Calling on Canada to help end Myanmar Genocide of Rohingya at Toronto City Council on 23 Nov 2017

Saying "Sorry!" to a Rohingya brother who survived Myanmar Genocide, Kutupalong Camp, Bangladesh, 7 Nov 2017.

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

Meeting with The Minister of Foreign Affairs Rt. Honourable Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, M.P., State Guest House, Dhaka, 4 Nov 2017

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

Rohingya crisis is 'very deliberate genocide', former UN general Romeo Dallaire says

Romeo Dallaire was awarded the Canada Pearson Peace Medal

The former commander of UN peacekeeping forces in Rwanda says the "will to intervene" on the Rohingya crisis is missing.

By Dominic Waghorn, Diplomatic Editor 
December 13, 2017

A world authority on genocide has told Sky News what is happening to Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims is undoubtedly genocide and the international community must intervene to prevent it.

As commander of UN peacekeeping forces in Rwanda in the early 1990s, Lieutenant General Romeo Dallaire warned that genocide was imminent but was ignored.

As a veteran witness of the mass killings in Rwanda, he has been warning of mass murder being planned in Myanmar, and now for the first time has told the Sky News World View programme that genocide is underway.

History, he says, is repeating itself.

He said: "It’s as if they wrote the same book that the hardliners did in Rwanda and how the international community is reacting is following the same book, and this after the great pieces of work like Responsibility to Protect which we’re all afraid to implement and operationalise."

Responsibility to Protect was a UN-backed international agreement to prevent genocide happening again.

General Dallaire believes it has been discarded in the wake of the Rohingya crisis.

The UN has condemned Myanmar's military operation against the Rohingya as "ethnic cleansing".

The country's authorities have been severely criticised for the attacks on the minority group in Rakhine State but criticisms have fallen short of using the word 'genocide'.

Under international treaties, countries are obliged to intervene in cases of genocide, but there has been little appetite for intervention.

This is despite a programme of killings, mass rape, forcible displacement and the systematic burning of Rohingya villages. As many as a million Rohingyas have been forced to flee.

As Sky News reported earlier this month, thousands remain stranded on beaches and the land behind them has been mined by Myanmar's military.

General Dallaire says he has seen the same methods used before.

He told Sky News: "You’re into the mist of a very slow moving and very deliberate genocide, there is no doubt in my military mind that the way they’re operating, the way they’re conducting, the way they’re using their forces.

"The way the government is camouflaging it.

"They’re all very significant indicators of genocide in operation. They want to wipe them out and they’ve said that’s what they operating to do”.

He is calling for an international military intervention to prevent and reverse the genocide and says where there is sufficient international will there should be a way.

General Dallaire said: "We put 60, 70 thousand people in ex-Yugoslavia. Why can’t we do that there?

"They’re more people being killed and martyred, more internally displaced refugees than there was in the whole Yugoslav campaign so it is purely will to intervene which is missing."

General Dallaire is not the only one to have warned of imminent genocide being planned in Myanmar against the Rohingya.

Academics at London's Queen Mary University have been writing to the British Government since 2014 advising all the precursors of genocide were present.

Project for a Rohingya Homeland.



This is Rohingyas' 1947. 

Nothing short of that will work.

#Repatriation of #Myanmar genocide survivors hasn't worked in 39 years. 

There is absolutely no sign or no reason that the recently signed Repatriation Agreement will work. 

The public in Myanmar are thoroughly brainwashed to hate and reject Rohingyas most of whom they have never met in their hate- and ignorance-soaked lives.

The military is fully Fascist - worse than the Nazis.

Our mental culture is categorically GENOCIDAL in the way we think of the enemies we can crush.

We are a kiss-up, kick-down type of pathetic people. Why don't we try taking on 1 million illegal Chinese in Upper Burma? (No, I am not a self-loathing Burmese. I am no longer Burmese inside. I don't do genocide or Fascism). 

Suu Kyi is in effect a Yo-Yo and a shield for the real APower - the military. And her time is up and her use value for democratization is no more. 

Myanmar's Buddhist Order typically is reactionary, anti-thought and deeply closed-minded. 

There is no possibility of Rohingya full citizenship, safety, restoration of basic human rights, reconciliation or reintegration at home.

No country will take over 1 million Rohingyas and rehab them.

Bangladesh is overstretched in its land-population-resource-infrastructure ratio.

Therefore, #Rohingyas do need and deserve a new country where they can rebuild their communities. 

Call it "Republic of Rohingyas". 

World need to support this Project for A Rohingya Homeland.

Twenty One Noteworthy Responses to Myanmar Genocide



1) Myanmar Military 

Let's establish an inquiry commission with former heads of intelligence and civilian Yo-Yos with foreign degrees. We'll say, "not a single shot was fired to kill a non-terrorist".

2) Aung San Suu Kyi - let's form more commissions with my famous international friends. (Enter Kofi and others like Swedish Speaker of the Parliament).

