Rohingya Muslims Massacre

Aug 6, 2012 by


Rohingya Muslims Massacre

 By Jaseem Pasha, M.D.


Background on Myanmar (Burma):

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is a Southeast Asian nation, bordered by India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand. It is a country of 56 million people, out of which 53.42 million are Buddhists (89%), 2.98 million are Christians (4%), 2.27 millions are Muslims (4%), 0.3 million are Hindus (1%) and over 0.79 million are of other religions[1].

After three successive Anglo-Burmese wars, extending over sixty years in 19th century, the British Empire finally succeeded in colonizing Burma and made it a part of British Burma.

Burma was a home for various ethnicities, and as everywhere in other British colonies, the British created conflicts among the Burmese ethnic groups and divided them by favoring some groups over others, and thus consolidated its political control.

Burma became independent from Britain in 1948. Burma was a democratic republic until 1962, when General Ne Win took control of the country through a coup d’état and since then the country has been under military control.

Great ‘8888 Uprising’:

In 1988 there was a protest initiated by the Burmese students leading to wide-spread pro-democracy demonstrations known as ‘8888 Uprising’ in which thousands of demonstrators were killed. It was during this crisis that Aung San Suu Kyi emerged as a national icon, and is a winner of 1991 Noble Peace Prize.

In 1989 martial law was declared and the country’s official name, “Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma” was changed to the “Union of Myanmar”. General elections were held under the new constitution in 2010, but the party that was backed by the military won the election, though the pro-democracy opposition groups disputed the claim.

Who Are Rohingya Muslims?

Rohingya people are Muslims living in the Arakan region in western Myanmar. In an interview to The Irrawaddy, an Arakan history expert, Dr. Jacques P. Leider[2] pointed out that the term Rohingya appeared for the first time at the end of 18th century in the report of an Englishman, Dr. Francis Buchanan-Hamilton, who went to the Chittagong area, the Rakhine [Arakan] area. In his 1799 article “A Comparative Vocabulary of Some of the Languages Spoken in the Burma Empire,” Buchanan-Hamilton[3] stated: “I shall now add three dialects, spoken in the Burma Empire, but evidently derived from the language of the Hindu nation. The first is that spoken by the Mohammedans, who have long settled in Arakan, and who call themselves Rooinga, or natives of Arakan.”

There have been Muslim settlements in the Southeast Asian countries, including Arakan portion of Myanmar region since the arrival of Arabs in the 8th century CE.

Early evidence of Bengali Muslim settlements in Arakan dates back to the time of King Narameikhla (1430 CE–1434 CE) of Kingdom of Mrauk U.[4] After 24 years of exile in Bengal, he regained control of the Arakanese throne in 1430 CE with military assistance from the Sultanate of Bengal[5]. Narameikhla minted his own coins with Burmese characters on one side and Persian characters on the other[6].

During the British colonial rule there was no Bengal-Burmese border. In the early 19th century, thousands of Bengalis from the Chittagong region settled in Arakan, and thousands of Rakhine people from Arakan also settled in Bengal[7].

The Rohingya Muslims, with a centuries-old lineage in Rankhine State, have been farmers since the pre-colonial period when the Rakhine kings were deporting people from Bengal and bringing them to Rakhine and settling them there. The Rohingya Muslims have long been demanding to be recognized as citizens not only by their birthright but also by virtue of their aboriginal ethnic status. But the military government started calling them “illegal immigrants” from Bangladesh after the coup d’état, when in reality they have been living in Burma for centuries. It was the then military ruler Ne Win who stripped them of their citizenship in 1982.

Rohingya language:

The Rohingya people living in Rakhine State of Myanmar have their own Rohingya language[8] that has been successfully written in different scripts, such as Arabic, Hanafi, and Burmese, where Hanafi is a newly developed alphabet derived from Arabic with the addition of four characters from Latin and Burmese. Rohingya language with its phonology has been recognized by ISO with ISO 639-3 “rhg” code[9].

