to social media on August 15, 2017.

"ARSA has been in Arakan for three years and has not brought any harm or destruction to the life and properties of the Rakhine people and Rohingya."

The Myanmar authorities, however, paint a different picture, saying they are Muslim "terrorists" who want to impose Islamic rule.

Anagha Neelakantan, the Asia Programme Director at the International Crisis Group, told Al Jazeera that there was no clear ideology underpinning the group's actions.

"From what we understand the group is fighting to protect the Rohingya and not anything else," she said.

It's unclear how many fighters the group currently has, Neelakantan explained, adding that there was "no evidence that ARSA has any links to local or international Jihadist groups, or that their aims are aligned".

Why did they form?

For decades, the Rohingya have faced entrenched discrimination and other human rights violations by the country's military governments.

In 1948, when the British left Myanmar, the military who succeeded them launched a campaign to create some sense of nationhood.

Despite them having deep historical and ancestral roots within the pre-colonial borders of Myanmar, the military would embark on several campaigns to ethnically cleanse the nation of the Rohingya.

Since 2012, incidents of religious intolerance and incitement have increased across the country, with the Rohingya and other Muslims frequently attacked and portrayed as a "threat to race and religion".

Are they linked to al-Qaeda or ISIL?

Aziz Khan, a Rohingya living in Maungdaw township, told Al Jazeera that the military and civilian government were "scare-mongering" and there was "no evidence to suggest the group had any ties to any prescribed terrorist groups".

"The media has latched onto the government's statement that these men are 'terrorists,' this is a lie, [Aung San] Suu Kyi [Myanmar's de facto leader] is lying, so are the army, there is no al-Qaeda in Rakhine."

"These men are not well equipped. All they have are sticks, swords and guns they seized from military outposts. No bombs."

In a statement released on September 14, ARSA said it had "no links with al-Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), Lashkar-e-Taiba or any other transnational terrorist group".

"While the group may be receiving funds from the Rohingya diaspora in Saudi Arabia," Zarni said, "the group is not calling for an Islamic state nor are they separatists, rather it's a call for peace and ethnic equality."

Will Aung San Suu Kyi step up to halt Rohingya crisis?

Houses were on fire in Gawdu Zara village, northern Rakhine state, Myanmar, on Thursday. Journalists saw new fires burning in the Myanmar village that had been abandoned by Rohingya Muslims, and where pages from Islamic texts were seen ripped and left on the ground. (Associated Press)

By Al Jazeera
September 15, 2017

UN urges Myanmar's military and its leader to stop the 'catastrophic' violence in Rakhine state.

Global pressure is mounting on Myanmar's army and the country's leader Aung San Suu Kyi to end the killing and displacement of the Rohingya.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called the killings "catastrophic" and "completely unacceptable". 

He says the Myanmar military should suspend its operation in the western Rakhine state and allow the Rohingya to return to their villages.

At least 400,000 people have fled to Bangladesh since the violence escalated late last month.

As more Rohingya flee to Bangladesh, what will it take to stop this violence?

Presenter: Jane Dutton


Phil Robertson - deputy Asia director, Human Rights Watch

Maung Zarni - visiting fellow on Myanmar at the London School of Economics and founder of the Free Burma Coalition

Abdul Rasheed - founder and chairman of the Rohingya Foundation Community

Buddhist man calls for Jews to help Myanmar's Rohingya people

Maung Zarni stands on the train tracks outside of Auschwitz and appeals to the international community to help the Rohingya people. YOUTUBE PHOTO

By Matthew Gindin
September 4, 2017

In March, London-based Burmese Buddhist and human rights activist Maung Zarni stood on the train tracks outside of Auschwitz and asked his companion to press record on his video camera.

“Hello, my name is Zarni,” he began, “and I am a human rights campaigner from Burma. I am making this personal appeal to European citizens. You have made the pledge ‘never again’ since 1945, when the Holocaust ended. My country, which calls itself ‘Buddhist,’ is now committing a slow genocide. The UNHCR has called it ‘very likely crimes against humanity.’ We are committing a genocide, a slow genocide against over one million Rohingya Muslim people in my country.”

Zarni then asked people to tell their elected representatives to take action to pressure Myanmar to stop the genocidal violence he claimed was unfolding, and “to make ‘never again’ a real pledge, not just an empty slogan.”

The urgency of Zarni’s call has only become clearer in the light of recent events. On Aug. 25, a stream of Rohingya refugees began arriving in Bangladesh. Since then, almost 300,000 Rohingya, the majority women and children, have fled. They are running from their homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, escaping a surge of violence against their communities that began after attacks were launched on dozens of state security stations by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on Aug. 25, which killed 12 people. Government sources claim to have killed hundreds of insurgents in reprisal. Other sources claim that villagers have been massacred and there are reports of widespread arson, rape and violence perpetrated by government soldiers.

“We have received multiple reports and satellite imagery of security forces and local militia burning Rohingya villages and consistent accounts of extrajudicial killings, including shooting fleeing civilians,” wrote UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein in a Sept. 11 report. “I am further appalled by reports that the Myanmar authorities have now begun to lay landmines along the border with Bangladesh, and to learn of official statements that refugees who have fled the violence will only be allowed back if they can provide ‘proof of nationality.’ Given that successive Myanmar governments have since 1962 progressively stripped the Rohingya population of their political and civil rights, including citizenship rights – as acknowledged by Aung San Suu Kyi’s own appointed Rakhine Advisory Commission – this measure resembles a cynical ploy to forcibly transfer large numbers of people without possibility of return … the situation seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

Rakhine is home to an estimated 1.1-million Rohingya, a stateless community that has suffered from more than 40 years of persecution since they surrendered to the forces of the Union of Burma, in return for a promise of “freedom from religious and ethnic discrimination,” which never materialized due to the brutal Burmese military junta that seized control of the country months later, according to the Middle East Institute. In 2012, deadly riots between them and the Buddhist majority forced more than 100,000 Rohingya from their homes and into squalid displacement camps, where they have remained since.

Despite their documented presence in Myanmar since the 18th century, modern Myanmar denies the Rohingya citizenship, Zarni told The CJN. “And they are regarded by most Burmese as descended from itinerant Bengali labourers who never went home.”