3) the revered Burmese Buddhist monks: it's not a Bad Karma to to slaughter non-Buddhists by the millions as the targets are only 1/2 humans (actually, the monks are worse than Founding Fathers of the United States. At least the White Man in American considered Africans 3/5 humans. Thank you!)

4) Bangladesh - let's sign another Repatriation Agreement.

5) Canada, UN, etc. - Let's form a Fact Finding Mission. 

6) EU. - We talked to Myanmar State Counsellor and we'll give Rohingyas more biscuits from Denmark.

7) UK. - We are the leader in calling for the Security Council Meetings, knowing full well that nothing will come out of these talk-shops where the Council is in a no-return coma.

8) USA. - We believe in corporate-driven democratic transition. Let's make sure our hoped-for proxy Suu Kyi is OK while saying that the Myanmar military in the Chinese pocket is committing "ethnic cleansing."

9) Amnesty International - We discovered 39-years old Apartheid after our meticulous field work.

10) Human Rights Watch - we agree with whatever the UN bureaucrats and political appointees say the crime is.

11) International Crisis Group - ARSA leader is Muslim. Angry Rohingyas are Muslims. Most definitely, terrorism and insurgency are in the making. 

12) Bertil Linter - I am a 30-years-veteran on Burma reporting. Make no mistake. Muslims are coming! They are adopting "human waves" like Maoists in China. Muslims, Maoists. Same difference. 

13) Myanmar Human Rights Defenders - We don't even have HR for ourselves. Who cares about Muslim illegals and their terrorist families?

14) World Food Program - stop labelling our biscuits lest Myanmar Army sells them to ARSA and accuse us of terror aiding-and-abetting. 

15) Donald Trump - Who are the Rohingyas? Are they good for Trump Inc.?

16) Russia. Whatever USA and EU say, we believe in the complete opposite. We do not believe in human rights or dignity. 

17) China. Trump Team have stirred up the troubles along Rakhine Coast Line. US Gov is behind Myanmar Genocide so that they can monkey-wrench Beijing's Long Game of turning our Little Mien brothers Bell Boys along the Myanmar part of the new Silk Road.

18) UNDP - Take $2 billions as commercial lubricant. We call this Development Assistance. What a spectacular country to exploit! for our corporate friends! (I mean a lot of human potential, great universities, a great future markets of brainless Fascists who swallow any racist shit pumped out by the Army Psychological Warfare Division with a vainglorious woman Yo-Yo for the army). 

19). Chechnyan Leader - Nuke the fucking country!

20). Legal Minds (or Mindlessness) - Let the judicial review begin when all Rohingyas are exterminated. 

21). Zarni - Give Rohingyas a country and name it the Republic of Rohingyas.

International Conference Dhaka: Dr. Maung Zarni 29 November 2017

“Ending the genocide is not profitable”

Dr Maung Zarni

By Naznin Tithi
December 5, 2017

Dr Maung Zarni, a UK-based Burmese genocide scholar and human rights activist who campaigns for the end of Myanmar genocide against Rohingyas, talks with The Daily Star's Naznin Tithi about how the international community has failed to take concrete and effective actions to end the state-directed persecution spanning 40 years.

What made you take up the role of an activist on the Rohingya issue?

Personally, there are layers of connections with this issue.

First, I have been a human rights and political activist for the last 29 years. I can't call myself a human rights defender and turn my back on my own country's genocide, like most human rights defenders in Myanmar are doing today.

Second, and on a more personal level, my own late great uncle was the deputy commander-in-charge of Arakan in the late 1950s when Rohingyas were considered both an ethnic group of the Union of Burma and full citizens. Since my own relative was directly involved in this issue at a time when the army treated them well, I felt that I needed to get involved when the army is treating them so brutally.

The third reason is that I am a Buddhist. And I cannot keep quiet when I see genocide, the most anti-Buddha Dharma, being committed by the military, aided and abetted by the Buddhist society at large, including monks. Every time Suu Kyi denies and dismisses genocide allegations she too is guilty. For denial is part of genocide.

You said genocide has been going on for a long time. How then did it manage to evade international attention?

The problem is not that the UN-clustered world of governments and human rights organisations had not known this. They have known this for a long, long time. But they did not take the persecution of Rohingyas seriously enough to see the genocidal nature of the persecution, much less take any effective policy measures to end it.

Bangladeshi governments since the 1970s have known what has been happening because refugees were flowing into Bangladesh by the hundreds of thousands. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has been aware of this issue since 1978 because it was brought in to help with the first refugee crisis in mid-1978. So if UNHCR knew, it means the UN knew. Countries like the US and UK and key UN agencies have known this for the last 39 years. In 1978, the late US Senator Ted Kennedy, John F Kennedy's younger brother, came to Bangladesh and the US Congress donated about USD 150,000 to manage the refugee crisis.

Dawn, Bangkok Post and Far Eastern Economic Review based in Hong Kong all knew about this. Back in 1978 news headlines were something like “Burmese Muslims, machine-gunned down by the Burmese government troops” or “Burma's brand of apartheid”.