Myanmar and ethnic massacre:

History of Myanmar is the history of successive ethnic massacres. It became more frequent as British colonialists started leaving their colony on the Indian sub-continent. Britishers were very successful in creating ethnic conflicts as a part of their foreign policy of divide and rule prior to their departure.

On 28th March 1942, about 5,000 Muslims in Minbya and Mrohaung Townships were killed by Rakhine nationalists and karenni; and the escapees, about 15,000 Rohingyas, were slaughtered on their arrival to Thaungyi Nyo. Again, about 10,000 Rohingyas who passed Apawa were also killed in the same way. On 1st April, 15,000 Rohingyas were killed in Raichaung and Pankha villages of Myebon. In Akyab, Rohingyas acquired arms and the conditions were both defensive and offensive operation under leader Sultan Mohammad. This campaign caused total 294 Rohingya villages destroyed, 100,000 Rohingyas massacred and some 80,000 Rohingya uprooted to Raungpur refugee camp of Bangladesh[10].

Under the Myanmar military junta there have been series of crimes against humanity that included mass slaughter, rapes, confiscation of properties and land, destruction of villages and ancient religious buildings, 268,000 Rohingyas were made refugees driven to Bangladesh[11]. These military projects are known as:

  • 1967/68 Ngazinka Operation in Kyauktaw
  • 1978, the government initiated a program called Nagamin (King of Dragons)
  • Pyi Tha Ya Operation in 1991

Latest Rohingya Muslim Massacre:

The stateless Rohingya group of Muslims, about 800,000 to 1 million, live in atrociously pitiful conditions along the Burmese border with Bangladesh.

The Rakhine Buddhists who are in majority look upon Rohingya Muslims with contempt. Both Rohingyas Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists blame each other for terrorizing their communities.

Gang Rape Incident:

It was reported that a district court had sentenced two men to death on charges of gang rape and murder of a Buddhist woman by three Muslim men on May 28. The rape and the killing triggered the killing of ten un-involved Muslims aboard the bus in the central Arakan, which in turn sparked to and fro communal violence, lynching and burning homes, lasting for about a week.

Quite often the arson was carried out in front of police and members of Arakanese paramilitary group known as Lun Htin[12].

The mobs from both Arakan and Rohingya neighborhoods attacked the unsuspecting villages and brutally killed the residents, putting houses, shops and worship places on fire.  In the absence of government security forces, and plenty of anti-Muslim media talks to fan the violence, the residents readily armed themselves with whatever they could pick, carrying big sticks, iron rods, swords and knives.

In Sittwe, where the population is half Muslims and half Arakan, most of the Muslims were forced to relocate, not knowing whether the government would respect their right to come back to their homes.

Even though the Myanmar President Thein Sein, a former general heading a supposedly ‘civilian’ government, had claimed to have curbed the violence, yet “much of the northern Rakhine state remains a no-go area from which journalists and independent observers are banned, making it impossible to verify the government’s version of events… Aid workers in Rakhine say thousands of displaced Rakhines and Rohingyas remained in dire conditions more than a week after the violence [13]“.

No one is questioning that if the condition is under control and the incident was a only a minor one and not the mass massacre as claimed by the Rohingya Muslims, then why did Myanmar President stopped the international media to go to those specific areas, which were declared as no-go areas.

The Myanmar government has restricted access to Rohingya residential areas for any humanitarian help. While the entire West is lauding the Myanmar President for promoting human rights, the Myanmar government has taken no step to urgently amend its citizenship law to end official discrimination against the Rohingya Muslims, and insisting for their expulsion because of their religion and ethnicity.

It appears that the quasi-democracy of Military junta has succeeded in duping and shifting the direction of the spirit of Saffron Revolution toward a road of petty ethnic bigotry and hatred, dividing the civilians into “us and them” resulting in the slaughter of both Muslims and Buddhists. This is the same 1% military-mafia ruling elite that had enslaved, looted and economically exploited the citizens for half a century, and for decades were instrumental in perpetrating systematic human rights violations in the country with rampant child labor and woman trafficking to other countries as sex slaves. And that included both Buddhist and Muslim women.

