Friday, May 22, 2015

Holy Hypocrisy - Fox News Snores when Terrorist Xian Minister threatens

"Have you heard about the Christian terrorist Robert Doggart, who was plotting a violent attack against a Muslim-American community in New York state? Probably not, because as opposed to when U.S. law enforcement officials arrest a Muslim for planning a violent assault, they didn’t send out a press release or hold a press conference publicizing Doggart’s arrest," writes Dean Obeidallah in the Daily Beast.

I surely did not hear about this terrorist until a friend of mine brought Dean's article.

Doggart, a 63-year-old Tennessee resident, is an ordained Christian minister in the Christian National Church. In 2014, he unsuccessfully ran for Congress as an independent, espousing far right-wing views. He served in the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, worked for 40 years in the electrical generation business, has a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from La Salle University, and claimed he had nine “committed” men working with him to carry out this attack.

Doggart, who was also recorded via wiretaps speaking to militia members in Texas and South Carolina, didn’t mince words about his plans for the Muslims of Islamberg: “We will be cruel to them. And we will burn down their buildings [Referring to their mosque and school.] ...and if anybody attempts to harm us in any way... we will take them down.”
He also detailed the weapons he would use in the attack, including an M-4 military assault rifle, armor-piercing ammunition, explosives, pistols, and a machete, because “If it gets down to the machete, we will cut them to shreds.”
On April 24, Doggart entered into a plea agreement, pleading guilty to one count of making threats via the phone, and he will be fined up to $250,000 and spend as much as five years in prison pending a judge’s approval of the deal.
Mr. Obeidallah writes, "It goes without saying that if Doggart had been Muslim and had planned to kill Christians in America, we would have seen wall-to-wall media coverage. Fox News would have cut into its already-daily coverage of demonizing Muslims to do a special report really demonizing Muslims. And few can doubt that a Muslim would’ve been charged with terrorism-related crimes.
One big reason for the lack of media coverage was that neither the FBI nor the U.S. Attorney’s Office put out a press release about Doggart’s arrest. In contrast, the FBI office in Knoxville, the one that handled this investigation, has posted press releases for numerous other recent arrests, such as for drug crimes and robbery charges. (My calls to the FBI about this issue have not been returned.)
However, when a Muslim is arrested in a sting-type operation, as we saw recently in Brooklyn, the FBI touts that arrest to the media with a detailed press release. We have also seen U.S. attorneys hold press conferences to announce the arrest of Muslims, as we witnessed recently with the six Minnesota men charged withplanning to join ISIS. But not here."
As suggested by Mr. Obeidallah, the FBI needs to publicize these types of arrests the same way as when they arrest a Muslim on similar charges.  Otherwise, the agency's intent will be viewed harshly, and it may not escape being viewed as partisan, promoting anti-Muslim hysteria in the USA. After all, in recent years we have seen how the FBI informants have tempted many mentally unstable loners with low IQs towards plotting terrorist activities. 
You can read Mr. Obeidallah's piece by clicking here.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Two unfair verdicts - my two cents!

An Egyptian court - read ‘kangaroo’ court - has recently pronounced death sentences on ousted president Mohammed Morsi and more than 100 other people over a mass prison break in 2011. Such harsh sentences in Sisi's Egypt are not unsurprising. Sisi wants to be the latest Pharaoh of Egypt, and is serious about weeding out any potential resistance to his illegal power grab that has ousted a popularly elected president and his party. 

You can find more info by clicking here.

More problematic, however, is the verdict here inside the USA regarding Boston bombing. The verdict was a surprise to most legal experts. Capital punishment has been banned in Massachusetts since 1987, and polls show that few in the state support the practice.

Polls show that more than two-thirds of Bostonians wanted DZHOKHAR TSARNAEV  to receive a life sentence without possibility of parole. A number of victims of the attack also argued against the death penalty, including Bill and Denise Richards, the parents of an eight-year-old boy killed in the bombings. The “continued pursuit of [capital] punishment could bring years of appeals and prolong reliving the most painful day of our lives,” they wrote in a recent op-ed in the Boston Globe, the city's main daily.

The teenager Mr Tsarnaev was very poorly represented by his defense attorney Judy Clarke. The government’s decision to seek the death penalty was very controversial from the start. Despite overwhelming public opinion against death penalty, then Attorney General Eric Holder chose to send a strong message that the US will not tolerate such acts of terror. It did not matter to him that when the crime was committed Mr Tsarnaev was merely a teenager.