Around two weeks ago, Amnesty International published a report saying dehumanising “apartheid” is ongoing in Myanmar. Well, the word “apartheid” was used as early as July 1978 in a magazine article in the Far Eastern Economic Review. “Burma's brand of apartheid” was the title! It seems the world's oldest human rights watchdog was asleep throughout these decades. For Amnesty International to characterise a full, institutionalised genocide in slow motion as “apartheid” is utterly unconscionable. It is just infinitely pathetic!

The UN has passed resolution every year for the last 25 years with the exception of last year. We have had at least six special rapporteurs since 1993 investigating inter alia the persecution of Rohingyas.

UNHCR has a huge operation in Myanmar. To my deep dismay, it has even issued orders to its staff in Myanmar telling them not to say the word “Rohingya” in any writing but to call them “Muslims from Rakhine” in clear violation of the group's fundamental right to self-identify. The UN Resident Coordinator in Myanmar and World Food Programme were concealing information about the genocide!

So the world did not just “discover” this, it's a lie. Those in international politics and the humanitarian world are not even lifting a finger because helping the Rohingyas is not profitable. Ending genocide is not profitable. Working with the killers is profitable. Because the killers have monopoly over natural gas, strategic coastlines, deep sea ports, visas, etc. So it's not the lack of knowledge. It's self-interest and the pretence of not knowing that are in play.

Dr. Maung Zarni with his late great uncle Zeya Kyaw Htin Major Ant Kywe in November 2005.

The UN has not gone so far as calling it genocide. Your comments?

Legal scholars, genocide scholars and even practitioners of international law from Yale Law School and Queen Mary U Law, from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum to the Permanent People's Tribunal on Myanmar, have all called it genocide.

Because there is no political will to use force to end the genocide, the UN, US and UK play what Austrian philosopher Wittgenstein called “language games”. But some of us including renowned genocide scholars such as Greg Stanton and Daniel Fierstein refuse to use the word “ethnic cleansing”: it is a euphemism that was originally released into mass media by Milosevic, the Serbian genocidal leader.

We now have a new doctrine called “Responsibility to Protect” or R2P, post-Rwanda and Srebrenica. And if a UN member state fails to protect people, not just citizens, who live within its territory, the neighbours and the entire UN system have a responsibility to go in and protect that community and to punish the perpetrating regime such as Myanmar. And that principle can be invoked if four crimes take place; one of them is ethnic cleansing which has no legal basis in international law. My Rwandan friends are outraged that UN is letting another genocide unfold.

So yes, the UN should call it genocide. But even if it is not prepared to call it genocide, ethnic cleansing is enough of an inhuman deed for the international community to intervene. NATO bombed Milosevic's palace, and the genocidal bully was forced to accept a deal to stop the genocide.

How would you assess Bangladesh's role in this crisis?

I want to separate Bangladesh's role in two different ways. There is palpable and genuine compassion and outrage among the Bangladeshi people regarding the genocide next door. This is such a positive and welcome shift in public opinion. Previously, Rohingyas were seen as potential criminals, or exploitable cheap labourers.

The Bangladeshi government does not feel that resolving the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar is its main concern; its main concern is to make sure that the Rohingyas return to their country. Bangladesh is a very populous country. So understandably, Dhaka places its primary emphasis on repatriating the Rohingyas, who belong in Myanmar.

But there is a major problem with that. The Rohingyas did not come here voluntarily nor were they merely displaced across the border. They came as survivors of Myanmar's genocide. These attacks need to be stopped and their safety in Myanmar established with armed UN protection. The solution lies in ending the genocide in Myanmar. Repatriation is just a temporary relief.

Sending the Rohingyas back while what I call “slow-burning genocide” is ongoing will not work and has not worked in 39 years. Dhaka needs to come to terms with the fact that the fate and wellbeing of the Rohingyas have become interlinked with its national interests and stability—they are not two separate issues. Bangladesh has played an exemplary humane role in the world's opinion. This newfound prestige and moral influence should be fully capitalised on, not simply to repatriate the survivors, but also to end the genocide.

Dr Maung Zarni is co-author (with Natalie Brinham) of the pioneering genocide study “The Slow Burning Genocide of Myanmar's Rohingyas” (Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal, University of Washington School of Law, Spring 2014)

রোহিঙ্গাদের তিলে তিলে মারা হচ্ছে

মং জার্নি

Published by Prothom Alo on December 6, 2017

মহাত্মা গান্ধীকে একবার জিজ্ঞাসা করা হয়েছিল, ‘পশ্চিমা সভ্যতা সম্পর্কে আপনার ভাবনা কী?’ উত্তরে গান্ধী যে বুদ্ধিদীপ্ত সরস মন্তব্য করেন, তা স্মরণীয়। তিনি বলেছিলেন, ‘এটা ভাবনার একটা ভালো বিষয় হতে পারে।’ তিনি মূলত বোঝাতে চেয়েছিলেন, ইউরোপীয় উপনিবেশবাদীদের পশ্চিমা সভ্যতা বৃহত্তর অ-পশ্চিমা জগতের সঙ্গে যে আচরণ করেছে, তা থেকে পশ্চিমা সভ্যতাকে আর যা-ই হোক, সভ্য বলা যায় না।

