“One of the world’s most persecuted minorities,” as the UN puts it, is being systematically murdered by a state that has been lauded for its acceptance of Western economic models, and for opening up to foreign investors. The country is Myanmar and the people being systematically murdered and ethnically cleansed are the Rohingya.
For many years the Rohingya Muslims of Southeast Asia have been brutalized, enslaved and denied citizenship in the nations they have been in for centuries. Many have been forced to flee for their lives to Bangladesh, India or Thailand, only to be turned away and sent back to face persecution and oppression. Today, their very existence is being threatened by powerful reactionary forces and the indifference of the world.
Extremist Buddhist factions backed and aided by the ruling military junta have launched violent attacks on villages, burning them to the ground, sometimes with the inhabitants still in them. Rape and torture are frequently employed tactics by these armed death squads that terrorize the Rohingya in an effort to ethnically cleanse the land. All the while the government of Myanmar, with the silent complicity of Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, has continued a steely silence in the face of their plight.
They all bear direct responsibility for these atrocities, as does the international elite who has been eyeing Myanmar for exploitation of its vast resources for some time. The Rohingya are an inconvenience to them since they stand in the way of enormous profit. Those who have survived the scorched earth policies of the junta often end up in squalid refugee camps scarred, broken and forgotten. Others have been forced out to sea on shabby boats turned away by country after country.
This slow genocide has been happening for years, but the US media has barely taken notice. Perhaps it is because they happen to be Muslim or because Myanmar is fast becoming the latest client state of the global capitalist economic order. The response of the international community might provide an answer to those questions.
The International Monetary Fund, an enduring bastion of colonial era thieves, has recently demanded reforms of the Myanmar government. But not for these crime against humanity. On the contrary. The reforms demanded are for the country’s financial institutions and they are designed to extract even more profit for the global elite from this resource rich country.
The genocide of the Rohingya people is one of the biggest catastrophes of our modern age. Their plight is synonymous with every other struggle against oppression and brutality. And the deafening silence of the world to their misery will not ever be forgotten. When we see them we should very well see ourselves. Because like the Rohingya we all stand in the way of the profit of the few and powerful. Their struggle is in every way our own.
Kenn Orphan 2014