What bothers me most is what message we are sending to the world through such a verdict. As has been argued the teenager was raised by his older brother and followed him, without probably understanding the consequence of his blind following which turned out tragic and deadly. If I understand correctly from the court proceedings, he, however, did not personally trigger the bomb or cause anyone to die. He was an accomplice and nothing more. And yet he ends up sentenced to death for being an accomplice to a serious crime. 
Professor James Alan Fox who teaches criminology at Northeastern University, Boston, recently argued in the USA Today that instead of this verdict a stronger message could have been sent had the outcome been life imprisonment. ‘Not only does the United States not tolerate terrorism, but it also does not need to kill to make the point,’ he wrote.

Compare this verdict against the verdict issued for the Blackwater case. On Monday, April 13, a federal judge sentenced a former Blackwater Worldwide security guard to life in prison and three others to 30-year terms for killing 14 unarmed civilians in a Baghdad traffic circle in 2007, an incident that fomented deep resentments about the accountability of American security forces during one of the bloodiest periods of the Iraq war.

U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the District rejected a claim of innocence by Nicholas A. Slatten, 31, of Sparta, Tenn., who received the life sentence after being convicted of murder in October for firing what prosecutors said were the first shots in the civilian massacre.
The three others — Paul A. Slough, 35, of Keller, Tex.; Evan S. Liberty, 32, of Rochester, N.H.; and Dustin L. Heard, 33, of Maryville, Tenn. — were sentenced to 30 years plus one day after being convicted of multiple counts of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter.
So, what message are we sending to the rest of the world? Are the lives of those civilians in Iraq unworthy or infinitely less worthy compared to our Americans here in the USA?  So, while an immature teenager gets death sentence (while he was just an accomplice to his older brother that had committed a serious crime), our trigger happy American criminals who have murdered so many are getting almost a free pass in our judicial system. Is this fair? Let's not forget that nearly a million Iraqis were killed because of the total breakdown of army rules and policies during occupation of Iraq - from soldiers to contractors. If a teenager who did not personally murder anyone but still could get a death sentence for being an accomplice to a heinous crime should not the Blackwater criminal guards deserve death for their more serious crimes? 

You be the judge. I am confused and am not happy when we expect the rest of the world to follow our model and preach the rest of the world to judge fairly while we send such a wrong message. 

One Year of Modi Sarkar: Hate Speech Galore - by Prof. Ram Puniyani

Prof. Ram Puniyani is a human rights activist in India who writes for the Secular Perspectives. Here below is his analysis of Indian prime minister Modi's first year in office.