ইতিহাসে পরিহাসের অভাব নেই। গান্ধী যদি জীবিত থাকতেন, তাহলে তাঁর মতো মহান মানুষ সাদা মানুষদের পশ্চিমা সভ্যতার তুলনায় আমাদের এশীয় সভ্যতার শ্রেষ্ঠত্ব বোধ করতেন কি না, এ নিয়ে আমি নিঃসন্দেহ নই।

মিয়ানমার দক্ষিণ-পূর্ব এশিয়া ও দক্ষিণ এশিয়ার সঙ্গমস্থল। দেশটি আজ সমগ্র রোহিঙ্গা জনগোষ্ঠীর ওপর বর্বর আক্রমণ চালাচ্ছে, সে তাদের আইনি নাম যা-ই হোক না কেন, আর এই নিধনযজ্ঞকে মানবতার বিরুদ্ধে অপরাধ, গণহত্যা বা সাংবাদিকতার পরিভাষায় ‘জাতিগত নিধন’ বা যা-ই বলুন না কেন।

ব্যতিক্রমহীনভাবে আসিয়ান বা সার্কের কোনো রাষ্ট্র বা সরকারপ্রধান মিয়ানমারের উত্তর আরাকান বা রাখাইন প্রদেশের বধ্যভূমি সফর করেননি, সেটা করার মতো উদ্বিগ্ন তাঁরা নন। অথবা তাঁরা কেউই আমার দেশের বৌদ্ধদের পরিচালিত এই গণহত্যা বন্ধ করতে ব্যাপক প্রচেষ্টা হাতে নেননি।

খেয়াল করুন পাঠক, আমি এখানে উদ্ধৃতি চিহ্ন ব্যবহার করিনি। তবে আক্রান্ত রোহিঙ্গাদের আশ্রয়দানকারী দেশের প্রধানমন্ত্রী হিসেবে শেখ হাসিনা তাদের শিবির পরিদর্শন করেছেন।

বাংলাদেশের প্রধানমন্ত্রী শেখ হাসিনা মিয়ানমারের গণহত্যা থেকে পালিয়ে বেঁচে যাওয়া রোহিঙ্গাদের আকুতিতে দৃশ্যত আবেগপ্রবণ হলেও মিয়ানমারের নোবেল পুরস্কার বিজয়ী রাজনীতিক অং সান সু চি নিজ দেশের আন্তর্জাতিক অপরাধের কথা স্বীকার করেননি বা এই জনগোষ্ঠীর প্রতি সহমর্মিতা দেখাননি।

বাস্তবতা হলো একদল সুপরিচিত দলবাজ ও জেনারেল দ্বারা পরিবেষ্টিত হয়ে সু চি যেভাবে রাখাইন সফর করলেন তাতে মনে হলো, তিনি বনভোজন করতে গেছেন। আর যে রোহিঙ্গারা এখনো সেখানে টিকে আছে, তাদের বললেন, বৌদ্ধ প্রতিবেশীদের সঙ্গে ‘ঝগড়া করবেন না’। সু চি অক্সফোর্ড থেকে শিক্ষালাভ করে এসেছেন। একসময় তাঁকে ভুলভাবে নেলসন ম্যান্ডেলা, মার্টিন লুথার কিং জুনিয়র ও গান্ধীর কাতারে ফেলা হতো। তাঁর মধ্যে রোহিঙ্গাদের প্রতি দৃশ্যমান সহানুভূতি দেখা যায়নি।

আবার তাঁর মধ্যে সেই বুদ্ধিবৃত্তিক ঝলকও দেখা যায়নি যাতে মনে হতে পারে তিনি বুঝতে পেরেছেন, এই গণহত্যা সুনির্দিষ্টভাবে পূর্বপরিকল্পিত ও রাষ্ট্রনির্দেশিত। এটা প্রতিবেশীদের মধ্যকার বিবাদ নয়, সাম্প্রদায়িক ও উপদলীয় কোন্দল নয়।

মিয়ানমারের সাবেক বৈশ্বিক আইকন, বৌদ্ধদের প্রতি সহানুভূতিশীল ও স্বাধীনতার পরাকাষ্ঠা সন্দেহাতীতভাবেই আরেকজন রাজবংশীয় শাসক হিসেবে আবির্ভূত হয়েছেন। একই সঙ্গে তিনি রাজনীতিক হিসেবে গড়পড়তা। ব্যক্তিগত অভিলাষ পূরণে তিনি যেকোনো কিছু করতে প্রস্তুত, এবং তাঁর উচ্চাভিলাষ আমাদের বোধগম্য। অন্যদিকে সু চির মতো অতটা উজ্জ্বল না হলেও আসিয়ান ও দক্ষিণ এশীয় দেশগুলোর নেতারা রোহিঙ্গাদের দুর্দশার ব্যাপারে তাঁর চেয়ে বেশি উদ্বিগ্ন নন। এটা যেমন চপস্টিক সভ্যতার জাপান, দক্ষিণ কোরিয়া ও চীনের বেলায় সত্য, তেমনি এই অঞ্চলের ভারতীয় সভ্যতার সংস্পর্শে থাকা দেশগুলোর বেলায়ও সত্য।

