Saturday, November 15, 2014
'The Rohingyas' - President Obama finally uttered the word, but the road ahead is still very long
Late last September 2014, the Burmese (Myanmar) government presented a horribly controversial plan to the UN, stating that it would agree to grant citizenship to the Muslim minority of Burma only if they disclaimed their true ethnicity belonging to the soil of Burma for generations and accepted being falsely and officially labelled as "Bangladeshis." Use of the term "Rohingya" is illegal in Burma. It's identical to the crime of extortion or forced confession under duress. In this case it insinuates officializing apartheid. The Burmese government and opposition do not consider it improper as a policy to formally discriminate between the majority and the minority. The U.N. was silently aware of the awful and unjust nature of this plan but was too afraid to speak. Complete story at Zainab's Lounge blog entry Oct.21, 2014.
But Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, one of the persons trying to awaken the world about the unprecedented suffering and tragedy of the Muslim minority of Burma, along with many others, did not give up their efforts to thwart this evil plan. They particularly persuaded U.S. President Barack Obama to use the word "Rohingya" during his visit to Burma and address the minority as "Rohingyas" - a gesture of official disapproval of the horrible Burmese apartheid.
Quoting International Business Times, U.K., "Rights groups were watching closely US president Barack Obama's Myanmar visit to check whether he would finally stand up against the oppression of one of the world's most persecuted minority groups - the Rohingya Muslims. A social media campaign titled #JustSayTheirName was launched by United to End Genocide and thousands of people have signed an online petition and tweeted pictures of themselves holding placards with the slogan."
Eventually and unexpectedly, hard work of hundreds of thousands around the world bore some fruits. On his last day of his visit to Burma, President Obama uttered the word "Rohingya." Quote - "The discrimination against Rohingya, or any other religious minority, does not express the kind of country Burma wants to be. I know of no successful democracy (where) sectarian or religious divisions are allowed to fester, or people of different faith are treated as second class citizens. Ultimately that is destabilizing to a democracy." - Barack Obama.
But the path ahead still looks long, bumpy and uncertain for the Rohingyas. It's to be seen to what extent the Government and opposition of Burma (both of whom support the Burmese apartheid wholeheartedly) will heed the message of the U.S. President to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the persecuted minority of their country. After all, the genocide that began in June 2012 still continues. Over 200,000 Rohingyas have been murdered for being Muslims. Twice as many have been maimed or raped. All of their properties have been destroyed, burned. Muslim neighborhoods in Burma have turned into vast stretches of rubble. More than 150,000 Rohingyas are incarcerated in squalid concentration camps. Foreign reporters, relief and healthcare workers are not allowed access to the concentration camps in Burma. On average, each day the Burmese government is targeting and expelling at least 900 Rohingyas by confiscating their properties and assets. Official reports mention one million Rohingyas living as refugees in neighboring countries and around the world. The actual figure is thought to be higher.
Along with Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Kashmir and other places where the innocent and the helpless are perpetually being targeted and hurt, please keep the Rohingyas in your prayers every day. May Allah, The Almighty, be with the oppressed.
Face of the Burmese apartheid which the Burmese government and opposition want to officialize.