The Saffron Revolution of Myanmar was a series of anti-military junta protests that were started on 15 August 2007, led by students, opposition political activists, including women, and later joined by 15,000 Buddhist monks. Also 150 nuns joined the protests in Yangon. In spite of all the sacrifices in the form of loss of lives, arrests and tortures, there was no significant positive result.

The sad part is that the same monks and the Buddhist civilians are being manipulated by the 1% military-mafia elite in toeing the line of the same enemy against whom they were protesting for decades. Approximately 90,000 people[14] have been displaced. About 2,528 houses were burned. The Burmese army and police were largely blamed for targeting Rohingyas Muslims through mass arrests and whimsical violence.

The Myanmar Buddhist citizens have been indoctrinated by the Military junta and its mainstream media that the economical conditions in Myanmar (one of the most poorest country in the world) are so much better that this is driving Bengalese to ‘migrate illegally’ to Myanmar for more prosperity and freedom!

Many Myanmar Buddhists deny that they are racist, yet justify violence on Muslims because of the government declaring that they are “illegal”. Assuming that Rohingya Muslims are “illegal immigrants”, would that justify their mass massacre? Is there any difference in morality between human massacre based on race versus xenophobia or illegal status of people? The intensity of barbarism and crimes against humanity is the same.

The Rohingya Muslims are described as “among the world’s least wanted”[15] and “one of the world’s most persecuted minorities”[16].

Rohingya Political Status:

From historical point of view, there are scores of pointers that provide cogent validation that Rohingyas have been settled in Rakhine State long enough to be recognized as an ethnic group that has a unique non-Burmese Bengali-Muslim background with their own evolved Rohingya language and script. However, it does not mean that this unique ethnicity entitles them to have their own autonomous Arakan State. It does entitle them to have their full citizenship status restored at par with the rest of the Myanmar citizens.

Rohingya Muslims were citizens like any other Buddhists in Myanmar. The first and the only democratic government after the independence of Burma in 1948 were under the Prime Minister U Nu. His government recognized all the Myanmar ethnic groups, including Rohingya Muslims as citizens. It was the 1982 Citizenship Act that effectively deprived the Rohingyas of citizenship status that they always enjoyed before the military coup d’état in 1962. The military junta State sponsored racial terrorism became the main source of problem causing Rohingyas’ political status of statelessness, discrimination and open demonization.

Noble Prize Winners Aren’t Noble!

Even the Noble Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi has failed to address the issue of Rohingya Muslims adequately, perhaps for concerns of political and life-threatening repercussions. After all, she is not Nelson Mandella!

What about Noble Peace Prize winner, Dalai Lama? The world out there is questioning where the hell is the ‘great Buddhist spiritual leader’, Dalai Lama, who is much lauded in the Western world for his wisdom. Does his silence endorse the behavior of Myanmar Buddhist monks running amok, chasing Rohingyas to death?

In the final analysis, when the core issue of facing the truth and justice are advanced, all organized religions (as expected) smell the same, and Buddhism is no exception.

Illusion of Military democracy & Sudden Lifting of Sanctions by the West:

The lifting of sanctions against Myanmar by the West should not delude the Myanmar Buddhist population to think that the nature of the beast, that rules them and controls every aspect of their lives, has changed; that the good times will soon be visible at the horizon.

The Buddhist civilians naively believe that if West is willing to accept democracy ‘Myanmar Military style’, that is, democracy of the military, by the military and for the military, then they have no reason not to trust their government. What most of them do not know is that West prefers to negotiate with one single compliant dictator, rather than having the headache of depending on the lawmakers in a democratic country to discuss their case. People’s welfare is never a part of their equation.

The Myanmar citizens have to recognize that it is too premature to get excited about the elections they had recently. A constitution that does not address the human rights issue, and allows the military-controlled quasi-democratic government to make unjust laws, is compatible, neither with true democracy nor with any civilized society.

Hypocrisy of Muslims nations:

Bangladesh is a country that should feel more obliged to help Rohingya Refugees than any other country, not just based on moral humanitarian grounds, but also because of the common ethnic roots the country shares with these refugees.

