The world claims that the ‘Fuhrer’ Adolf Hitler, perpetrator of the mass genocide of the Jewish people from 1933-45: the heinous Holocaust, died due to a self inflicted gunshot in his bunker late afternoon of 30th April,1945. However he’s still alive. Through his legacy, his ideologies, he lives on. Not just in the Neo Nazi’s who we gladly go around punching in the face for their racism and bigotry, but also in others like the ‘ethnic cleansers’ of Myanmar.
The Rohingya are a minority community of Muslims whose population is concentrated in the Rakhine state of Myanmar. Many Rohingya internment camps dot the landscape of Rakhine state like pus filled craters in a teenage boy’s face and are just as ugly. Seen as foreign invaders from Bangladesh, even though they lived there for generations, the Rohingya are forced to live in these death camps called that are called ‘refugee settlements’. As large 140 thousand of their people were moved to these government set up camps where they live in the poorest conditions. These places have no access to basic needs like clean water, food and barely any medical services. The State doesn’t help them and foreign NGOs who try to, face severe restrictions and are often attacked by racist extremists, eventually driving them out.(1)
But the horrors against the Rohingya don’t stop at exclusion from society. Religious riots and killings claim hundreds of lives from both sides but the Muslim Rohingya are at a major disadvantage because more often than not the police and government state officials participate in this. The Myanmar government wants the world to believe it’s just communal violence that they have no control over. Of course there has to be a perfectly valid explanation for the apartheid-like separate roads for Muslims and Buddhists, the practice of needing permission for the Rohingya to get out of their already excluded villages and the unchecked and constant racial discrimination and propaganda against Muslims by public figures Buddhist monks (seriously wtf?!) like Ashin Wirathu on a national scale. The government is basically feeding the bias against Muslims to general population. They not only refuse to recognize them as citizens but also refuse to let them live with basic human rights. Moreover the government accuses them for violence against the Buddhists and Hindus in Rakhine state but conveniently skips over the violence against them.
Stripped of their citizenship they are largest group of stateless population in the world right now. Having no where to go and no one to look after their interests many of them have fallen prey for human traffickers who lure them with promises of a better life. But the only people whose life possibly gets better are the receivers of the their people’s harvested organs and the traffickers who make insane amount of money off this human trade. Some whistleblowers even claim that these traffickers have connections and associates in the government band military.
Things are starting to look better for the Rohingya as talks of their rehabilitation and resettlement back in Myanmar and measures to get them citizenship and protection from military and communal violence haven going on at the UN but still aren’t very promising.(3) Mostly because thousands of Rohingya were killed during “clearance operations” by the officials and the women and girls were gang-raped. Yet officials like Aung San Suu Kyi avoid questions on this topic and state that reports of these atrocities were “exaggerated and fabricated by the international community”.(4)
An entire community is being tortured and killed but no one knows about it. History is repeating itself and we are just turning a blind eye to it. Do we need viral videos like KONY2012 to realize when something very wrong is happening in this world? Even then it’s just few weeks of social media articles because memes and clickbait are a more interesting read right?
Vice covers the Rohingya issue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVvntQNKZa0
Their story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cZJJeOxQ-s