The collective global silence over the unending misery of Rohingya Muslims is not only deafening but also alarming. A recent assessment of the situation by a UN envoy tells us that Myanmar has systematically continued their campaign of terror and forced starvation against the Rohingya Muslims. Members of the minority community are being forcibly starved in a bid to quietly squeeze them out of the country.
According to Amnesty International, many of those Rohingya Muslims now fleeing Myanmar are doing so out of hunger. This is not entirely unexpected. For many years now, Myanmar has persecuted the Rohingya Muslims, denying them basic rights to citizenship , marry, to worship and to an education. Starvation appears to be the brand new tool in this vicious operation against the Rohingya community. Rejected by the country they call home and unwanted by neighbouring nations, the minority Muslim community is virtually stateless.
Horrified and haunted by the atrocities in Myanmar, tens of thousands of these stateless Muslims have fled to Bangladesh with the hope of finding shelter, dignity and safety. Unfortunately, Since a dramatic Rohingya exodus from Myanmar in 2015, the political party of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi has taken power. But little has changed for the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar. Suu Kyi’s inability to change the situation has led to the Burmese leader democracy icon’s fall from grace. The famed and much fawned-over former frontrunner against the military junta is now an accomplice in the commission of this crime and cannot be immune to criticism. She has failed to live up to her promises. But so has the global community. For too long, the plight of this persecuted, poverty-stricken and disenfranchised minority group has been brushed under the proverbial carpet. Their persecution continues unopposed, whether at gunpoint or through starvation. And years from now when history is documented, our collective inaction and silence will count as an act of complicity.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2018.