According to the human rights group Fortify Rights, Rohingya are subject to discriminatory restrictions on marriage, family size and movement. Their religious buildings have been destroyed and Myanmar has repeatedly restricted humanitarian assistance and media access to the area.

Rights groups in the region have become increasingly critical of Myanmar State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy party swept to power in 2015, offering hope that the country would embrace democracy and human rights after decades of brutal military rule. Suu Kyi has characterized the government’s response to the August attacks, which the UNHCR characterized as “clearly disproportionate and without regard for basic principles of international law,” as legitimate security operations against terrorists. Suu Kyi also accused aid workers of colluding with the “terrorists,” leading to a mass exodus of humanitarian organizations that were providing food and medicine to the already impoverished and under-served Rohingya.

According to Zarni, there have been troubling signs about Suu Kyi’s position on the Rohingya for some time. “Suu Kyi has attempted to officially erase the Rohingya from Burma,” he said. “After she was elected, she asked UN officials not use the term ‘Rohingya,’ which she said was ‘not factual, but emotive.’ This denial of Rohingya history and identity in Burma is reminiscent of the Nuremberg laws. The Jews were told, ‘You are no longer German citizens.’ We have a similar scenario here. Genocide is not simply bombing and gassing and starving people. For the perpetrators, the victims never existed as who they say they are.”

The Canadian government has also criticized Suu Kyi.

“The violence is still ongoing, so obviously there’s a failure on part of the military, on part of the government,” Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Omar Alghabra told the Globe and Mail on Sept. 6. “I don’t think we heard the end of this yet about what our role is going to be. As I said, we are still assessing the situation and we’re looking for ways for Canada to be constructive. We are in discussion as well with our embassy over there, with our officials on the ground.”

Zarni says his interest in the Holocaust goes back to his university days, when one of his professors, German-American historian Robert H. Kaehl, introduced him to the horrors of the Nazi regime. At that time, Zarni’s interest was focused on Burma’s suffering under military rule and he eventually became the head of the Free Burma Coalition, which was dedicated to overthrowing the junta and promoting democratic rule in Myanmar.

In recent years, Zarni has turned his attention to preventing his own people – Burmese Buddhists – from committing genocide against the Rohingya. It is that quest that brought him to the haunted railroad tracks outside of Auschwitz, which he calls “the dark temple of genocide.”

“In Myanmar, we have taken up a Nazi frame of mind,” said Zarni, “where an entire ethnicity is viewed as ‘pests,’ or ‘leeches,’ who must be expelled.”


Although Zarni and others have been calling this a “genocide” for years, many others have been reluctant to do so. According to international legal scholar and activist Katherine Southwick, “Tepid policies toward Myanmar and the Rohingya betray a deep-seated reluctance to label these crimes as genocide, for fear of subverting the narrative so many in the world have waited for – an enlightened democratic transition. The notion of genocide in Myanmar risks turning the country back into an international pariah, rather than an international darling.”

Zarni has also made video appeals to his own people in Burma, as well as writing and speaking internationally on the issue. He says he is happy to now be talking to the Jewish community about what is happening in Myanmar.

“If anyone would understand what is happening to the Rohingya, it would be you, the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, the survivors and their families,” Zarni told The CJN.

Exclusive: ‘Both the generals and Suu Kyi sing from the same Buddhist nationalist hymn book’

By Syed Zainul Abedin Eiffel
September 14, 2017

Myanmar's army has great political, economic and strategic interests in keeping the ethnic conflict alive in Rakhine and carrying out the purge of Rohingyas from their homeland

Dr Maung Zarni, a Burmese man exiled from Myanmar, is an academic, activist, commentator and expert on his country’s politics. Currently he is a London-based scholar with the Documentation Centre of Cambodia, at the Sleuk Rith Institute.

In an exclusive interview with Dhaka Tribune’s Syed Zainul Abedin, Maung says Myanmar’s army has great political, economic and strategic interests in keeping the ethnic conflict alive in Rakhine and carrying out the purge of Rohingyas from their homeland.

“My own late great-uncle was deputy chief of Rohingya district and deputy commander of all Armed Forces in Rakhine Division in 1961. That was at the time when the Burmese military embraced Rohingyas as an ethnic group in Burma (Myanmar) as full citizens. They were fighting the Rakhine secessionists at the time,” he says.

Can you tell us what is happening in Arakan and the Northern Rakhine state?

Using the pretext of fighting terrorism, Myanmar Tatmadaw (the armed forces) are engaged in the largest wave of systematic killings and destruction of a large segment of Rohingya population in an area that spans over 100 kilometres. They are using air force, navy and army units, as well as police and urban riot control special units in these attacks which have resulted in 370,000 Rohingya fleeing their villages.

Meanwhile, the Aung San Suu Kyi-led civilian government in partnership with the Armed Forces are selling this large scale scorched earth operation as national defence in the face of Rohingya “terrorist” attack which killed 12 police officers and soldiers. This official narrative is patently false: Myanmar is not fighting terrorism, it is speeding up what its Commander in Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing reportedly told the rank and file members of the Tatmadaw as pursuing “the unfinished business” of the World War II (1942) during which local Rakhines and Rohingya Muslims fought one another.

Rohingya villages and towns can be described accurately as “vast open prisons” and the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army’s attacks against Burmese border guard posts in Oct 2016 and Aug 2017, resemble the Nazi victims’ uprising at Auschwitz in Oct 1944, more than a properly organised and properly armed “insurgency”. In October 1944, the Jewish inmates killed 4 SS officers in one barrack at the concentration camp called Birkenau and the SS responded by killing about 500 Jewish and Polish prisoners and blowing up the entire barrack. Similar waves of large scale terror campaign by the Burmese military were launched in February – June 1978 and 1991-92, expelling upwards of 260,000 in each wave.

Why is the Rohingya community being targeted by the Myanmar government?

