By Rishabh Singh
Between 1930-1945, a German man took initiative to, in an effort to “cleanse” his country, kill off several millions of Jews. Families were torn apart, displaced, simply trying to flee the wrath of one man and his government. They lived in poverty-like conditions: without food, without homes, without shelter. When it all finally ended, what had started as something similar to the Rohingya situation in Myanmar had taken the lives of up to 6 million innocent Jews. It scares me just how close to that genocidal situation we might be in again.
While you have more than enough food to feed your greedy mouths, somewhere amongst the people of Rohingya there are children, smaller and less fortunate than you. While you have technology to read this article, there is a baby crying for a better life. While you have a roof to cover your head, there are 100,000 persecuted Rohingyas who do not even have clothes to cover their body.
Let me get to the point. The Rohingyas are the most persecuted people in the world, ranging from an astounding 500,000 to a million people. The Rohingyas have lived in Burma, or more accurately, used to live in Burma. Aung San Suu Kyi, winner of the Nobel Peace prize, has been a significant role model in today’s society due to her resilience and fight for human rights and freedom. Even though she has been a great idol to the global community, there is still no freedom being granted to the Rohingyas, because of their past.
Sexual violence against Rohingya women, villages and homes being burned to the ground, violence and chaos around every corner; these have for a long time been the sole components of a Rohingya life. According to Amnesty International, the Rohingya face violence, discrimination, and religious intolerance on a daily basis. What they do to escape this: flee. At least 600,000 people have fled, pushing the total number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh to approximately 900,000 people. Unprecedented.
Innocent lives have been lost, whilst the Myanmar government claims at least 400 “terrorists” have been killed. Maybe put a question
The government isn’t the helping hand in this situation. Quite the contrary actually. Myanmar’s government increased restrictions on humanitarian agencies to displaced communities, only making life harder for the Rohingyas. They continue to refuse the Rohingya citizenship, almost as if tearing away their nationalities. Making them stateless.
1948: the citizenship law was already exclusionary toward the Rohingya
1968: new law created stripping the Rohingya of any passage to full citizenship.
1990s: Rohingya, with the use of identification cards, able to register as temporary residents.
Imagine being chased out of your home. Imagine being stripped of your nationality and your rights. Imagine watching your children go homeless as you lose your home. Now imagine all that, but add violence to the mixture. Hard, isn’t it? These things barely begin to describe what the Rohingya are going through.
Between 1930-1945, a German man took initiative to, in an effort to “cleanse” his country, kill of several millions of Jews. He succeeded. Millions died: women, children, families. The escalating violence toward the Rohingya have been similarly described as “ethnic cleansing”. When Hitler killed the Jews, almost all of the world acted to stop his reign.
So why don’t I see countries coming together to end the violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar? Is the situation not similar enough (yet)? Will millions more have to die for you to realize that the situation might not be that different from the Holocaust after all?
Is that what it will take for YOU to do something about it?