Let our voice be heard by the Rohingya

Aung San Suu Kyi came to power as the first civilian leader in decades after the junta regime in Myanmar. She was considered a great hope for the Rohingya Muslims. The promises she made before the election were hopeful and peaceful. The Rohingya believed that things would change for the better.

Suu Kyi received numerous awards from Europe. First, she received the Sakharov Prize from the European Parliament, then the Nobel Peace Prize. While Europe was rewarding her, Suu Kyi, in contrast to her promises, expanded her policy of oppression. In short, the expectations of the Rohingya, who have made the headlines with reports of massacres, genocide and statelessness for a long time, resulted in disappointment.

New reports in August 2017 showed that the situation has become even more critical for Rohingya Muslims. The European Rohingya Council reported on August 28 that 3,000 Muslims were martyred. During the attacks, the army in Rakhine province killed thousands of Muslims in three days. Some human rights organisations in the region state that this number is somewhere around 20,000.

UNICEF reported that the number of people fleeing to Bangladesh since August 25 has reached 370,000. The majority of these people had not eaten for days and 200,000 of them were children.

Rohingya writer Habib Rahman states that there are ongoing massacres in 20 villages. He also remarks that Rohingya people are systematically locked up and many of them have been kept in concentration camps for more than five years. The number of concentration camps in Rakhine state, which are isolated from the world, is 42. And nobody can visit these places. 

How these people lived in these camps and what kind of tortures they suffered were hidden from the eyes of the world until now. But the terrible brutality towards these poor people can no longer be hidden. Regrettably, by the time the world heard it, many innocent Muslims had been martyred.

Even while this video is being aired, massacres and genocide continue to take place in the region. The policy of driving Muslims in the region out of Myanmar is part of the policy of de-identification that began during the years when the country was under British colonial control. The British administration of the period divided those lands into India-Pakistan and Bangladesh when they withdrew from India. This administration left behind civil wars that killed tens of thousands of innocent people. Indeed, this policy was part of a plan. As a matter of fact, the energy routes that will pass through the homeland of Rohingya Muslims have long been the focal point. The policy to annihilate the Muslim population on these valuable lands was left to the Myanmar government. Consequently, Suu Kyi is just one of the leaders chosen to carry out this policy right now.

In the face of these facts, it is not realistic to expect a solution from Western powers or the UN for this tragedy. Even though certain powers in the West say the Rohingya need to be helped, they will be powerless against those who included the region in their deep plans. Those who will benefit the most from the proposed energy routes will always be in favour of destroying the Muslim population there. Even though the meetings held to raise humanitarian aid are a demonstration of goodwill, the Muslim world should know that they will not produce any results.

It is about time the Islamic world abandons its strategy to wait for a solution from the West. Provided that they stay united, the world’s 1.7 billion Muslims would have tremendous potential and enormous power.

The problem is that a large part of the Muslim world is buried in superstitions and embroiled in sectarian conflicts, neglecting to help the oppressed.

Indeed, sensible and mindful leaders are involved in a shuttle diplomacy on the subject.

But we have to be quick. For example the president of the Turkish Republic, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, stated that negotiations about helping the Rohingya were going on with leaders of countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. Turkey has informed the Bangladeshi government that if Bangladesh accepted Muslims arriving at their border, all expenses would be covered by Turkey. This will at least ensure that the people who escape from that region can take refuge in a safe place.

But of course, this cruel policy against the Rohingya needs to be exposed and be loudly condemned. For this, a meeting of millions of people attended also by some Muslim leaders should be organised. It is clear that small meetings and condemnations will not make enough noise. A nation collectively condemning this brutality will be effective in a real sense. It is now time for Muslims to come together and make their voices heard. Our voice must reach the Rohingya who experience this brutality.


2018-03-12 07:02:58

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