New York-based Human Rights Watch[17] said that about 1500 people had been illegally denied refuge across the border by Bangladesh. Bangladesh refuses to grant Rohingya Muslims refugee status since 1992, and now cold-heartedly pushing asylum-seeking Rohingyas in unsafe boats back into open sea. Those who were able to enter Bangladesh are hiding from local police with no access to food or shelter. Rohingya women separated from their husbands in desperation selling sex for few Taka (US $1 = Approx. 81 Taka) in order to provide food and shelter for their babies.

It is true that Bangladesh has already too many refugees to take care of with insufficient resources, but it is criminal to send them back to die. Even letting them simply stay on an open space, at least, would give them a hope. But letting them go back to get surely killed is shameful. Doesn’t that what their religion teaches that the best Sustainer of all sustainers is the Creator-God Himself? That the real believer has to only open his arm to the refugees and provide whatever they can. Rest will be blessed.

Saudi Arabia:

Saudi government is too busy, armed with Wahabi Islam to fight against Shia Islam and naturally any attempt to contain crimes against humanity, such as Rohingya Muslims massacre, would be out of line with their anti-shia agenda. After all the Myanmar Buddhist government is not Shia!

But it is not all about religion. It pertains to only one thing: Corruption of the Muslim nations at all levels of social-political-economical strata. If few countries have already protested against the Myanmar human rights problems, like Iran and Turkey, it is only for their political consideration, totally blind to their own domestic human right problems, though much less in severity than one finds in Myanmar.

Pakistan government cannot condemn human rights problems in Myanmar if they themselves cannot stop the violent xenophobic crimes regularly perpetrated on their ethnic minorities, especially Christians, Hindus, Shias and Qadianis.

Yes, common man in the streets in all Muslim countries does condemn the atrocities on Rohingya Muslims as was demonstrated recently. And so they did also for human right abuses everywhere in the world in the past. But that is all they can do. They have their own problems dealing with their share of 1% corrupt elite-leeches and have no clue how to get them off their backs.

Radical Muslim Groups – An Additional Dangerous liability for Rohingya Muslims:

Strange as it seems, but the most vocal groups in Muslim nations that have raised voice condemning Rohingya Muslim Massacre are the most backward religious organizations that have a track record of doing more harm to the interests of Muslim ‘have-nots’ than one can imagine.

Some of them are radical clerics and Muslim terrorist organizations that have been instrumental in barbaric killings of innocent Muslim civilians, for instant the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban of sub-continent nations. They are already in the forefront and would be not only a political liability for the cause of Rohingya Muslims, but also pose danger to all Rohingya Muslims, who would not cater to the whims of these Muslim radicals.

Their involvement will further inflame the Buddhist resentment and xenophobia toward Rohingya Muslims.

One cannot forget and ignore the impact of the dynamiting and destroying of two 6th century monumental statues of standing buddhas carved into the side of the cliff in the Bamyan valley in Central Afghanistan in March 2001[18] by the Talibans on the minds of Buddhist of the world, especially those who live in Myanmar, and its influence on their attitudes toward Rohingya Muslims, although the latter have nothing to do with it. .

To further blemish the cause of Rohingya Muslims, some clandestine groups are circulating widely a series of doctored and misidentified photographs in Pakistani social media and claiming to show violence against Rohingyas. Somebody originated one photo posted on Facebook page showing “Buddhists dressed in their traditional red robes standing in the middle of two rows of dead bodies. The caption reads: “Bodies of Muslims killed by Buddhists.” In reality, this picture is from an earthquake incident in China in 2010, where Tibetan monks came to help with the rescue efforts.”[19]

“Shahzad Ahmad, the Pakistan country director for the global online activism group called Bytes for All, says: “stories of Muslim victimization around the world are exaggerated in Pakistan by Islamist groups on the Internet.”[20]

Among the groups involved in stirring the activism are Jamat-ud-Dawa, Jamat-e-Islami and Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam, three Islamist groups that hold significant street power in the country.

Jailed radical Islamic cleric, Abu Bakar Bashir in Jakarta, Indonesia has threatened[21] to attack Myanmar over the persecution of Muslim Rohingya.

