Rohingya Muslims were excluded from the most recent national census in Myanmar. The government in Myanmar maintains that they are Bangladeshi and have no right to citizenship or rights in the country. This, in spite of the fact that many of them have been in Myanmar for generations. The Rohingya Muslims are forced to live in refugee camps where there is absolutely no health care. Doctors without borders aid agency was ordered out of the territory by government authorities approximately 6 months ago. Most people honestly don’t know what it is like to have zero access to health care. In a nutshell it means that the people die from very ordinary and treatable diseases or they are made to suffer by sicknesses we would deem to be insignificant.
The Rohingya have no country, no rights, and most debilitating, no access to justice. As the US administration lavishly praises the leadership for it’s transition to democracy (if you want to call it that) and other democratic countries continue to turn a blind eye to their suffering, Prime Minister Thein Sein is allowed to do anything he wants with this unwanted lot of Muslims.
Many of the countries where Muslims are currently fighting such as Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places all had something in common; their citizens had no access to justice either locally or internationally. Yet, in spite of this the international community will complain if a conflict takes on a religious flavor. The reality is that whatever religious Muslims do it usually has some sort of connection to the religion. Just as religious Christians connect many of their daily activities to their religion, etc. Why should religious Muslims take on a secular face when they fight when they were not secular before the fight?
The international community acted as if it knew nothing of the Assad family’s crimes against their own citizens simply because there was “order and control”. Internationally, order and control earns you the right to rape, torture, and kill and no one will ask you about it. Actually the US was rendering terrorist suspects to Syria for torture. Just ask former detainee Maher Arar. Now that a jihad has been declared and is fought in Syria it is now the concern of western powers. Who, I might add, continue to bypass Assad’s forces and pepper ISIS from the air. Therefore we can only deduce that human rights actually don’t play much of a role when it comes to intervention. It’s all about interests.
The world knew what Qadhafi was doing to his people including the prison massacre of nearly 1,300 inmates at Abu Saleem, systemic torture, and much more than that. However, no one fought Qaddafi for all of those years. World leaders were content to simply express their dislike for him, shrug their shoulders, and that is about it. Actually, British Prime Minister Tony Blair visited Libya and arranged multi billion dollar oil contracts for British and Dutch owned oil company Shell. This was literally taking place while UK spy agency MI6 was detaining and rendering dissident Abdul Hakim Bel Hajj from Malaysia back to Libya for torture. A gift from he UK government to Qadhafi to show good faith I imagine.
No one particularly cared when Saddam Hussein was ruling with an iron hand over his people. Regarding Saddam, it was often in the corridors of power in Washington: “Saddam is a son of a bitch, but he’s OUR son of a bitch”. Meaning, as long as he was a stabilizing force against the Iranians then we don’t care what he does to the people.
Which now leads us back to the Rohingya. Are there any people in history who are persecuted indefinitely? Even Pharaoh’s rule came to an end. Eventually every slave throws off the yoke of oppression. Should we assume the Rohingya will be different? Let us imagine for a moment what a Rohingya liberation will probably look like. At some point, some Muslims somewhere will no longer be fooled into thinking that the international community needs another conference to discuss the Rohingya issue and then things will be alright. At some point there will most likely be a force of Muslims who will have the means to fight the Myanmar government militarily. They will most likely bear religious undertones and statements of “Allaahu Akbar” and calls for Sharia’ law. The Rohingya would naturally flock to anyone who is willing to help them out of the miserable existence they currently have. However the conflict will probably not stop there. It will most likely spread to neighboring Bangladesh as well. The region will then become a magnet for those who want Sharia’ law. It will only be at that point will the international community get involved. Not before. And not because of suffering people. It will be because they will fear that their interests in the region are threatened. How many times have we seen this scenario? However, those fighters who take up arms and resist, including their foreign helpers, will be labeled as terrorists. All the while the years of oppression, killing, and torture of the Rohingya people will no longer make the news headlines (not that it does now but even less then).
I believe that groups like ISIS saved Bashar Assad’s regime from collapse by waging their war against the Mujahideen in Syria. Whether they do it knowingly or unknowingly is something that will be debated for many years to come. However as everyone can see, even the combined might of the Syrian Army, Russian munitions and UN veto power, Iranian troops, and Hizbollah fighters have not been able to stop a legitimate struggle by the Syrian people and their foreign helpers.