The coming to power of Narendra Modi in a way gave an open license to all the affiliates of RSS combine to indulge in open hate speech against the religious minorities. The current agenda behind the hate speech is to consolidate the communal polarization of the society along lines of religion. The well known case of MIM’s Akarbar Uddudin Owaisis’ hate speech has been despicable and very rightly Akbarudin Owaisi had to be in jail for some time. The case against him should be pursued and the legal course of action must befollowed.  At the same time what about the hate speech indulged in by the likes of Pravin Togadia, Subramaniam Swami, Giriraj Singh, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Sadhvi Prachi, Sakshi Mahraraj, Yogi Adityanth, Sanjay Raut and company?
Apart from these associates of Hindu right wing patriarch, RSS, who are reported in the media, there are many more indulging in the divisive speech and worsening the communal situation. During this year they have started feeling emboldened as they know it is ‘their’ Government and they can get away with it. Day in and day out they are becoming more aggressive and vicious in their language. The hate speech against religious minorities has been stepped up.
One recalls even before Modi Sarkar assumed the seat of power the divisive activities of ‘BJP associates’ in the form of propaganda of love jihad and Ghar Vapasi were on, and they continued without any respite during this year. Soon after this Government came to power in Pune, Mohsin Sheikh, a person working in IT was hacked to death by activists of Hindu Jagran Sena, in the aftermath of morphed pictures of Bal Thackeray and Shivaji being posted on the social media. The attack on Churches was very glaring and the process which was dominant in Delhi and Haryana was also witnessed in places like Panvel near Mumbai, Agra in UP amongst other places.
Sakshi Maharaj not only said that Godse was a patriot; he also went on to say that Hindu women should produce four children, as Muslims are overtaking the population. Sadhvi Prachi went to prescribe eight children for Hindu women. She also gave a call that the Muslim film actors, Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan should be boycotted. Pravin Togadia has been the leading person in making hate speeches; he has the highest number of cases regarding hate speech against him. Yogi Adityanath, BJP’s MP keeps making very derogatory remarks, He said that in ‘love jihad’ if one Hindu girl is converted then 100 Muslim girls should be converted to Hinduism. The propaganda around love jihad keeps simmering and various small and big leaders keep using it to divide the society. Same Yogi went on to say that Mosques should be converted into den of pigs and that Muslims should not be allowed to come to Hindu holy places.
Two central ministers of Modi Sarkar, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and Giriaj Singh made very insulting and humiliating remarks about non Hindus and the color of skin of UPA chief Sonia Gandhi. Niranjan Jyoti stated that all those who are non Hindus are illegitimate, Haramzade. Giriraj Singh had earlier said that those not voting for Modi should go to Pakistan. Interestingly he said this before the elections and despite such a record he was elevated to the level of minister in the Modi sarkar. He made racial comments about Sonia Gandhi recently. Sakshi Mahraj also held Godse as a patriot, while his another party colleague from Kerala, one Gopal Krishnan wrote in RSS mouth piece Keasri that Godse chose a wrong target in killing Gandhi, he should have killed Nehru instead. Subramaniam Swamy, one of the very senior leaders of BJP, said that God lives in temples alone, not in mosques and Churches, The hidden implication of this statement is fraught with danger. These are few of the samples from what all has been stated during this year. Its impact in increasing the sense of fear amongst religious minorities is more than obvious. BJP ally Shiv Sena’s MP Sanjay Raut went to the extent of demanding that the voting rights of Muslims should be revoked.
As such one realizes that ‘Hate speech’ is the outcome of the politics of divisiveness, it is the concentrated expression of the ‘social common sense’ prevailing in the society, it is the forth right and blunt way of putting things, which communal parties propagate anyway. It is not out of the blue that these formulations suddenly crop up, their infrastructure, the base of these has already been made by a section of political outfits.
Also ‘Hate Speech’ in case of India is an accompaniment of the politics in the name of religion and language, and also many times it precedes the violence or helps in polarization of communities for electoral benefits. While BJP was on the upswing during Ram Temple campaign; one recalls that Sadhvi Ritambhara, was propped up for pravachans (religious discourses) by RSS combine. She was bluntly talking anti minority things, duly endorsed by communal political organizations. This took place around the Babri demolition period.
One has been hearing similar things from many a sadhus of VHP, small and sundry members of communal gang, some Muslim communalists and the ilk of Togadia. There has been a more sophisticated presentation of the similar formulations by many others. Modi, in his initial rise to power talked divisive language, but kept changing the form in a very subtle way to suit the needs of his political strategy. When he said that post Gujarat refugee camps should be shut down as they have become factories of production of children, he was reinforcing the propaganda about Muslims having more number of children.
In the wake of Mumbai riots Bal Thackeray had indulged in Hate speech, inciting his Shiv Sainiks to undertake violence. He also got away with it due to clever way of putting his vitriol and due to the lack of adequate laws which can distinguish the Hate speech from freedom of expression, which can distinguish between one’s political opinion and painting the ‘other’ community in a negative light. Incidentally it is important to distinguish between criticizing a community and criticizing a political organization. While political organizations can and must be criticized, communities should not be humiliated or insulted. Also no political organization can be synonymous with the religious community, whatever its claims.
It is not only disturbing but totally against the values of our democratic society that such ‘hate other’ ideology and speeches have become the weapon in the hands of a type of politics, which thrives on exclusion, which identifies a particular religious community as synonymous with the nation state. Again this ‘hate speech’ is the language of a section of those who thrive on identity politics far away from the real issues of the society.
As such Hate speech in India entered the political arena with the rise of communal streams in politics, like Muslim League on one side and Hindu Mahasabha and RSS on the other. These streams believed in the nation based on one religious community. These streams came from the sections of earlier rulers, landlords, Nawabas and Rajas etc. The ideology of religion based nationalism is narrow and it excludes ‘other’ from its notion of nationhood. These beliefs then get converted into Hate other, and later turn in to ‘Hate speech’. This did form the basis of many a communal violence in pre independence era and also during the last two decades. Varun Gandhi, allegedly said ‘he will cut the hands’, is a BJP MP.
In this atmosphere once a while the BJP spokespersons will say that the view expressed by the particular leader are ‘personal’ and stop at that. For BJP another escape clause is that its associated organizations like VHP, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and Bajrang Dal are formally different organizations though they are also part of RSS controlled Sangh Parivar. They all are working in tandem with BJP for actualization of agenda of Hindu Rashtra. So while BJP is not directly responsible for their actions, the direction of the actions is the same. Many a people call these organizations as fringe elements, while as a matter of fact there is a division of labor between these organizations. These have become more aggressive during this time. And surely after the Modi Sarkar coming to power their vitriol has become more intense
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Can We Allow Fate of those in the SS St. Louis to Repeat?