What Rohingya Muslims Need To Do?

There are no immediate solutions. They can only do their best at present and endure, unfortunately.

The Rohingya Muslims’ current dilapidated rickety state did not develop overnight. They have to, sooner or later, confront themselves and find out what made them unsuccessful in developing friendly ties with non-Muslim Myanmar civilians. Was it only religion or ethnicity? What came in their way in establishing their credibility and integrity in the minds of their enemies? What was turning them off? We are not talking about a conflict between ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’; no, we are talking about the relationship between the ‘have-nots’ of one religious group and the ‘have-nots’ of several combined ethnic groups of the same, but different religion.

The Rohingya Muslims have to watch their back not only from some Buddhists who are hostile toward them, but also their Muslim ‘brothers’ who have their own hidden agenda and may potentially drown them.

They have to be careful with Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami/Bangladesh (HUJI-B), a group that was declared a terrorist organization in 2008. This group did recruit a number of Rohingya Muslims from the Arakan area of Myanmar and took them to Afghanistan for fighting against the Soviet and Afghan troops (1979-1989).

Although there is no evidence reported of any link of this terrorist group with Rohingyas at present, but if the current trend of severe human rights abuse of Rohingyas continue, the Rohingyas’ feelings of alienation may get more aggravated and that might make them very vulnerable for exploitation by HUJI-B and thus help to jeopardize the needed unity of all the ‘have-nots’ of Myanmar against the 1% Military leeches who would love to have more ammunition to widen the gulf between Muslims and Buddhists.

So, the Rohingya Muslims have to recognize the fact that the only people who can sincerely do anything good for them are they themselves.

No nation, no ethnic group or even an individual has ever prospered using the strength of others, without first building the strength within themselves. They have to organize themselves as a group, not as guerrillas, but as peaceful passive resistance group that can establish credibility in the eyes of other non-Muslim ‘have-nots’ in Myanmar. This approach will save more lives, and will make the adversaries less insecure and more trusting. There is no easy pathway. If migration to a better place is possible, then they should do it. But unfortunately there is no such place in Muslim world!

US Gold Rush to woo Burmese Military 1% elite

One should not forget that Western businesses are too keen to invest in Myanmar’s much needed profitable health, telecommunications, housing and energy markets, besides the unexploited natural resources of oil and natural gas, especially in the regions where Rohingya Muslims are being massacred so that the rest that survive leave the country and make the land available for foreign exploration. For the Western world, presence of much traumatized Rohingya Muslims would attract Muslim radical from other Muslim countries to come and try to exploit some of the Rohingya Muslims to join them and pursue their agenda.

While US, European Union, Israel and Saudi Arabia have gone crazy about human rights violations and killings in ‘anti-Israel’ Syria and impatiently salivating to militarily intervene in Syria, they are too euphoric about acquiring access to Burma with the potential for establishing military bases in Burma against China & Russia and obviously not interested in acknowledging the crimes against humanity presently perpetrated by a regime many time more ruthless than the non-compliant Gaddafi.

In fact, United States[22] and European Union[23] praised the Myanmar government’s response to the current crisis.

This gold rush has triggered so much excitement in the government circles of US and Europe that the bar for engagement with Myanmar’s military controlled democratic government has been set very low. That means democracy is not even a pre-condition for removing the sanctions that were imposed in the past.

While recent positive signs of (potentially reversible) change in the domestic policy of Myanmar made by its Military junta as a bait to lure US and EU are favorable, yet the reality on the ground does not seem to be that promising. It is one thing to support democracy and human rights; it is another thing to assume that just mere presence of government representatives elected through rigged election backed by a shadow military junta is enough.

Actually the American companies are relishing at the sight of an opportunity of making an unholy alliance with 1% Myanmar’s military elite by partnering “with the state-owned energy conglomerate — the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) — whose revenue has underwritten the military regime’s repression of its people and ongoing wars against ethnic dissidents.”[24]

This is killing two birds with one stone: having a hedge against China and at the same time making US companies earn profit with total disregard to the oppressed 99% Myanmar people and the serious human rights problems. Legitimizing an oppressive government for the sake of political gain without waiting for Myanmar to adopt internationally accepted measures of transparency and accountability is irresponsible and a green light for continuation of crimes against humanity.

