Stopping genocide in Myanmar

Habib Siddiqui | Published: 00:00, Dec 11,2019


In this file photo taken on September 7, 2017, a house burns in Gawdu Tharya village near Maungdaw in Rakhine state in northern Myanmar. — Agence France-Presse/STR

I HAVE repeatedly said that genocide never happens suddenly. It is planned over a long period of time by perpetrators that require support top-down so that it becomes a national project to eliminate the targeted group. Such sinister initiative requires the support from evil intellectuals (the likes of Julius Streicher of the Nazi campaign in Germany) and financiers who must propagate with their intellects and finances to create enthusiasm within the larger executing community.

As far as the Rohingya genocide is concerned, the role of Julius Streicher, an evil genius, has long been performed by such guys like Aye Chan, who teaches in Japan, Aye Kyaw, who died a few years ago and taught at New York University as a naturalised US citizen, and Khin Maung Soe (Saw),  who lives in Germany. As for financial side of the equation, there are plenty from little evil ones to big ones, mostly living outside Myanmar who contribute to their evil cause of the elimination of the targeted group. Aye Ne Win, the grandson of General Ne Win, who had ruled the Buddhist country almost unchallenged for nearly a quarter century, is widely known to be one of the key financiers of the Buddhist fascist group known as the Ma Ba Tha, led by monk Wirathu, that calls for the genocide of the Rohingya.

Recently, two of my human rights comrades (London-based) Maung Zarni and (Germany-based) Nay San Lwin were targeted by Aye Ne Win. In a video circulated on social media, Aye Ne Win, one of Myanmar’s most well-known entrepreneurs, urged Myanmar’s intelligence service to launch an Israel-style operation to abduct the two activists. He can be seen as saying: ‘Concerning Maung Zarni and Nay San Lwin, it is high time for Myanmar military intelligence services to launch an Israeli-style kidnap operation that captured Eichmann in South America…. These creatures should not dare to come to our country. They scream foul from abroad but they need to be tried here (in Myanmar).’

Dr Zarni told Anadolu Agency: ‘We are taking this very seriously as it came from one of the richest and most racist men in Myanmar — Aye Ne Win.’ (Ne Win has strong ties with the country’s government, military and intelligence services.) Zarni stated that they have been targeted because he was ‘the whistleblower of Rohingya genocide’ and, along with Lwin, helped the UN fact-finding mission on the Rohingya genocide. ‘The (Myanmar) military-intelligence-run proxy news organisations have been running extremely vitriolic attacks on us — with our pictures as “enemies of the state”,’ he underlined.

‘We are taking these latest developments very seriously… Both of us are informing our respective government agencies, including local police’, Zarni added.

‘The specific threats against Maung Zarni and Nay San Lwin are dangerous not just to the personal security of these men and their families’, Katherine Southwick, an international legal expert and visiting scholar at George Mason University’s school for conflict analysis and resolution, told Al Jazeera.

‘These threats also create a climate of fear and intimidation against any individual or non-governmental group that might call for, support, or cooperate with justice efforts like the ICJ case’, she added.

Southwick said attempts to intimidate the activists could undermine the search for ‘accountability and justice that is so clearly needed in Myanmar.’

Lwin and Zarni are expected to attend the International Court of Justice hearing in December 10Ü12 in the Hague. The lawsuit was lodged by the Gambia, a West African nation, after garnering support from the OIC.

It should be noted that nearly a million Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces had launched a genocidal crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, pushing the number of world’s most persecuted people (ie, the Rohingya) in Bangladesh to above 1.2 million.

Since August 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency.

More than 34,000 Rohingyas were also thrown into fires while more than 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report titled ‘Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience.’

Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and the police and more than 115,000 Rohingya houses were burnt down and 113,000 others vandaliwed, it added.

Ne Win’s fervent appeal to the intelligence unit of the murderous and rapist armed forces of Myanmar to muzzle the voices of those who are brave enough to point out its crimes of genocide against the most persecuted Rohingya is simply alarming. Because, it says loud and clear that the promoters and executers of the Rohingya genocidal programm, let alone the ongoing suffering and persecution of the surviving Rohingya, are not satisfied with the outcome of their ‘final solution’ to eliminate them entirely. Now they want to target the exiled human rights activists living outside the ‘den of Buddhist intolerance’ called Myanmar.

This threat to the lives of human rights activists must be taken very seriously by the international community, especially the International Court of Justice.

What is needed to end such genocidal crimes is, however, simple and prudent: the arrest of such criminals who stoke genocidal violence, their prosecution and punishment for their evil roles that have resulted in the suffering of so many. And this task should be an easy one to apprehend evil geniuses like Aye Chan — author of the hate literature ‘Influx Viruses: the illegal Muslims in Arakan’, depicting the Rohingyas as legitimate targets for elimination and many other anti-Rohingya vitriolic propaganda — and Khin Maung Saw (Soe) and financiers like Aye Ne Win (UK-educated), who mostly live outside Myanmar.

Yet, the international community and the hosting countries have repeatedly failed in such tasks letting these criminals to sow violence in their native land while they live untouched and unscathed in places like Japan and Germany and elsewhere. Why is this deafening silence? Why is this criminal inaction from the countries that are supposed to be role models for protecting human rights?


Dr Habib Siddiqui is a peace and  rights activist.

Want stories like this in your inbox?

Sign up to exclusive daily email