The Burmese military took an anti-Muslim turn when Ne Win came to power in a coup in 1962. The generals have purged the entire armed forces of all Muslim officers in the last 50 years, painted the Rohingyas as having cross-border cultural, linguistic and historical ties to the populous Muslim nation of the then East Pakistan, and framed this as a threat to national security, as early as the mid-1960s. There are other bi-national communities along the Sino-Burmese, Indo-Burmese, Thai-Burmese borders such as Kachin, Chin, Shan, Karen, Kokant, Mon etc, as well as Buddhist Rakhine (with ties to Chittagong). But none of these communities are Muslims, only the Rohingyas are. So despite the Rohingyas’ historical presence in Rakhine or Arakan dating back to pre-British colonial days, the military hatched an institutionalised policy of cleansing Western Burma (Myanmar) of Rohingyas, the largest Muslim pocket in the country, numbering over 1 million. Myanmar is engaged in the destruction of the Rohingya using national laws tailored to exclude, disenfranchise and strip them of any basic rights, using the armed forces and police, educational and cultural institutions to demonise and de-humanise them, and physically debilitate them through denial of proper food, access to food systems (such as farms, rivers, creeks), control of their birth rate through marriage restrictions, denial of access to preventive and emergency medicine as well as restriction of freedom of movement. There are other Muslims throughout Burma (Myanmar) but only the Rohingyas have their own geographic pocket – North Arakan – which was officially recognised in the 1950s and early 1960s as the predominantly official Rohingya district.

Would you call the persecution being carried out by Myanmar Army on Rohingyas genocide?

Yes, absolutely. As Professor Amartya Sen put it – this is “institutionalised killing” by the state of Myanmar. He based that on the three-year research work done by me and my researcher colleague in London “The Slow Burning Genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingya”. Myanmar can be proven to be engaged in the fully fledged crime of genocide, in terms of both the Genocide Convention of 1948 and as defined more broadly sociologically by the original framer of genocide the late Polish Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin. Out of the five acts of genocide in the legal Geneva Convention, Myanmar is guilty of four, except for the last crime which is transferring victim children to a different group to change the character of the population singled out for extermination. Myanmar does not even bother transferring children alive for adoption: the troops and the Rakhine burn and kill infants and children, according to eyewitness survivors.

Could you please speak about the communal divide in Myanmar?

Burma (Myanmar) is a multi-ethnic country of about one or two dozen distinct ethnic communities. The official list of 135 national races, from which Rohingyas are excluded, is really a fiction. But in this multi-ethnic web of people with different faiths, there have been many divisions, prejudices and ethno-racism. The military employs the international, colonial ‘divide and rule’ principle that the British used. So in Arakan or Rakhine state, Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists have been divided and there has been mutual distrust and hostilities since WWII. But that is not unique to Rakhine. Many other divisions and past armed conflicts between the majority Buddhist Bama and Karens with 20% Christian population, or Bama and predominantly Buddhist Shan, or Bama and predominantly Christian Kachins and Chins are to be found. Virtually every non-Bama minority group attempted to seek independence from the Bama-controlled Union of Burma since independence – at various points in history. Rohingyas and the Rakhine had their own armed secessionist movements as well.

But other communal tensions and past histories of bloodbath are no longer stoked by the Burmese military. But it has systematically made sure that Rakhine and Rohingya do not seek or achieve communal reconciliation like the rest. One major reason is Rakhine nationalists still maintain the dream of restoring their sovereignty which they lost to the colonising Bama from the central Burma in 1785. The military has pitted the Rohingya and Rakhine Buddhists, who have long shared Arakan as their common birthplace, in order to maintain its colonial domination over Rakhine and focus on extracting valuable resources and control the strategic coast line.

Yes, there are communal aspects to Rakhine and Rohingya conflict. But it is the Burmese central Armed Forces which is the primary player keeping this conflict alive and calibrating it to its strategic goals of the control of Rakhine state economically, strategically, politically and militarily.
Does the minority and majority issue play a role in this situation?

For the non-Rohingya minorities, they have been brainwashed through a systematic campaign of misinformation about the Rohingya to think of the latter as “illegal Bengali migrants”, although many Rohingyas have been in western Burma decades before the British colonial rule, which began in 1824 – and others have put their root down in Rakhine after the British arrived and started the industrial rice economy in the fertile soil of western Burma. These minorities and the Bama majority are brainwashed to think that only they are the true indigenous peoples of Burma, despite the fact that they too migrated to Burma during pre-colonial times in various waves of migration from Southern China, Tibet, Indian subcontinent, etc. So this thinking that “we are hosts and indigenous and Rohingyas, Muslims, Christians etc are guests who live in our country at our pleasure” fuels deep racism towards Rohingyas and to a lesser extent, Chinese and Christians. But China is too powerful for the military to try to stoke anti-Chinese racism. So, the military diverts public discontent and frustration over hardships of life under failed military leaders towards the Rohingya – making them a scapegoat.

How is geopolitics playing a role in this?

The Rakhine state, especially North Rakhine of predominantly Rohingya population, is rich in natural resources – off-shore natural gas, fertile agricultural land, untapped titanium, rare earth materials, aluminum, natural deep sea harbours for deep sea port, and land for tax-free Special Economic Zone. The coast line is strategic for China, which wants to have an alternative to the narrow Straits of Mallaca near Singapore, for fear of future conflicts with US and US allies. Rakhine is that alternative. Because it is important to China, it becomes important to players with anti-Chinese strategic visions namely, US, India, Japan, South Korea – all allies and friends.

Just last week Myanmar announced that today’s killing fields of North Rakhine will be turned into a vast Special Economic Zone near the Bangladeshi borders.

How would you explain the situation in light of the emergent democracy in Myanmar and Aung San Suu Kyi’s stance on the military crackdown?

Aung San Suu Kyi is a well-documented and widely reported anti-Muslim racist and a Buddhist nationalist. She is utterly misinformed about the Rohingya situation – their identity, history, politics in Burma (Myanmar) – by her ex-military senior colleagues and Rakhine supporters. The army has cleansed its ranks of any Muslims, and she has cleansed the NLD party of all Muslims.

Both the generals and Aung San Suu Kyi sing from the same Buddhist nationalist hymn book and their vision of Burma (Myanmar) does not have much space for Muslims – and no space for Rohingyas. Her stance is nothing less than 100% genocidal if you take Lemkin’s original conception of a genocide as “destruction of the group starting with the erasure or denial of the group’s identity”. The generals view Western Burma (Myanmar) as originally Muslim-free region and part of kingdom of Burma – despite all evidence to the contrary that Rakhine was a rich, cosmopolitan, multi-ethnic and multi-faith kingdom. So out of this historical misconception and revisionist history, the generals want to make Rakhine a Muslim-free region.