আমি ও আমার সহগবেষক অ্যালিস কাউলি এই প্রক্রিয়াকে ‘মিয়ানমারের রোহিঙ্গাদের মন্থর গণহত্যা’ হিসেবে আখ্যায়িত করি। ব্যাপারটা হলো মিয়ানমার রাষ্ট্র কর্তৃক রোহিঙ্গাদের এই নিপীড়ন বা যাদের বলির পাঁঠা বানানো হচ্ছে, এই জনগোষ্ঠীকে পুরোপুরি বা আংশিকভাবে নিশ্চিহ্ন করে দেওয়ার লক্ষ্যে তারা এসব করেছে—আমরা এটার নাম দিয়েছি তিলে তিলে গণহত্যা (স্লো বার্নিং জেনোসাইড)। এই গণহত্যার যথেষ্ট প্রমাণ থাকা সত্ত্বেও এশীয় দেশগুলোর নেতারা নৈতিক ঐকমত্য পর্যন্ত গড়ে তুলতে পারেননি। কিন্তু ব্যাপারটা তো এমন নয় যে এশীয় সভ্যতা ও রাজনীতিকেরা এই বর্বরতা সম্পর্কে অবগত নন।

বস্তুত, দূরপ্রাচ্য থেকে দক্ষিণ এশিয়া পর্যন্ত বিভিন্ন স্থানে কিছু জঘন্য রকমের বড় গণহত্যা হয়েছে, জাতিসংঘ তাকে গণহত্যা হিসেবে স্বীকৃতি দিক বা না দিক। উদাহরণ আমাদের চারপাশেই আছে। জাপান চীনে ‘নানকিং ধর্ষণ’ হিসেবে কুখ্যাত গণহত্যা চালিয়েছে। ১৯৬০-এর দশকে ইন্দোনেশিয়ায় কমিউনিস্টবিরোধী কর্মসূচি হিসেবে চীনা বংশোদ্ভূত নাগরিকদের ওপর গণহত্যা চালানো হয়েছে।

১৯৭১ সালে পাকিস্তান আজকের বাংলাদেশে শান্তি প্রতিষ্ঠার নামে গণহত্যা চালিয়েছে, কম্বোডিয়ায় কমিউনিস্ট খেমাররুজরা গণহত্যা চালিয়ে চার বছরের মধ্যে দেশের এক-তৃতীয়াংশ মানুষ মেরেছে; আর শ্রীলঙ্কায় তামিল জনগণের বিরুদ্ধে যুদ্ধাপরাধসহ গণহত্যা চালানো হয়েছে।

মিয়ানমারের অবস্থান সেই দীর্ঘ তালিকার একদম শেষে, যেখানে সমাজ সামগ্রিকভাবে যুদ্ধ, গণহত্যা ও বর্বরতার মতো সবচেয়ে ঘৃণ্য অপরাধে যুক্ত হয়েছে। আর এসব করতে গিয়ে তারা সবাই নৈতিক জায়গা ও মানবতা হারিয়েছে। সমাজের সবচেয়ে অরক্ষিত মানুষদের প্রতি সহানুভূতি হারিয়েছে, যাদের ভুলভাবে সংখ্যাগরিষ্ঠদের জন্য হুমকি মনে করা হয়েছে, সে তারা বৌদ্ধ, মুসলমান বা হিন্দু যা-ই হোক না কেন।

আমাদের মধ্যে যে কজন ব্যক্তি এশীয় সভ্যতার ভ্রম থেকে বেরোতে পেরেছিলেন, রবীন্দ্রনাথ ঠাকুর তাঁদের অন্যতম। অনেক এশীয় মানুষই এই এশীয় সভ্যতার মুখোশ পরে থাকেন। সন্দেহ নেই, আমাদের অনেক এশীয় ভাইবোন এই মহাদেশের গৌরবজনক অতীতের কল্পনা করেন, যে এশিয়া বিজ্ঞান, দর্শন, ধর্ম ও বৃহত্তর সংস্কৃতির গুরুত্বপূর্ণ কেন্দ্র ছিল। এই এশিয়ায় গৌতম বুদ্ধ ও কনফুসিয়াসের জন্ম হয়েছে, উদ্ভব হয়েছে কাগজ ও গান পাউডারের।

