Monday, November 28, 2016

Poison Pill

Myanmar, pressured by China, is expeditiously erasing its Muslim Rohingya minority. Monstrous on its own, the move is also a gift to Islamists set on shattering the entire region

I was at a car wash a few days ago. The workers were young men from Myanmar. All of them did their chores like clockwork. One drove the car to the washing area, one hosed the car with foam soap and another wiped the car off. In less than 20 minutes, the car was spick and span. I paid them the RM8 for the wash and vacuum. Since there were no other cars, I sat and had tea with them. They told me stories of horror and terror that would make anyone’s blood boil just by listening. The gory details are enough to make anyone listening puke. They refuse to say whether they are Rohingya. But they talk of friends and people they know, whose families back home in Rakhine die by the dozens every day.

This unwillingness by the NLD government to critique the conduct of the military is exceedingly dangerous and will lead to thousands more falling victim to military violence and to a deepening humanitarian crisis. While the areas under military operation have been under lockdown since October 9 over the past few days hundreds of refugees finally made it to Bangladesh. Unfortunately, Bangladesh is not welcoming them and has even pushed hundreds back across the border to Myanmar. It is highly likely that we will soon see another outflow of Rohingya refugees to other countries in the region... 
The escalating violence in Rakhine State can best be solved by allowing access to international observers and humanitarian aid. An independent international investigation is needed to address the grave abuses being reported out of the country and to deter further abuses. The current violence is occurring in a vacuum of impunity in which neutral reporting and, more importantly, life-saving aid are being denied...Punishing the general Rohingya population by cutting off aid and denying credible neutral reporting only sets the stage for further death and suffering... 
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) needs to abandon its consensus and non-interference approach and perceive the ongoing problem as a regional problem. It would require some ASEAN disciplining of Myanmar ... the time for that has arrived.

“We conveyed to them that what is happening to the Rohingya in Myanmar is a serious crime against human rights," said Iskandarsyah Siregar, spokesperson of the Alliance for the Unity of Muslims who was one of the people that met with officials at the embassy.

"It is genocide, and what is clear is that we condemn it. We demanded that the government of Myanmar take clear action towards what their government there (in Myanmar) is doing."

“It is not about ethics, it is not about ideals, it is about what matters to those in power and right now helping the persecuted community is of no strategic benefit and that is the reason why we see very little coverage and very little condemnation even of what is taking place and of the despicable behavior of [Myanmar's civilian leader] Aung San Suu Kyi with her silence,” the activist told Press TV in an interview on Sunday.
He stated that Muslims in Myanmar were an “inconvenience” to Suu Kyi even before she got into power, adding that she talks about peace and having open democracy for all but the Rohingya minority group does not “come into play” for that. 
Nadim further noted there is also an “ongoing diatribe” against the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh where many of the countries’ ills are blamed on them.

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