What does Myanmar stand to gain from all this – in terms of economy and politics – in the future?

The army is regaining popularity even among Buddhist monks who were historical threats to the army’s rule as evident in the Saffron Revolt of 2007. The army is making the traditionally hostile Rakhine nationalists who are anti-Burmese and pro-independence dependent on the army for their safety now. And it has derailed Suu Kyi’s majoritarian democratic transition. Economically, the army has the lion’s share of all commercial and development projects in Rakhine.

But the major losers are the peoples of Burma (Myanmar) at large. The society is now moving into the terrorism-obsessed mental space. The public will continue to be reliant on the army and the army’s whims because it is afraid of “jihad”. The military and Suu Kyi are unable to find a Big Tent vision for every ethnic group in Burma (Myanmar). They will continue to work together in the wrong policy framework of preempting “terrorism” from Muslims at large inside Burma (Myanmar) and the Rohingyas. That will become self-fulfilling as their anti-Muslim racist policies and the genocidal violence against Rohingyas has stoked deep rage within 1.7 billion Muslims around the world.

Ultimately, Burma (Myanmar) is going to become a site of major conflicts and terrorism.

Myanmar’s Reformist Mask Hides a Rohingya Refugee Crisis

Rohingya refugees walk on the muddy path after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. (Reuters / Mohammad Ponir Hossain)

Over 120,000 refugees have flooded into neighboring Bangladesh in less than a month.

By Michelle Chen
September 5, 2017

The official news out of Myanmar has slowed to a trickle, but the torrent of human desperation rushing over the border keeps swelling, as the persecution of Muslim Rohingya minority communities has erupted into mass bloodshed.

A vaguely defined rogue insurgency has been blamed for instigating the violence by attacking local police. But the more than 120,000 refugees who have crossed over to neighboring Bangladesh since August 25 tell a very different story of genocidal violence, military impunity, and relentless intercommunal conflict. The aggression, say human-rights observers, is rooted in a systemic pattern of ethnic cleansing perpetrated against people the country has never accepted as citizens, even as it claims to be democratizing society.

In response, the United Nations has condemned the carnage, while the UN special rapporteur on the human-rights situation in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, accused the government of multiple human-rights violations against the Rohingya over recent months, urging it to “ensure that security forces exercise restraint in all circumstances.”

Restraint isn’t what comes to mind when Maung Zarni thinks about the exodus from his homeland. The London-based academic and dissident describes the crisis as a generations-old “double crime” against the Rohingya: institutionalized ethnic hatred and scars of past sectarian conflict, combined with the community’s ongoing disenfranchisement under successive repressive governments. The official narrative, bolstered with a humanitarian and media blockade in the Rakhine state, obscures the government’s role in what he sees as “the slow death” of the Rohingya “on their own home land,” spurred by periodic crackdowns by government forces and perpetuated through communal conflict with a militarized Buddhist majority.

At the same time, Rohingya refugees have been met with hostility from border authorities. Makeshift encampments on the outskirts of Bangladesh have already filled and the influx is now spilling into local roadsides, apparently forcing the Bangladeshi government to loosen its border controls somewhat. As the need for emergency aid explodes, international humanitarian authorities predict catastrophe if Myanmar’s government fails to stem the displacement and work toward reconciliation.

Refugees who have made it across the border report massacres, mass rape, and systematic torching of homes.

“They fired so close that I cannot hear anything now,” Mohammad Zafar, 70, recounted in an AFP report, claiming that both his sons had been murdered by Buddhist militants. “They came with rods and sticks to drive us to the border.”

And at the border, many trying to cross by traversing a river in simple boats have drowned. Those who survive the journey recall scenes of horror: One woman clutching an infant told the BBC, “Buddhists are killing us by bullets. They burned houses. Tried to shoot us. They shot and killed my husband.”

A weeping teenager pleaded for protection from Bangladeshi authorities: “If we go there to our land, the army will kill us. So you better kill us here or you negotiate with them so that we can go back there. I don’t want to go back there now.”

The reports resonate strongly with other eyewitness accounts given by refugees to Guardian journalists in recent months, describing militarized communal violence led primarily by locals militants linked to a group of Buddhist monks. From London, Zarni denounced Myanmar’s new de facto leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi, who has remained emphatically silent on the issue. The Nobel Peace laureate has recently suggested “both sides” are to blame, suggesting that she is aligning with the military and her administration is sliding into authoritarianism.

In fact, Zarni argues, what has been framed by the government as an extremist Muslim insurgency is a cry of frustration from a persecuted minority. The decades of mass violence and denial of basic citizenship rights have bred deep, and justified, resentment toward the post-reform government. “These young Rohingya men, primitively armed, are not fighting to go to heaven as martyrs,” he continues. “They are fighting back because they and their communities are sitting ducks awaiting the next round of mass slaughter.”

If they are fighting back, he writes via e-mail, they are doing so with “primitive” tools and equipment and pose little real threat to security forces. He concedes that “they are making a bad choice, of course, among all bad choices. Do they subject themselves to semi-slavery in the hands of human traffickers, or risk drowning in the high sea? Do they allow themselves and their families to remain in semi-famine conditions?”

Zarni also sees calculated anti-Islamic stereotyping in the official rhetoric on a largely localized conflict, arguing that Western media and officials are “infested with general Islamophobia” and eager to “frame any Muslim who resists against injustices or fights back any power that subjects their communities to Hell-like conditions as ‘prospective Jihadist’, ‘jihadist’ or ‘extremist’ or ‘Terrorist.’” 

Though Myanmar’s predominantly Muslim neighbors like Indonesia are condemning the government’s actions, in Zarni’s view the refugees are trapped in a geopolitical crossfire. As a regional political flashpoint, “Rohingyas are preyed on by predatory states and non-state actors” across South Asia who exploit the conflict to bolster their own political or business interests. Meanwhile the United States and other Western powers’ relative passivity suggest the White House is “wooing Myanmar with Suu Kyi in quasi-power as the facade or justification for fully normalizing its relations with the Burmese military…or promoting US corporate interests.”