If today Iran, which has 100 times better human rights record and a mature democratic system, invites the US to take partial control of their natural resources, the West will forget all the sanctions against Iran. It is all about profits and control for the multi-national corporations with no benefit to citizens of both Myanmar and western countries.

Myanmar Buddhist Citizens:

In Myanmar, out of 53.42 Million people, 89% are Buddhists, while Muslims are only 4%, a very tiny minority.

Buddhism is a religion, like Islam, not restricted to one country, as in Myanmar. However, it is indigenous to the Indian sub-continent. Buddha is recognized as an enlightened teacher who taught that in order to end sufferings (dukkha), one must eliminate ignorance (avida), cravings (tanha) and hatred and walk on the path of moderation and awakening to achieve happiness through liberation (nirvana).

If That is What They Believe, That Raises Some Questions:

What is the rationale behind assuming the presence of Rohingyas as invasion on their land?

What is the rationale behind assuming the presence of Rohingyas as “illegal”?

The citizens of Myanmar know very well there are at least 10 ethnic groups (besides ‘others’), out of which Bamar are 68%. If tomorrow the military democratic government decides that all citizens in Myanmar who are not Bamar are “illegal”, will that justify that Bamar now have a right to push the rest out of the country, just because the law says that they are ‘illegal’?

Perhaps because the Myanmar citizens never experienced justice themselves and never had just laws in the country, therefore they do not realize that in a civilized society there should not only be the rule of law, but the laws have to be just laws that do not violate human rights of any individual(s), without exception.

Assuming that it is true that Rohingya Muslims are ‘illegal immigrants’, would that provide enough justification for Buddhists to slaughter even one Rohingya?

In a civilized society one does not slaughter even a rapist. Is there such a thing as ‘respect for human dignity’, something that the military never showed to its own people?

Perhaps they do not understand how democracy works. Democracy does not mean that the majority can screw any minority anytime whenever they feel like, just because they are in majority and have all the rights to mistreat the minorities. It does not work that way. That is why Myanmar needs a valid constitution incorporating human rights protection, plus other essential items before start believing that their former military oppressors have metamorphosed into angels!

When did the presence of diversity become an evil thing in the religion of Buddhism? Should Buddhist monks be chasing people to death? Don’t they know that hatred, bigotry and racism will never allow them to walk on the path of moderation to achieve nirvana?

No culture can live, if it attempts to be exclusive.

                                                                                                                    [Mahatma Gandhi]

In matters of conscience the Law of Majority has no place.

                                                                                                                   [Mahatma Gandhi]

It is true that when people have been traumatized repetitiously, they tend to traumatize each other. After all, the Myanmar army has a long track record of exploiting and slaughtering civilians, looting, torture, rape, women enslavement, and human trafficking for decades and now the civilians getting their frustrations out on the weakest ethnic group, instead of facing the real enemy, the military that thrives on hatred, conflict and fear.

The Myanmar citizens have to recognize that their revolution is not finished, because it was aborted by devious manipulation by the junta to divide the society into groups, inject hatred and then exploit them forever.

This was the way British colonialists did, not only in Burma, but also at every major state and province of the entire Indian subcontinent. The ethnic massacre took place multiple times not only in Myanmar, but also in Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh and even in South Africa. Millions of Hindus, Muslims and civilians of other denominations were slaughter.

The fault does not lie in any ethnic group, the fault lies in ignorance, lack of ability to reflect and reason and in losing respect for human dignity. The good news is that such faults are correctable, only if people just reflect.

The citizens’ prosperity and peace will not come out of the destruction of one or more ethnic groups.

Violence begets violence. Peace and compassion begets peace and compassion.

It is the duty of the saner and emotionally mature elements among the Buddhists and Muslims to form peace committees and redirect the focus of all citizens for community building toward independence with or without the help of government. One can always find ways how to do it most efficiently and effectively.