তা সত্ত্বেও এই মহাদেশের সবচেয়ে পরিচিত চিন্তক-কবি রবীন্দ্রনাথ এই সভ্যতার পর্দা খুলে দেখিয়ে দিয়েছেন, এটা কী। তিনি খুব সঠিকভাবেই লিখেছেন, মানুষের মৃতদেহের ওপর সভ্যতা দাঁড়িয়ে আছে। বস্তুত এই সভ্যতা লাখ লাখ মানুষের মৃতদেহের ওপর দাঁড়িয়ে আছে। আজ ভারত তার ‘লুক ইস্ট’ (পূর্ব দিকে নজর দাও) এবং চীন ‘ওয়ান বেল্ট, ওয়ান রোড’ প্রকল্প বানিয়ে ১০ লাখের বেশি রোহিঙ্গার বিনিময়ে গুটিকয়েক অভিজাত মানুষের সমৃদ্ধি নিশ্চিত করতে চাইছে। তারা আজ উভয়েই বড় দেশ, তাদের জনসংখ্যা সম্মিলিতভাবে ৩০০ কোটি।

অন্যদিকে মিয়ানমারের নেতা অং সান সু চি সংখ্যাগরিষ্ঠের উন্নতিকল্পে বিকৃত প্রায়োগিক যুক্তি প্রয়োগ করছেন। সে জন্য তিনি দুর্বল রোহিঙ্গাদের জান-মালের বিসর্জন দিতেও কুণ্ঠিত নন। এই রোহিঙ্গারা বিশ্বের সবচেয়ে বড় রাষ্ট্রবিহীন জাতি, যাদের জাতি-রাষ্ট্র নেই। বর্মি হিসেবে আমার নাড়ি এশীয় সভ্যতার অনেক গভীরে পোঁতা, আমি নিজেকে জিজ্ঞাসা করি, ‘এশীয় সভ্যতা সম্পর্কে আমি কী মনে করি?’ হ্যাঁ, সেটা একটা ভালো চিন্তা হতে পারে।

অনুবাদ: প্রতীক বর্ধন।

মং জার্নি: পাশ্চাত্যে বসবাসরত মিয়ানমারের মানবাধিকারকর্মী ও গণহত্যা বিশেষজ্ঞ।

Asian Civilizations? That would be a good idea



Published by Prothom Alo on December 6, 2017

“What do you think of Western Civilization?” Mahatma Gandhi was asked. Gandhiji famously responded with a memorable quip, “That would be a good idea,” implying that the ‘western civilization’ of European colonisers had been anything but civil and civilized in its conduct vis-à-vis the vast non-western world.

History is not without its ironies. Were Gandhi alive today, I am unsure if the great man would still feel a (concealed) sense of civilizational superiority of us, ‘the Asians’, and our Asian civilizations, vis-à-vis the White Man and his civilization.

In the intersection of what we call South East Asia and the South Asian subcontinent, Myanmar is committing crimes of barbarity against the entire ethnic group of Rohingyas, or whatever be their legal name, crimes against humanity or genocide, or, journalistically, ‘ethnic cleansing’.

With no exception, not a single head of state from either political cluster, namely the Association of South East Asia Nations and the South Asian bloc, is concerned enough to visit the killing fields of Northern Arakan or the Rakhine State of Western Myanmar, or make any serious effort to end my country’s Buddhist genocide - note the absence of quotation marks here. 

The two respective leaders of the two affected Asian nations, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, have each paid a visit to the places where hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas (and in the case of Suu Kyi, other non-Rohingya communities) are sheltered after having been displaced by Myanmar’s scorched earth military campaign of terror, rape and arson, now in its third month.

Though not known for her human rights credentials, Hasina, a former Bengali refugee herself, was visibly moved by the cries and tales of a handful of the Rohingya survivors of Myanmar’s genocidal terror while Myanmar’s Nobel Peace prize winning politician showed no such empathy or acknowledgement of her country’s international crimes. As a matter of fact, flanked by a group of well-known Myanmar cronies and generals, Suu Kyi looked as if she were on a family picnic while telling a small group of Rohingyas “don’t quarrel” (with your Buddhist neighbours). The Oxford-educated iconic dissident, once misplaced in the league of Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr and Gandhi, demonstrated neither visible compassion for the Rohingya victims nor signs of an intellect to comprehend that genocides are systematically pre-planned and state-directed, not a conflict between quarrelsome neighbours who indulge themselves in sectarian or communal violence.

To the world’s dismay, Myanmar’s former world icon of non-violence, Buddhist compassion and freedom, has beyond any reasonable doubt revealed herself as yet another dynastic, but run-of-the-mill politician for whom there is no red line that she is un-prepared to cross in pursuit of her personal ambitions, however those ambitions are couched.

On their part, the Asian politicians with less shine who head ASEAN and South Asian states - from the chopstick civilizations of Japan, South Korea and China to those Indianized states in the region - show no more genuine concern about the plight of Rohingya survivors and victims, than Ms Suu Kyi.