The refugee crisis also reflects a broader crisis of displacement across Asia. Rohingya refugees have been continually lured onto deadly smuggling routesthat feed into a transnational system of mass migration and human trafficking.

Zarni says that the international response could make a difference if informed by a strong grassroots mobilization, parallel to that of the global anti-apartheid struggle and, more recently, the free Burma activism that helped bring about pro-democracy reforms that put the current government in place. “What we are seeing,” he says, “is an apartheid in Western Burma with a serious genocidal dimension…. Burma needs to be pariarized again, and any type of cultural tie or economic tie needs to come under pressure for severance.”

As with many refugee crises around the world, the problem isn’t centered merely on questions of humanitarian policy or foreign aid, but historically driven deprivation, coupled with state repression and international indifference. The mask is now slipping on Yangon’s reformist regime, but as long it can maintain its impunity among its strategic allies, officials will contain the political fallout, even as the humanitarian fallout bleeds across borders.

Why More than 100,000 Rohingya Refugees Have Just Fled their Buddhist Home

A internally displaced persons camp near Sittwe, Myanmar, that can only be accessed by sea, in 2013. Photo by Mathias Eick, EU/ECHO, Rakhine State, Myanmar/Burma, September 2013 | https://tricy.cl/2wpzfwk

By Matthew Gindin
September 1, 2017

Violence against Myanmar’s Muslim minority continues

Update: Since we first reported this story, the number of Rohingya refugees that has crossed into Bangladesh has risen to 125,000, according to Reuters

On Friday, August 25, the stream of refugees began arriving in Bangladesh, fleeing over the country’s border with Myanmar. Some 38,000 Rohingya, the majority women and children, have now crossed the Naf River. 20,000 or more are stranded on the border, where some have been for days, blocked by Bangladesh security forces. 

The refugees, minority Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar’s Rakhine State, are escaping a surge of violence against their communities that began after attacks were launched on dozens of state security stations by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on August 25th, killing 12 people. Government sources claim to have killed at least 370 insurgents in reprisal;other sources claim villagers have been massacred, and there are reports of widespread arson and violence against the Rohingya.

Rakhine is home to an estimated 1.1 million Rohingya, a stateless Muslim minority that has suffered from more than 40 years of persecution. In 2012, deadly riots between Muslims and the Buddhist majority forced more than 100,000 Rohingya from their homes into squalid displacement camps, where they have remained since.

In October 2016, a smaller attack by militants triggered a counter operation that sent 74,000 Rohingya fleeing across the border, bringing with them horrifying allegations of violence perpetrated by the military and Buddhist vigilante citizens in response. A report from UNHCR claims that government soldiers gang-raped Rohingya women and girls and details children and infants having their throats slit and the elderly and disabled being thrown into burning buildings alive. 

On Wednesday, U Wirathu, a monk from the Buddhist nationalist organisation Ma Ba Tha known for his sermons inciting hatred and violence against Muslims, gave a speech at a rally in the capital, Yangon, demanding all international NGOs be expelled from Rakhine State and martial law be established, Al-Jazeera reported.

According to the human rights group Fortify Rights, Rohingya are subject to discriminatory restrictions on marriage, family size, and movement. Their religious buildings have been destroyed, and Myanmar has repeatedly restricted humanitarian assistance and media access to the area. 

The Rohingya are a distinct historical Muslim community whose presence in what is now Myanmar goes back at least to the early 19th century and possibly much earlier, London-based Burmese human rights activist and Buddhist Maung Zarni told Tricycle Thursday. Modern Myanmar denies them citizenship, he explained, “and they are regarded by most Burmese as descended from itinerant Bengali laborers who never went home.”

In recent decades the Buddhist majority in Myanmar has become increasingly hostile to the Rohingya, and inflammatory rhetoric from both the state and monastic communities about a feared “Islamic takeover” of the Buddhist country has stoked the fires of violence and discrimination against them.

Rights groups in the region have been increasingly critical of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy party swept to power in 2015, offering hope that Myanmar would embrace democracy and human rights after decades of brutal military rule.

“Aung San Suu Kyi has been putting out statements [which are] consistently disturbing, and her office is generating anti-Rohingya, anti-aid worker propaganda, fueling tensions in the country,” Matthew Smith of Fortify Rights told CNN. “As de facto head of state, Aung San Suu Kyi needs to be calling for calm, calling for [the] military to use restraint. [Her] messaging could not be more irresponsible right now.”

According to Time magazine, a Facebook page belonging to Aung San Suu Kyi’s information committee posted allegations that aid workers had colluded with the attackers, saying World Food Program biscuits were found at an alleged training camp. By Wednesday, most aid organizations had pulled their staff out of northern Rakhine, fearful for the safety of their workers.

And according to Zarni, there have been troubling signs about Suu Kyi’s position on the Rohingya for some time. “Suu Kyi has to be held accountable for her role in attempting to officially erase the Rohingya from Burma,” said Zarni. “Immediately after she was elected, she requested that UN officials not use the term ‘Rohingya,’ which she said was ‘not factual but emotive.’ This denial of Rohingya history and identity in Burma is akin to the passing of the Nuremberg laws. The Jews were told, ‘You are no longer German citizens.’ We have a similar scenario here. Genocide is not simply bombing and gassing and starving people. For the perpetrators, the victims never existed as who they say they are. There were no crimes, because you cannot commit a crime against a people who don’t exist.” 

Zarni, once the head of the Free Burma Coalition that fought to liberate Myanmar from the military junta, is fiercely critical of Suu Kyi. “She is neither liberal and pro-human rights nor is she a Buddhist,” he said. “We don’t judge politicians by what they say they are but by what they do. On that count, Suu Kyi is a complete failure.”

After Burma attained independence in 1948, the Rohingya were among the various ethnic minorities who rebelled against the government. In 1961 they surrendered in return for the promise of “absolutely no religious or ethnic discrimination” against Rohingya on the part of Rakhine Buddhists and a guarantee of “equal protection under the law.” Colonel Saw Mint, the Commander of the Border Area Administration and Territorial Forces, agreed, and steps were taken to give the Rohingya limited self-government in allegiance to the Union of Burma. When nationalist hardliners within the military staged a coup d’etat months later, motivated partially by a fear of ceding too much power to minorities, a process of disempowering or ethnically cleansing minorities who are not Burmese Buddhists began and has continued to the present day, according to a report by the Middle East Institute.