In recent weeks, Rohingyas stranded in rickety boats in the seas of Southeast Asia has caused international alarm. There are several thousand of these migrants in boats off the coasts of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia with dwindling supplies of food and water. Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times calls it ‘a scene of a mass atrocity.’ If the seas will not kill them, starvation will.

According to Tom Andrews, a former member of Congress who is president of United to End Genocide, “The Andaman Sea is about to become a floating mass grave, and it’s because of the failure of governments, including our own, to do what is necessary.”

In spite of their sad plight, these fleeing refugees are denied temporary shelter in any of these ASEAN countries.  “Not only is there not a search-and-rescue operation going on right now — with thousands out to sea — but governments are towing these people out from their shores back to open sea, which is tantamount to mass murder,” says Tom Andrews.

It is estimated that some 130,000 of them have fled by boat their ancestral home in the Rakhine state of Myanmar (also known as Burma) since mid-2012, and many – probably thousands – have succumbed to death just trying to do so. Many Rohingyas were smuggled or trafficked to Thailand and held in camps until they paid hefty sums of money to reach the Malaysian border, which has been a favorite destination for these migrants that has already housed some 45,000 of them; but now the Malaysian government has ordered its navy to repel them from its borders.

The Rohingyas have been fleeing Buddhist Burma for quite sometime. Soon after Burma’s independence many Rohingyas were “compelled to leave their ancestral homes as a result of a deliberate Burmese policy to remove them.” Massacres by armed forces occurred on 10 and 11 November 1948, and the military told surviving Rohingyas that unless they vacated Maungdaw and Buthidaung (northern Rakhine towns close to Bangladesh, then East Pakistan) they would be tortured and butchered like animals and that they were appointed to wipe out the Rohingyas from Maungdaw and Buthidaung. [Reference:  Confidential Records Branch CRiV-10/51 in the National Archives of Bangladesh.]

Soon after the military came to power in 1962, largely since the 1970s the condition of the Rohingyas worsened as a result of a plethora of state policies that are brutal, savage and an anathema to everything we consider moral, noble, right, fair and decent in our time. Not a single of the Articles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is honored by the Buddhist government in its treatment of the Rohingya people.  Most of them who had hitherto enjoyed full citizenship under 1948 legislation did not receive new IDs. Through its 1982 Citizenship Law, the Burmese government had effectively made them stateless in their own country with no rights and made them the most persecuted people on earth. As a result of such unfathomable violations of human rights, a majority of the Rohingya have ended up living as refugees or unwanted people in many parts of our world, especially, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Gulf States.

The repression of the Rohingyas has gradually intensified since the relaxation of international embargo on President Thein Sein’s government in 2011. In June and October 2012 there were large scale ethnic cleansing drives on Rohingyas in the Rakhine State to exterminate or drive them out of the country. Hundreds of thousands lost their homes, which were destroyed by the marauding and genocidal Buddhists with support from the local and central government and the racist politicians and monks. Some 140,000 of them are now forced to live in concentration camps. To make things worse for the persecuted Rohingya, the government in March revoked white cards - or "temporary registration certificates" - that had been issued to hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas. This meant that they no longer have the right to vote in upcoming elections in November.

In the last few days alone, dozens of Rohingya homes and boats were burned down by racist Buddhists and government security forces in northern Muslim majority areas of the Rakhine state further escalating the crisis and pushing them to the brink of despair. It is not difficult to understand why more than 3500 of them are now in the seas of the Southeast Asia. [By some estimates, this number can be more than 20,000.]