Forget the absence of serious concern about what my research colleague Alice Cowley and I call “the slow burning genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingyas”, that is, Myanmar’s state persecution of Rohingyas as a scapegoat Muslim population through various genocidal technologies, including imposing physical conditions on the target designed to bring about the group’s destruction, in whole or in part. Against this backdrop of a well-documented genocide in slow motion, these Asian heads of state prove incapable of forging a moral consensus that would view Myanmar’s Buddhist genocide, or ‘ethnic cleansing’, if you prefer, as a civilizational redline.

It is not that Asian civilizations and politicians are unfamiliar with such acts of barbarity. 

As a matter of fact, from the Fast East to South Asia, and anything in-between, are ignoble sites of several major genocides, irrespective of whether UN has declared them as such. Examples abound. Japan and its fascist war crimes of which “the rape of Nanking” is the most infamous, Indonesia and its Cold War-era ‘anti-Communist’ pogroms against ethnic Chinese in the early 1960’s, Pakistan and its unsuccessful war of pacification against the Bengali-speaking majority in 1971, communist Khmer Rouge’s genocide which wiped out one-third of the population in less than four years and Sri Lanka and its war crimes and genocide against the Eelam Tamil population.

Myanmar is only the last in a long series of cases where wholescale societies and regimes engage in the most heinous of all crimes - wars, genocides, crimes of barbarity. In so doing, they all lose their moral compass, humanity and compassion for those most vulnerable communities at home, who have falsely been conceived as a threat to the majoritarian political systems and the way of their faith-based dominant societies, be the victims Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, or Hindu.

Rabindranath Tagore was one of the few among us who succeeded in freeing himself from the shackles of the delusions of Asian civilizational grandeur, which many an Asian wear. Many of our fellow Asians imagine, no doubt, the continent’s glorious past during which what we call today Asia, was a major home for science, philosophy, religious paradigms and elaborate cultures. Asia indeed produced Gautam Buddha, Confucius, paper, gunpowder, and so on.

Still, the continent’s most celebrated thinker-poet Rabindranath, stripped bare the essence of civilizations, Asian or otherwise, when he most truthfully penned that “civilizations are built on human corpses”. Indeed corpses by the millions.

Today, in their earnest pursuit of India’s ‘Look East’ or China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’, the giants among Asian civilizations, with the combined population of three billion, are more than prepared to build the prosperity of the elites at the expense of one million-plus Rohingyas. 

On her part, Myanmar’s Suu Kyi, through her twisted utilitarian logic of promoting the majoritarian well-being, is evidently prepared to sacrifice the lives, land and property of helpless Rohingyas who now constitute the world’s largest population of stateless people.

As a Burmese with deep roots to this world of Asian civilizations, I ask myself, “What do I think of Asian civilizations?” Well, that would be a good idea. 

Maung Zarni is a Burmese human rights activist, an adviser to the European Centre for the Study of Extremism based in Cambridge, UK and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Sleuk Rith Institute in Cambodia. He blogs at maungzarni.net

Zarni Interview with CBC All in a Day about the Rohingya situation



'The Buddhist society has lost its conscience'



By Ayesha Kabir
November 30, 2017

Zarni is a democracy advocate, Rohingya campaigner, and a former research fellow at the London School of Economics. He lived and worked in the United States for 17 years. In 1995 he founded the Free Burma Coalition and was its director until 2004. Zarni is also a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment. Zarni now works as independent scholar specialising in racism, violence and mass atrocities. He is an adviser to the European Centre for the Study of Extremism based in Cambridge, UK.

During his recent Dhaka trip, Zarni dropped in at the Prothom Alo office and held a discussion with senior journalists of the daily, including the editor Matiur Rahman. He deliberated on a number of issues pertaining to the Rohingya crisis and the predicament of his homeland.

“The Buddhist society has lost its conscience and has turned racist. The army itself has been founded on fascist lines. And a good society has been manipulated to move into this fascist mode.”

Activist Zarni’s passionate outburst was tinged with regret as he added, “This is no longer the society where I grew up. People of different faiths and societies living together will invariably have a degree of discomfort when it comes to certain differences, but that should not culminate in violence. When I was growing up the army didn’t have that control. The press was free. Then in 1962 Ne Win took over power and the army began to exert its authority over the culture, the society, even day care centres!”

Highlighting the authoritarian nature of the rule, Zarni said, “The party was God. There had been strength in society, families understood they knew better than the army, the monks opposed the authoritarian rule and were against the fascist ideology. But the army played one religion against the other and propagated its totalitarian ideology. But now the 55 years of the army’s fascist endeavours have culminated in the present predicament of the state.”

Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman pointed to people’s support of the peaceful democratic movement, where Aung San Suu Kyi voiced their aspirations. Zarni responded by saying that since 1988 the movement aimed at opposing military dictatorship. This was different from a value driven democratic movement. The movement was opposed to the shooting and violence but not for values and principles. He criticised Aung San Suu Kyi, saying she needed ‘revolution of the spirit’. He said that she and others of her ilk spoke the same language as the military, not of human rights and the sanctity of human lives.