In 1978, military leader Ne Win launched “Operation King Dragon,” a “centrally organized, violent operation” against the Rohingya, which, according to former military intelligence chief Khin Nyunt, sent almost 300,000 Rohingya fleeing into Bangladesh. In 1982 the Citizenship Act was passed, a bill that excluded Rohingya from citizenship. Since then waves of violence and a policy of disempowerment and discrimination have constituted what Zarni called “slow-burn genocide.”

The Rohingya genocide may be largely driven by nationalist ideology, but that is not the only factor at play. Rakhine State is rich in natural resources and coveted coastal access to the Bay of Bengal and the Indian ocean. China, India, Japan, and South Korea all have economic or political interests in the region.

The rise in violent Buddhist nationalism is bad news for the progress of democracy and human rights in Myanmar, said Zarni, and even the Buddhist majority will pay a price.

“The ultimate winners are the military, the local economic czars, and the external players from China and elsewhere,” he said. “The Rakhines and the Burmese majority that are backing the ethnic cleansing are the ultimate losers, after the victims of the genocide themselves. The Burmese majority lose because the political reforms, the movement towards democracy and human rights, is going off the rails. The Rakhine, who may actually resent Burmese rule more than the Rohingya, lose because they have become beholden to the Burmese military: they cannot cleanse Rakhine for Buddhists without their help. Meanwhile, in the process Aung San Suu Kyi’s international credibility has been destroyed. From a strategic point of view, you could view it as brilliant on the Burmese military’s side.”

The U.N. has said the recent events in Rakhine State are “very likely commission of crimes against humanity.” The Myanmar government’s treatment of the Rohingya has been likened to ethnic cleansing by some, and to genocide by others. Although Zarni and others have been calling the government’s actions genocide for years, many others have been reluctant to do so.

According to international legal scholar and activist Katherine Southwick, “Tepid policies toward Myanmar and the Rohingya betray a deep-seated reluctance to label these crimes as genocide for fear of subverting the narrative so many in the world have waited for; an enlightened democratic transition. The notion of genocide in Myanmar risks turning the country back into an international pariah rather than an international darling.”

““I utterly condemn the violent attacks on security personnel, which have led to the loss of many lives and the displacement of thousands of people,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in a statement Tuesday. “Unfortunately, what we feared appears to be occurring. Decades of persistent and systematic human rights violations, including the very violent security responses to the attacks since October 2016, have almost certainly contributed to the nurturing of violent extremism, with everyone ultimately losing.

“This turn of events is deplorable,” he continued. “It was predicted and could have been prevented.”

“Please use your liberty to promote ours,” Aung San Suu Kyi once famously pled to the Western world. In today’s bizarre reversal, we can now hear those words echoed back to her on the lips of children dying in displaced person camps she has done nothing to empty, whose suffering she has done nothing to soothe.

Matthew Gindin is a freelance journalist and educator who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. A former Buddhist monk in the Thai Forest tradition, he has taught meditation in various contexts for over a decade. He is the author of Everyone In Love: The Beautiful Theology of Rav Yehuda Ashlar.

মুসলিমদের হত্যা করা হলে কার কী আসে যায়!

By Bangla Report
September 12, 2017

অধ্যাপক মং জানি যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের উইস্কনসিন বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের গণহত্যাবিষয়ক গবেষক এবং  মানবাধিকার আন্দোলনের কর্মী। ৯ সেপ্টেম্বর ডাউনিং স্ট্রিটে এক প্রতিবাদ চলাকালে তিনি এই সাক্ষাৎকার দেন। রোহিঙ্গা পরিস্থিতি নিয়ে সেই সাক্ষাৎকারের ঈষৎ সংক্ষেপিত অনুবাদ এখানে উপস্থাপন করা হলো-
সাক্ষাৎকার গ্রহণকারী: মিয়ানমারের রাখাইন স্টেটের চলমান পরিস্থিতি কী? সেখানকার পরিস্থিতি মেইন স্ট্রিম মিডিয়ায় কিভাবে প্রতিফলিত হচ্ছে? 
অধ্যাপক মং জানি: এখন রাখাইন স্টেটে যা ঘটছে তা পুরোপুরি গণহত্যা, পূর্ণমাত্রায় গণহত্যা। এটা শুধু ‘জাতগিত নর্মিূল’ নয়। মানুষজনকে সেখান থেকে শুধু উচ্ছেদই করা হচ্ছে না, গণহত্যাও চলছে। প্রচুর মানুষ পালিয়ে বাংলাদেশে যাচ্ছে। এটা একটা ঐতিহাসিক ঘটনা।
আমি বার্মা থেকে এসেছি। আমি বুদ্ধিস্ট, আমি বার্মিজ, এসেছি যৌথ পরিবার থেকে। আমার গ্রেট আঙ্কেল যিনি গত বছর মারা গিয়েছেন, তিনি রোহিঙ্গা ডিস্ট্রিক্টসহ আরো কয়েকটা অঞ্চলের মিলিটারি-কমান্ডার-ইনচার্জ ছিলেন। রোহিঙ্গা আমাদের নিজেদের জনগোষ্ঠী। তারা শান্তিপূর্ণ হিসেবে সেখানে পরিচিত। কমিউনিস্টসহ বার্মার অন্যান্য ক্ষুদ্র জনগোষ্ঠীর মতোই তাদের মধ্যেও বিদ্রোহী আছে। তারা র্বামার কন্দ্রেীয় রাষ্ট্ররে বিরুদ্ধে লড়াই করছে। আত্মসমর্পনের পর তারা শান্তিচুক্তির ব্যাপারে একমত হয়।
সাক্ষাৎকার গ্রহণকারী: সেখানকার বিভাজনের ধারণা দিন আমাদের...
অধ্যাপক মং জানি: পশ্চিম বার্মায় আমাদের কয়েকটি জনগোষ্ঠী আছে যারা তাদের জন্মভূমির স্বাধীনতা দাবি করে আসছে। কেন্দ্রীয় বার্মা থেকে তাদের ভিন্ন ভিন্ন ইতিহাস আছে। আছে ভাষাগত ভিন্নতা। বার্মা খানিকটা বৃটেনের মতোই, যেখানে ভিন্ন ভিন্ন রাজ্যের আলাদা ইতিহাস-সংস্কৃতি ও ভাষাগত বৈচিত্র আছে।
পশ্চিম বার্মায় রোহিঙ্গা পরিস্থিতির ক্ষেত্রে, আপনি ত্রিমুখী রাজনীতি দেখতে পাবেন। ওই অঞ্চলে বুদ্ধিস্ট রাখাইন জনসংখ্যার তুলনায় রোহিঙ্গা জনসংখ্যা তিন ভাগের এক ভাগ। সংখ্যায় রোহিঙ্গা জনগোষ্ঠী সেখানে ক্ষুদ্র। অন্যভাবে বলতে, রোহিঙ্গা জনগোষ্ঠী স্থানীয় কি জাতীয় কোনো বুদ্ধিধস্টদের জন্য হুমকি নয়। সুতরাং আমরা বুদ্ধিস্টরা বার্মায় একটা প্রভাবশালী অংশ যারা বার্মার পশ্চিমাঞ্চলকে নিজেদের কলোনী বানায় ১৭৮৫ সালে। ফলে বুদ্ধিস্ট রাখাইন, রোহিঙ্গা মুসলিম, অন্যান্য মুসলিম, ও খ্রিস্টান জনগোষ্ঠীর লোকজন একই রাজ্যের আওতায় চলে আসে। অনেক মুসলিম বাংলাদেশে তথা তৎকালীন পূর্ববঙ্গে পালিয়ে যায়। এর ২০ বছর পরে ব্রিটিশরা এই নতুন কলোনিকে যুক্ত করে। ১৯৪০ সালে বার্মা ব্রিটিশদের কাছে স্বাধীনতা পুনরুদ্ধার করে। এরপরে বুদ্ধিস্ট সংখ্যাগরিষ্ঠ বার্মিজরা ব্রিটিশদের মতো আচরণ শুরু করে। বিষয়টা এমন যে তারা নতুন ব্রিটিশ। আমরা দেখলাম যে, সেনা-নিয়ন্ত্রিত সংখ্যাগরিষ্ঠ বার্মিজরা ‘ভাগ করো এবং শাসন করো’ নীতি অনুসরণ করতে লাগল।