In utter desperation, the Rohingya have become the stranded boat people of our time. Aptly put, they are forced to brave death at sea to escape 'open-air concentration camps' inside Myanmar. Like the Jews on-board the SS St. Louis, fleeing Hitler’s Germany in 1939, who were denied landing in Cuba and the USA, the Rohingyas are denied landfall today.

Obviously, we have learned nothing from the experiences of those returning Jews of the SS St. Louis, many of them dying in the Jewish Holocaust!

In the midst of this rapidly worsening condition of the Rohingyas, a high level 3-day conference to end Myanmar’s persecution of the Rohingya people is scheduled to open on May 26 in Oslo, Norway. State Secretary Morten Høglund from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ola Elvestuen, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party (Venstre) will contribute to the discussion of the plight of the Rohingyas. At the conference, iconic leaders from diverse backgrounds including George Soros, Nobel Peace laureates Mairead Maguire, Desmond Tutu, and José Ramos-Horta, and the former prime ministers of Malaysia and Norway - namely Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad and Kjell Magne Bondevik - will join hands with the representatives of the two generations of Rohingya refugees and activists as well as international human rights researchers and scholars of genocides and mass atrocities. Tomas Ojea Quinta and Yanghee Lee, former and present UN Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, respectively, will also share their expertise with the audiences and other participants. Dr. Maung Zarni, a human rights activist and co-author of the journal article, “The Slow Burning Genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingya” will also share his views. [While I was invited, I declined because of a conflict of schedule, which won’t permit me to make the trip to Oslo.]

What can we do to stop the plight of the Rohingya people, esp. their desperate maritime movements? Finding the solution must start with Myanmar. Lately, the U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has stated, "Until the Myanmar government addresses the institutional discrimination against the Rohingya population, including equal access to citizenship, this precarious migration will continue."

And yet, Myanmar government is in the denial of the very existence of ‘Rohingya.’ It considers the Rohingyas as the ‘Bengalis’ who had intruded from Bangladesh and refuses to attend a May 29 regional meeting with officials from 15 countries to solve the crisis. Zaw Htay who heads the office of Myanmar President Thein Sein said on Friday that Myanmar's government "will not attend a regional meeting hosted by Thailand if 'Rohingya' is mentioned on the invitation". What arrogance! And the sad reality is many of the states, including the USA, are caving in to such arm-twisting tactics of the rogue regime.

It is important that the world community press Myanmar to stop her persecution of the Rohingya people. As I noted before, ASEAN is partly responsible for ignoring the problem too long, which has now become a wider humanitarian crisis. It can’t afford closing its eyes like an ostrich to the crisis any more. It has a moral imperative - if not a legal requirement - to allow migrants to take shelter. It is understandable that some countries may be unwilling to act because by doing so they are more likely to be exposed to the principle of non-refoulement, whereby refugees cannot be forcibly returned to places where their lives or freedoms may be threatened. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in May 2015 urged governments in the region to remember their obligations to keep their borders and ports open to abandoned people at sea and to ensure that "the prohibition on refoulement is maintained". 

“I am appalled at reports that Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia have been pushing boats full of vulnerable migrants back out to sea, which will inevitably lead to many avoidable deaths. The focus should be on saving lives, not further endangering them,” U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said.

He said the latest report of the Thai navy forcing a boat carrying several hundred people back out to sea after supplying it with provisions was “incomprehensible and inhumane".

I hope the Oslo Conference succeeds in mobilizing the world community to stop the persecution of the Rohingya people of Myanmar, including finding temporary homes for those stranded migrants in the seas. They need all our help before it is too late and we are forced to hear the same old tired statement of past generations of genocide apologists — “we didn’t know.”

A people on the brink

Here is the link to an excellent article on the Rohingyas of Myanmar - a people on the brink.

Cameron Hudson writes, "When we asked what could be done to improve their situation, some Rohingya told us that the national and local authorities should allow more humanitarian assistance to reach them. Some called for greater international pressure on the government. Others called for efforts to change hateful mindsets within society against Rohingya and other Muslims. In the meantime, one woman I met in a Rohingya internment camp said simply, “We can just stay here, pray, and wait.” One thing is for certain: if violence does erupt and Burma’s leaders and people do decide to seek a “final solution” for the Rohingya, it will be impossible for anyone to revive the tired refrain of past generations of genocide apologists — “we didn’t know.”"

