Muslim massacre is a political weapon of the military
The European Rohingya Organization has observed the events of the last few days in the Arakan state of Myanmar with grave concern and grief. As should be clear by now, the military forces of Myanmar, also known as the Tatmadaw have unleashed a reign of terror on innocent civilians, including women and children, with utter disrespect towards humanity and the rule of law, making a mockery of Myanmar’s new found democracy.
For years, the Rohingya Muslim community, recognized internationally as one of the world’s most persecuted people, have met the viciousness of the security forces with patience and perseverance, never retorting to violence. Even after 2012, following the ethnic cleansing perpetuated by the Buddhist nationalists, backed by security forces, we have chosen a path of negotiation and non-violence. Despite our meekness, the regime has continued to accuse Rohingya of harboring phantom terror groups, which in reality don’t exist except in the propaganda of the forces that want to eliminate Muslims from our country.
Also in the last few years, the reign of terror has reached new heights, with many of our people being forced to live in IDP camps where conditions have been described as ‘worst in the world’. Additionally, movement restrictions were tightened on all Rohingya, effectively cutting the community from food sources. Rohingya were also cut off from medical facilities, leading to the deaths and sufferings of countless.
It was in this circumstances that an unknown group launched a mysterious attack on border posts in Arakan state. Without verifying the details of the attack, the military led an offensive against the Muslim community, which increasingly looks like it has been planned well in advance. Civilians, including women and children have been killed, many have been fatally wounded and dying without treatment, and many have been tortured. The objectives of this well planned attack is not to counter insurgency, but create a Rohingya free Arakan, an intention that the army has never even deemed to hide. Instead, the army’s agenda of creating a Rohingya free Arakan, and a Muslim free Myanmar is directly linked with its ideology of an extremist version of Buddhism, which it has used to gain legitimacy in a country ridden with ethnic insurgencies. The ongoing persecution of Muslims in Arakan is not a counter insurgency operation, it is a political tool to maintain the influence of the army on the government.
We are also observing with concern the army’s intention of maintaining a long time deployment in this region. Arakan is also plagued by the Yabba trade, and it is no secret that influential members of the armed forces have a vested interest in the lucrative business. The army with the help of their nationalist allies, also continue to drive a wedge between the Rohingya and Rakhines, in a modern context of the ‘divide and rule’ policy. It looks like following the ongoing massacre, many more Rohingya will leave the country and many will be confine to the open air prisons called IDP camps. There has been an exodus of Rohingya Muslims out of the country following the 2012 violence, and another will follow the ongoing massacre. The calculations are clear, and it increasingly looks like the army will succeed in its plans to create an Arakan free of Rohingya Muslims. One of our hopes rested on the commission led by Kofi Annan, but at present it looks like the army will use anti Muslim violence to incite passions, making it impossible for the UN to find a durable solution to the crisis. Current events confirm the army’s dream of a Rohingya free Arakan is close to becoming a reality.
1. Rohingya Community in Norway - RCN
2. Burmese Rohingya Action Organization UK
3. Arakan Rohingya Organization UK - AROUK
4. Rohingya Community Ireland - RCI
5. Hand 4 Burma e.V
6. Rohingya Community in Switzerland
7. Rohingya Community in Netherland
8. Rohingya Community in Italy
10. Swedish Rohingya Association - SRA
11. Rohingya Community in France
12. Rohingya Community in Austria
13. Rohingya Organization help Denmark