সাক্ষাৎকার গ্রহণকারী: তাহলে সেখানে তিনটা গ্রুপ। আক্রান্ত রোহিঙ্গা, বুদ্ধিস্ট...
অধ্যাপক মং জানি: রাখাইন বুদ্ধিস্টরাও সেখানে এই কলোনীকরণের শিকার। সেনা-নিয়ন্ত্রিত সংখ্যাগরিষ্ঠ বার্মিজ বুদ্ধিস্টরা রাখাইন বুদ্ধিস্ট এবং রোহিঙ্গা মুসলিমদের মধ্যে বিভাজন তৈরি করে দিয়ে একে অপরের বিরুদ্ধে লেলিয়ে দেয়।
সাক্ষাৎকার গ্রহণকারী: রাখাইন বুদ্ধিস্ট এবং সেনা-নিয়ন্ত্রিত সংখ্যাগরিষ্ঠ বার্মিজ বুদ্ধিস্টদের মধ্যে মৈত্রী...
অধ্যাপক মং জানি: একদম ঠিক। ব্রিটিশদের কাছ থেকে স্বাধীনতার পরে এবং এই মৈত্রীর আগে, রাখাইনরা বার্মা থেকে নিজেদের স্বাধীনতা দাবি করেছিল। এবং রোহিঙ্গা মুসলিমদের একটা ছোট্ট গ্রুপও স্বাধানতা দাবি করেছিল। কিন্তু মুজাহিদিন নামের ছোট্ট এই রোহিঙ্গা গ্রুপ আত্মসমর্পন করে এবং বার্মিজ মিলিটারিরা রোহিঙ্গাদের সঙ্গে একটা চুক্তি করে যাতে তাদেরকে রাখাইন এবং রোহিঙ্গার বিরুদ্ধে দ্বিমুখী যুদ্ধ করতে না হয়।
ষাটের দশক থেকে বার্মিজ মিলিটারি মুসলিম বিরোধী র‌্যাডিক্যাল টার্ন নিয়েছে। এই র‌্যাডিক্যাল টার্ন কেন্দ্রীয়ভাবে রোহিঙ্গাদের উপর গণহত্যাযজ্ঞে পরিণত করেছে। মিলিটারিরা সিদ্ধান্ত নিলো যে রোহিঙ্গারা বার্মার জাতীয় নিরাপত্তার জন্য প্রধান হুমকিস্বরুপ। একমাত্র কারণ, তারা মুসলিম।
সাক্ষাৎকার গ্রহণকারী: তাইলে পরিকল্পনা অন্য সবাইকে সমূলে উচ্ছেদ...
অধ্যাপক মং জানি: একদম ঠিক। ৩৯ বছরে ইত্যেমধ্যে ১০ লক্ষের বেশি রোহিঙ্গা মানুষ পালিয়ে যেতে বাধ্য হয়েছে। ‘এথনিক ক্লিনজিং’ হলো শুধু একটা বিশেষ জায়গা থেকে মানুষজনকে উচ্ছেদ করে দেয়া। কিন্তু এটা তারচেয়ে ভয়াবহ- সিনিস্টার এবং ইভিল। কারণ সেখানে একটা পলিসি আছে যে রোহিঙ্গা মানুষদের জন্য এমন একটা পরিবেশ-পরিস্থিতি তৈরি করা হবে যাতে তারা শারীরিকভাবে দুর্বল হয়ে যায় এবং গোষ্ঠীগতভাবে সমূলে উৎপাটিত হয়। তারা যাতে পুষ্টি না পায় সেজন্য তাদের বাইরের চলাচল সংকুচিত এবং নিষিদ্ধ করে দেয়া হয়, চাষবাস ও মাছ ধরা নিষিদ্ধ করে দেয়া হয়।
আরাকান পরিস্থিতিতে আপনি দেখবেন যে গাজা (ফিলিস্তিন) এবং কনসেনট্রেশন ক্যাম্পের (দ্বিতীয় বিশ^যুদ্ধ) একটা সম্মিলন। আপনি নিজের চোখে না দেখলে কখনোই বুঝতে পারবেন না যে রোহিঙ্গা জনগোষ্ঠী একটা বিশাল কারাগারের মধ্যে বন্দী। রোহিঙ্গা যুবকদের দেখুনÑ তাদের কোনো ভবিষ্যত নেই, যাওয়ার কোনো জায়গা নেই, তখন তো তারা হাতে অস্ত্র তুলে নিতে বাধ্য হয়।
এটা অনেকটা অসউইজের (পোলান্ড) একটা ঘটনার মতো। ১৯৪৪ সালের অক্টোবরে পোলিশ সমাজকর্মীর সহায়তায় চার-পাঁচজনের একদল ইহুদি যুবক হিটলারের সেই কনসেনট্রশন ক্যাম্পে থাকাকালীন টিফিন ক্যারিয়ারে করে বোমা বহন করে এসএস বাহিনীর চারজন সদস্যকে উড়িয়ে দেয়। এর প্রতিক্রিয়ায় হিটলারের বাহিনী পাঁচশ যুবককে নির্মমভাবে মেরে ফেলে। রোহিঙ্গা পরিস্থিতি হিটলারের এই বিশেষ ভয়াবহ ঘটনার থেকেও আরো নির্মম।
রোহিঙ্গা জঙ্গি ১২ পুলিশ সদস্যকে মেরে ফেলেছে। আর আমরা ৩ লক্ষ মানুষকে তাড়িয়ে দিয়েছি। আগুন দিয়ে ধ্বংস করেছি সবকিছু। টানা একশ কিলোমিটারের মতো জায়গা পুড়িয়ে ছারখার করে দিয়েছি। শিশু-বৃদ্ধকে যারা হাঁটতে পারে না তাদেরকে পুড়িয়ে মারা হচ্ছে, মানুষ যখন পালিয়ে যাচ্ছে তখনও মিলিটারি গুলি করছে। পেছন থেকে, স্পিডবোট থেকে, হেলিকপ্টার থেকে। এবং লম্বাপথে যেদিক দিয়ে রোহিঙ্গারা পালিয়ে যাচ্ছে সেখানে ল্যান্ডমাইন পুঁতে পুঁতে রেখে দেয়া হয়েছে। এটা সেই বার্মিজ মিলিটারি যারা রোহিঙ্গাদের পালিয়ে যেতে বাধ্য করছে এবং একই সঙ্গে চাচ্ছে যতবেশি হত্যাযজ্ঞ চালানো যায়।
সুতরাং এটা একইসঙ্গে গণহত্যা এবং এথনিক ক্লিনজিং। কিন্তু বিপদজ্জনকভাবে এটা একটা চাপিয়ে দেয়া গণহত্যা।
সাক্ষাৎকার গ্রহণকারী: সুচির নির্বাচনের সময় রোহিঙ্গা জনগোষ্ঠীর ভোটাধিকারে নিষেধাজ্ঞা ছিল। কিন্তু সব পশ্চিমা গণমাধ্যম বিষয়টি এড়িয়ে গেছে...
অধ্যাপক মং জানি: তারা সুচির সঙ্গে যায়। দুই বছর আগে যখন সুচিকে জিজ্ঞেস করা হয়েছিল রোহিঙ্গা বিষয়ে, তিনি বলেছেন এটা আমাদের অগ্রাধিকার বিষয় নয় কারণ বার্মায় অনেক বড় বড় ইস্যু আছে। এবং পশ্চিমা গণমাধ্যম এখনো সুচির সঙ্গেই হেলে-দুলে হাসছে।
সাক্ষাৎকার গ্রহণকারী: সবার মনোযোগ কি অর্থনৈতিক স্বার্থের দিকেই?
অধ্যাপক মং জানি: না, না। এ রকম না। কিন্তু ‘মুসলিম’দের হত্যা করা হলে কার কী আসে যায়! আপনি কি ভাবেন যে ইতালিতে ক্যাথলিকরা যদি একইভাবে মরতো পশ্চিমা গণমাধ্যম এটা কাভার করতো না? অবশ্যই করত। পশ্চিমা গণমাধ্যম অ্যান্টি-মুসলিম-রেসিস্ট। এই কারণেই আপনি দেখবেন যে, প্যারিস বার্সেলোনার ঘটনা এত গুরুত্ব দিয়ে প্রচার করা হলেও সিরিয়া বা দামেস্কে হাজার হাজার শিশুকে বোমা মেরে উড়িয়ে দেওয়ার মতো ঘটনাগুলোতে তাদের টু শব্দ পাওয়া যায় না।
সাক্ষাৎকারটি ‘পিপলস থট’ নামে এক ফেসবুক গ্রুপের ভিডিওপোস্ট থেকে নেয়া