The Myanmar people should never forget all the sacrifices they gave in the past:

How can Myanmar people forget the sufferings they endured when the British government attempted to colonize their country and they had to fight three successive Anglo-Burmese wars over sixty years and ended up becoming a part of British India?

It was these British invaders, not Indians or Bangladeshis, who did everything to divide the multi-ethnic British Burma by favoring some ethnic groups over others and created long lasting inter-ethnic hatred and distrust.

How can Myanmar people forget the active movement for national independence that was initiated by the students at Rangoon University under the dynamic leadership of U Aung San[25] in 1935 that resulted in Burma’s independence in 1947?

Britishers have long gone: should there be any justification to still carry on the ethnic bag as if it was oxygen for their national soul?

How can Myanmar people forget the democratic freedom that they enjoyed was suddenly yanked by the greedy Burmese military elite in 1962, followed by severe political repression, economic decline with currency devaluation?

How can Myanmar people forget the date August 8, 1988, i.e., 8/8/88, when the Burmese army slaughtered thousands of unarmed civilians and imprisoned thousands more who were forced to experience an orgy of torture?

Those brutes were not foreigners, not Indians and not Bengalese; they were Burmese like them with the same ethnic background and spoke the same language, but unlike them, they were sub-humans.

Because of military repression, several hundred thousand Burmese civilians had to cross borders to neighboring countries, especially Thailand to seek safety. Many thousand more were internally displaced and lost their homes. Conservative estimates state that there are over 295,800[26] Burmese who live as refugees.

Myanmar people have to realize that their preoccupation with ethnic emotions of hate and distrust will not help them to live a decent life style of comfort; that such a xenophobic paradigm will not bring electricity to everyone’s home, provide adequate food and bring clean water for every family member, make available adequate health care, and achieve freedom from being looted, forced labor, child labor[27], house burned, raped, having children, mothers and sisters forcefully taken away for sex enslavement and sex porters for the military[28].

Myanmar people have to realize that it is time to give up on the military democracy, which is an illusion. Because of these military men the country ranks 180th out of 183 countries worldwide on the Corruption Perception Index[29].

Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good.

                                                                                                                     [Mahatma Gandhi]

To achieve a peaceful prosperous life requires sacrifice. Not necessarily sacrifice of one’s life, but sacrifice of ego, sacrifice of giving up false beliefs and biases, sacrifice of giving up old life style and replace it with seeking essential knowledge, skills and personal integrity and finally the biggest sacrifice of being honest with one self and incorporating respect for human dignity.

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

                                                                                                                    [Mahatma Gandhi]

A non-violent revolution is not a program of seizure of power. It is a program of transformation of relationships, ending in a peaceful transfer of power.

                                                                                                                     [Mahatma Gandhi]




Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. Wikipedia: Burma < > Retrieved on August 2, 2012
  2. Wikipedia: Rohingya people < > Retrieved on 8/4/2012
  3. ibid
  4. ibid
  5. ibid
  6. ibid
  7. ibid
  8. ibid
  9. SIL International: < > Retrieved on 8/4/2012
  10. The Sail: “Violations in Arakan < > Retrieved on 8/4/2012
  11. ibid
  12. theguardian “Burma clashes kill scores despite curfew imposed in Arakan state” by Francis Wade in Myitkyina Monday 11 June 2012 12.56 EDT < > Retrieved on 8-2-2012
  13. Reuters: “U.S. praises Myanmar’s response to sectarian clashes” by a Reuters Staff Reporter Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:27am EDT < > Retrieved on 8-2-2012
  14. “Burma’s ethnic clashes leave 90,000 in need of food, says UN” Tuesday June 19, 2012 <–burma-s-ethnic-clashes-leave-90-000-in-need-of-food-says-un > Retrieved on June 19, 2012
  15. BBC News: “Bangladesh accused of ‘crackdown’ on Rohingya refugees” By Mark Dummett Thursday, 18 February 2010 < > Retrieved on 8-3-2012
  16. AFP: “Myanmar, Bangladesh leaders ‘to discuss Rohingya’