“The military had succeeded in manipulating the people into a totalitarian space. We are worse than Germany under Hitler. Society has to resist, but over 90 per cent of the people back the military.”

Concerning the Myanmar army chief’s aspirations to be president, Zarni said, “Becoming the president is the army chief’s ambition. He is the Milosevic of Burma today. He had the gall to tell the Pope that there was no racist discrimination in the country.”

About the future of Aung San Suu Kyi, he said she may be admired in her country but internationally she had lost her stature as a Nobel Laureate.

As to whether Bangladesh was on the correct path, Zarni said that Bangladesh was a nation state with its own interests. The government of Bangladesh had one sort of stance, given its interests with China and the rest of the region, but the people had shown tremendous compassion towards the Rohingyas. They did not see them as illegal entrants this time, but as victims of genocide. This was a powerful and positive sentiment.

CTV (Canadian TV) 23 Nov 2017, from the Toronto City Council Chambers



By CTV News Channel
November 23, 2017

Human rights activist and Rohingya campaigner Maung Zarni will be part of an dedicated to talking about the crisis at Toronto's City Hall. Maung Zarni joins us now before the event from City Hall in Toronto.


The Rise Of Anti Muslim Attacks In Asia Is A Cause For Concern



By Tasnim Nazeer
December 1, 2017

There has been a worrying rise of anti-Muslim attacks and discrimination in Asia. Buddhist nationalism has been on the increase since the persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority by the Myanmar government and has seen a concerning escalation into countries such as Sri Lanka where there is an uproar of hardline mobs, targeting Muslim civilians, their homes and businesses. Followers of hardline Myanmar monk, Ashin Wirathu who formed the 969 group, collaborating with Sri Lanka’s extremist monk Galabode atthe Gnanasara hold an extreme ideology that believes in “struggling to protect Buddhism in Asia from Muslims”.

It is such extreme ideologies that have influenced the rise of anti-Muslim attacks and have spurred discrimination against Muslims and other minority groups. There has been over 620,000 Rohingya Muslims, more than half their total number, who have fled from Myanmar’s Rakhine state to Bangladesh since August as a result of violence described by the UN as a text book example of ethnic cleansing. However, many world leaders continue to remain tight lipped on the issue and the escalating situation and plight of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Burma continues to go unheard.

Sri Lanka is also facing a spike of anti-Muslim hate crimes with impending mass riots following an attack by hardline mobs against Muslims. Reports from the ground state that a series of Muslim families have been targeted and their homes and businesses heavily attacked. Sri Lanka’s special task police force were sent to the ground on November 17th 2017 following a large scale mob attack and petrol bombs that were thrown at Muslim houses and mosques.

Tensions had been flaring up earlier this year in May 2017 when the hard-line group Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General-Secretary Galagoda Atte Gnanasara had been encouraging his supporters to lead another campaign against Muslims following the deadly Aluthgama riots in June 2014, which attempted to create disunity between Buddhists and Muslims.

President Maithripala Siresena had vowed to investigate anti-Muslim hate crimes, however, attacks have escalated yet again within the last few weeks and are spurring intense tensions amongst the Sri Lankan community with Gnanasara vowing to meet with Myanmar’s Ashin Wirathu to heighten the campaign against Muslims. Frustratingly, little is being done to calm the situation and restore peace within the country.

Dr Muang Zarni, a renowned Buddhist genocide scholar, stated that, “Buddhism nationalism has been on the rise in post-independent countries such as Sri Lanka, Thailand and Burma where Theravada Buddhism is a mass religion. This strain of violent racism with a religious coating is the direct result of manipulation of tradition-bound public’s devotion to Buddhism by the post-colonial majoritarian elites, particularly in Sri Lanka and Myanmar”

In an attempt to restore press for peace and call for an end to the growing spate of discrimination against Muslims, the Pope will be visiting Myanmar and Bangladesh respectively this week, as per information released by by the Vatican, the pope will say two Masses in Buddhist-majority Myanmar and one in Bangladesh, which has a predominant Muslim population.

Richard Weir, Researcher at Human Rights Watch said, “The Pope’s visit presents an opportunity to promote the value of interfaith dialogue and for there to be a continued discussion about the persecution of religious minorities across Burma. But already there are some that are calling for unacceptable moderation. They want the Pope not to call the Rohingya population by their name. This would be a mistake. They Pope shouldn’t be driven to taking a position that only perpetuates the marginalisation and subjugation of one of the world’s most persecuted communities. The Pope should, beyond anything else, use his platform to communicate to Burma’s leaders that it is imperative that they promote and ensure the respect for human rights regardless of one’s chosen religion, be it Buddhism, Islam, or Christianity.”

Tensions continue to escalate and fear of a confrontations amidst the rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes in Asia are growing, but it is hoped that with more awareness of the situation more will be done to put an end to the discrimination and persecution of Muslims in Asia.

Tasnim Nazeer Award-winning journalist, author and producer

Dhaka Conference on Ending Myanmar Genocide, Dhaka University, Bangladesh, 29 Nov 2017