Buying back freedom from human traffickers

Human traffickers ferrying thousands of Rohingyas from Myanmar are refusing to let some of those on board return home unless ransoms are paid. Here is a story of a kind Rohingya man who is trying to buy back their freedom from human traffickers. 

Persecution of the Rohingya amounts to genocide, says ISCI

Humanitarian crisis affecting Rohingyas is the product of genocide, according to researchers from Queen Mary University of London

“The Rohingya are faced with only two options: stay and face annihilation, or flee.”

London, 16 May 2015: Persecution of the Rohingya minority by the Myanmar government amounts to genocide, according to field research from the International State Crime Initiative (ISCI), based at Queen Mary University of London. 

Experts from ISCI, led by Professor Penny Green, conducted four months of fieldwork in Myanmar between October 2014 and March 2015. The team was based primarily in Rakhine state, the home of the Muslim minority. There, they undertook detailed research which exposes the Myanmar state’s crimes against the Rohingya. 

The current crisis is, according to Professor Green, the direct result of government sponsored actions against the Rohingya, which together amount to genocide. 

“The Myanmar government’s ongoing persecution of the Rohingya minority has, in the last two years, reached a level so untenable that tens of thousands haven been forced to flee on boats. The current exodus of those seeking asylum is just one manifestation of persecution consistent with genocide,” said Professor Green. 

According to Professor Green, there is a general reluctance to define an event as genocide until after mass killing begins. However, ISCI research reveals that the historic and current conditions of persecution against the Rohingya minority have developed into genocidal practice. 

“Our research is being conducted within a state crime framework in which genocide is understood as a process, building over a period of years, and involving an escalation in the dehumanisation and persecution of the target group. The Rohingya have been subject to stigmatisation, harassment, isolation, and systematic weakening. The Rohingya are faced with only two options: stay and face annihilation, or flee. Those who remain suffer destitution; malnutrition and starvation; severe physical and mental illness; restrictions on movement, education, marriage, childbirth, livelihood, land ownership; and the ever present threat of violence and corruption,” said Professor Green. 

Details and more information about ISCI’s findings, concerning the stigmatisation; harassment; isolation; and systemic weakening of the Rohingya are set out in the notes below. These initial findings are drawn from a report to be published in September 2015. The research is funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council. The research team includes Professor Penny Green, Dr Thomas MacManus, and Alicia de la Cour Venning. 

From ISCI’s forthcoming research:

Emerging from decades of oppression and poverty, Rakhine state is ripe for economic exploitation, particularly in relation to natural resources. Demonising the Rohingya as ‘illegal Bengali immigrants’, the Myanmar state has manipulated genuine Rakhine grievances and Buddhist monks’ insecurities to foster conditions for ongoing persecution and violence for social, political and economic gain. The Myanmar government has been central in stigmatising the Rohingya, allowing hate speech, Islamophobia, the publication of inflammatory newspaper reports, and nationalism to flourish. The entire Rohingya population has recently been further disenfranchised, ahead of elections scheduled for November this year. However, the granting of citizenship cards with voting rights will not be enough to end the genocidal process. Citizenship has, for example, afforded little protection for the Kaman Muslim ethnic minority in Rakhine state.

Physical violence resulted in some 200 deaths in Sittwe in 2012, and the threat of violence remains ever present for the Rohingya. Those responsible have enjoyed complete impunity for the violence. Our research reveals that the violence was planned and organised by local authorities supported by local civil society organisations, and political and Buddhist leaders. Continued harassment has contributed to the flight of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya.

More than 100,000 Muslims, formerly living in mixed Rakhine and Rohingya communities, have been forced into squalid camps in an overcrowded and isolated detention complex on the outskirts of Sittwe. A further 4,250 Rohingya live a precarious existence in downtown Sittwe’s militarised ghetto, Aung Mingalar. Dehumanised and destitute, Sittwe’s Rohingya live what can only be described as a ‘bare life’. The parallels with 1930s Germany are undeniable.

Systematic weakening
Systematic weakening is the genocidal stage prior to mass annihilation. Physically and mentally weakened, and living in broken communities devoid of social cohesion, the Rohingya have been stripped of agency and human dignity. The expulsion of Médecins Sans Frontières and the regulation of humanitarian aid are state actions designed to systematically weaken the Rohingya community. As the Rakhine National Party spokesperson declared in his interview with us (January 2015), “When the international community give them [Rohingya] a lot of food and a lot of donations, they will grow fat and become stronger, and they will become more violent.”