    “ – (AFP) – Jun 25, 2012  < > Retrieved on 8/3/2012

  17. Fox “Rights group urges Bangladesh to keep border open” – Published June 12, 2012 – Associated Press < > Retrieved on 8-3-2012.
  18. Wikipedia: Buddhas of Bamiyan < > Retrieved on 8/5/2012
  19. The Christian Science Monitor: “Pakistan’s extremists whip up frenzy over Burma’s Muslims” By By Taha Siddiqui, Correspondent / August 3, 2012 < > Retrieved on 8/5/2012
  20. ibid
  21. Huff Post – World – “Radical cleric threatens Myanmar over Rohingya” By Niniek Karmini – August 5, 2012 < > Retrieved on 8/5/2012
  22. Reuters: “U.S. praises Myanmar’s response to sectarian clashes” by a Reuters Staff Reporter Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:27am EDT < > Retrieved on 8-2-2012
  23. Reuters: “EU welcomes “measured” Myanmar response to rioting” Reporting by Reuters in Sittwe, Nurul Islam in Bangladesh and Sebastian Moffett in Brussels. Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:38am EDT < > Retrieved on 8-2-2012
  24. The Washington Post: WP Opinions – “U.S. is moving too fast on Burma” By Michael Green and Daniel Twining, Published: July 15 < > Retrieved on 8-3-2012
  25. Burma: A Cultural Profile < > Retrieved on 8-2-2012
  26. Wikipedia: Burma < > Retrieved on 8-2-2012
  27. ibid
  28. ibid
  29. ibid

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  1. Bashir Bhimani

    I read your throughly researched, very well organized, highly thought provoking article. It read like we are there from the beginning of the regime it shows that you care about the situation and the condition of be muslims there. It looks like that you have done a tom of research on the subject. Thank you for your hard work.

  2. Ahmad

    Would you not agree that Muslims have put themselves in such a situation where we have consistently struggled to get out of?

    • admin

      Thank you for your comment.

      Yes, you are correct. Muslims did put themselves in such situations. However, I would be very reluctant to blame the Muslims, particularly those who were massacred and the family members who were fortunate enough to survive. To blame them would be unfair.

      But one thing is certain, as proved time and again, that there are two scenarios that determine peace and prosperity of a community or a nation:

      Scenario #1. The average quality of the ability of each member of the community or a nation’s citizen to think, reflect, have an open mind, use logic and reasoning, analyze, and seek knowledge – this quality in turns determines the level of political, economical, and technological development. That also means a certain level of advancement in military power.

      Scenario #2. The average quality of self-honesty, individual integrity, ability to respect human dignity and general awareness of universal moral values and universal human mutual obligations practiced by very household in society.

      The scenario #1 helps each member of the society to live feeling more secure, having access to some degree of justice, because of the rule of the law, as well as freedom from fear of external enemy by virtue of its military superiority; also it does provide opportunities for average family to be living comfortably, though not necessarily living a very prosperous life. The prosperity still remains the exclusive privilege of the 1% elite who control the political-economical infra-structure of the nation. The 99% are just OK. At least, they have no fears of being ‘massacred’.

      The scenario #2 is the critical factor and the only factor that facilitates the 99% of the population, (regardless whether they are in majority or just a minority) to remain united as one intelligent force, that establishes its own integrity and credibility in the eyes of both friends and foes, a force from whose hands, speech and behavior no one gets hurt; rather they are perceived to be an asset and considered “useful” for the whole society and neighboring nations, they are the source of strength and prosperity for others, even by those who are different from ethnic, or religious point of view.

      Unfortunately the Scenario #2 typically does not exist anywhere today; neither in Muslim society, nor in non-Muslim nations. It did exist in the past in the early phase of Islamic community; and often the prosperity was so wide spread during some periods of Islamic rule that it was difficult to find any citizen eligible to receive charity.

      On the other hand, Scenario #1 is more prevalent in the more developed nations, but totally is non-existent in any Muslim country.

      [ See the post – Original True Religion of Monotheism – < > ]

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