Utterly false narrative: Myanmar is responding to ARSA.

Myanmar is NOT responding to Rohingya militancy when it launched campaign of terror against all Rohingyas.

It merely uses ARSA as the welcome pretext to carry out yet another wave of genocidal killings and physical destruction of Rohingya communities.

All this started on 12 Feb 1978. It is a genocide in slow motion, with spikes of genocidal killings.

In the age of social media, what Myanmar perpetrators - both the hybrid Suu-Kyi regime and the Nazi-like racist public - have failed to appreciate is this:

the rage in the Muslim world against Myanmar aroused by the ruthless slaughter and expulsion of Rohingyas transcends the usual internal divisions and politik.

That rage, in my judgement, contains either the seed of Myanmar's destruction as we know it, or accelerates Myanmar's destruction as a multi-ethnic society.

The terror campaign against Rohingyas will expand its scope to include ALL MUSLIMS in the country.

The paranoia of Jihadist campaign will become a reality: paranoid racists would preemptively attack Muslim communities. That will in turn further enrage the world's Muslim communities.

In due course, "civilizational violence" will ensue.

Nation-states unraveling and descending into inferno is totally conceivable.

I don't think today's Myanmar leaders, including Suu Kyi, realize or appreciate the likely consequences of their murderous and racist decisions which they have made with regards to Rohingyas.

Allan Rock, former Canadian Amb. to UN: "We are watching a genocide in slow motion" (in Myanmar)

Are the Rohingyas victims of a genocide? - TRT World, 7 Sept 2017