•If late Northern premier is opportune to wake up and see where Nigeria is today, he’ll quickly die again’ Alhaji Hassan Danbaba, is the Magajin Gari Sokoto and grandson of late Ahmadu Bello, the Northern Premier and Sardauna Sokoto. In this interview with TUNDE OMOLEHIN in Sokoto, he spoke on the life, legacies and death…
The horror of the terror unleashed on ethnic Rohingya Muslim population by elements of radical Buddhists acting under the protection of the government of Myanmar, has sent shock waves across the globe. Tales of woes that are supported by graphic images of terror and horror coming out of the killing fields of Myanmar reveals an all new low in racial harmony and world peace. Officially known as the union of Myanmar, this south east country of about 50 million people has become the latest bad news in systematic genocide and ethnic cleansing.
Ethnic Rohingya Muslims are an Indo-Aryan people, whose ancestors, like other groups freely moved in and around the Indian sub-continent and founded settlements in the north western Rakhine state of Myanmar. However the modern state of Myanmar does not recognise them as part of the union as they are officially considered as a migrant group from the neighbouring country of Bangladesh. Consequently, the countries of Myanmar and interestingly, Bangladesh do not recognize ethnic Rohingya Muslims as citizens thereby effectively making them a stateless people. In Myanmar, they are an unwanted and hated illegal migrant group and in Bangladesh, they are reluctantly accepted in limited numbers only as refugees. Stateless and helpless, the condition of ethnic Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar have deteriorated rapidly from marginalisation and discrimination to being hounded and hacked to death like animals by elements of radical Buddhist nationalists acting under the cover and protection of the state of Myanmar. Unfortunately, the internationally recognised leader of the government of Myanmar under whose watch this atrocities are taking place is no less a figure than Nobel Peace Laureate and globally acclaimed democracy and human rights activist, Aung San Su Kyi.
Officially designated as counsellor of state, Aung Saan Su Kyi is the legitimate and de-facto leader of Myanmar. For someone who has been a beneficiary of international advocacy and support for freedom and political liberty in Myanmar, her silence in the face of the entrenched marginalisation, discrimination and persecution of ethnic Rohingya Muslims is disturbing to many around the world. This worrisome situation is now made worse by the fact that when she finally spoke out, it was in tacit approval of the blood orgy, which was interpreted by her as an anti-terrorism operation. While down playing the level of carnage taking place in the north western Rakhine state, she described the graphic images of horror of the human tragedy in her country as fake news. She said, simply the tip of a huge iceberg of misinformation calculated to create a lot of problems between different communities and with the aim of promoting the interests of the terrorists’’. Her continuous living in denial of the truth of the plight of ethnic Rohingya Muslim minority group under her leadership is a clear indication that she is not only complicit but tacitly supports the on-going bloodletting and displacement of thousands of men, women and children.
The severity and scale of the genocide taking place in Myanmar can only be compared with the Holocaust. For not only superintending over such horrific situation of man’s inhumanity to man, but actually justifying same, Aung San Su Kyi does not deserve to continue carrying with her the honour of the revered Nobel Peace Prize. She has betrayed a hitherto concealed emotional sentiment of hate and intolerance towards humanity in this case, like every other radical Buddhist nationalist and has lost the moral altitude that a Nobel peace laureate should possess in limitless abundance. The situation in Myanmar today runs contrary to the will of the Alfred Nobel, the man who instituted the Nobel peace prize, which is supposed to reward individuals who contribute to world peace and racial harmony. For her contribution to the human tragedy that is the plight of ethnic Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, history will most certainly remember her as the butcher of Yangon because her current less than noble stand will obscure her achievement as a Nobel Prize winner.
The atrocity taking place in Myanmar cannot be justified under any circumstance. The stage for the current mass slaughter was set a long time ago in Myanmar. Beginning with the refusal to list the ethnic Rohingya as one the distinct groups that makes up the diverse population and the enactment of the citizenship law of 1982 that effectively stripped them of citizenship rights coupled with a systematic regime of marginalisation and discrimination, the government of Myanmar had long prepared the stage for the current human tragedy taking place in its north western corner. The mass mobilisation of negative opinion and incitement to violence of the majority Burmese ethnic group against ethnic Rohingya Muslim community was brought about by a sustained hate preaching in well-crafted written and oral hate speeches against the targets. Therefore, the current mass killings cannot and should not be presented by the government of Myanmar as an anti-terror operation.
It is evidently clear that men, women and children of ethnic Rohingya Muslim community of Myanmar are being slaughtered in thousands for no other reason than their accident of place of birth, ethnicity and religious faith; the same reasons responsible for their historic marginalization and discrimination. The oppressive treatment of the ethnic Rohingya Muslim community by the government of Myanmar, ably supported by the prevalent sentiment of hate and resentment among the majority Buddhist Burmese have long reduced the minority Rohingya to an endangered species of mankind. So far, there is no shred of evidence of armed resistance on the part of the ethnic Rohingya Muslim community of Myanmar, currently under attack. This clear shows that ethnic Rohingya Muslims are unarmed, defenceless and undefended, thereby exposing Aung San Su Kyi’s excuse of fighting terror in the north western Rakhine state as dubious cover for genocide and ethnic cleansing, which is very similar to the Nazi style ‘’final solution’’ of the Jewish question.
The world must rise up together and in one voice condemn the atrocities taking place in Myanmar. The world must halt the carnage and mass killings of innocent people by proclaiming in one firm voice ‘’enough’’ and take deliberate steps with the urgency required to forestall similar occurrences everywhere and anywhere in the world by proclaiming ‘’never again’’. The perpetrators of this grievous crime against humanity must not escape justice. They should be tried and prosecuted for war crimes and genocide, to serve as a deterrent for intending future offenders.
One lesson mankind must learn from this unfortunate incidence is to eschew hate for people of different ethnicity, race, faith and region. Hate destroys. Mankind should rise up together and embrace while hate must be eschewed if not, all shall similarly fall victim of the consequences of hate, which are death and destruction. Mankind must work towards ending oppression even when we are not the immediate victims. Our voices must be heard in condemnation hate, discrimination, and persecution destruction of lives of people irrespective of ethnic, racial, and religious differences. We must not wait to condemn evil only when we are victims or members of our ethnic group, race of religious faith are victims. We must be proactive towards curtailing the excesses of radical elements within our respective divides in order to ensure elements of reason and moderation prevail.