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“We neither belong to Bangladesh nor to Myanmar. We don’t have any identity in neither country.” – Zohra Begum (BBC) 25 August 2017, a Rohingya terrorist group ARSA attacked more than 30 police posts, killing soldiers and the police in the process. Then continued an incident after, that forced the Rohingya to flee it’s home, as their villages were burned down. The Rohingya Crisis, where the whole incident link to each other, leaving it’s thread that connects to the migration of the Rohingyas. The Rohingya that are accused of attacking the Rakhina – ARSA – and the denial of the government and soldiers of killing down the Rohingya. Everything started from a revolt by a Rohingya terrorist group that wished for the rights for the Rohingya, leading to a mass migration for the Rohingya – with the loss of many people. A devastating attack that occurred, hurting and taking away lives of people, leaving the many in a suffering state, I would like to go over the Rohingya Crisis and look through the different perspectives about this case. The stakeholders involved that I would be mentioning about is Pope Francis and the government that involves in any of this attack.
I will be mainly talking about the influences that happened due to the faith people have and the political ideology the government carries. “She saw. The little girl saw everything. She tried to pick up her brother as he was burning. She couldn’t.” – Mumtaz (Rebecca Wright) Pope Francis, the current 266th pope of the Catholic Church showed it’s courage to stand up for the Rohingya. Although these 2 groups have different beliefs – religion – the pope had lended a hand and gave hope to the people that there would be someone out there to help them, giving god’s blessing – that is an important action taken with the pope. Pope Francis has earlier visited Burma, and was pressured by the Catholic Church not to say any word of the Rohingya as it may spark a fire to the Myanmar people as it is said to be a ’forbidden word’, while the UN Human Rights organisation says the opposite. The Peace of Friday in Dhaka, Pope Francis has mentioned the name ’Rohingya’ for the first time, addressing Myanmar’s persecuted Muslim minority. “The presence of God today is also called Rohingya”, Pope Francis at the Bangladesh Capital of Dhaka. (Berlinger, etal) Although he never mentioned specifically about the situation Rohingya was in, the ’what said to be the forbidden word’ was said out loud in front of many people and indeed, it has changed something. That change could involve different religious groups that are involved with the Rohingya, but could precisely lead a bad impression to some of the Buddhists and maybe a new perspective for the Catholics. Pope has took his action after his meeting with 16 Rohingya refugees. (Tom Embury-Dennis, etal) He listened to the sufferings of what they went through, such as rape, killing and loss of family. Even when put under the pressure of the church, Pope Francis had mentioned one word, a word enough to catch attention of the people, and had done what he thought was right. And it was something worth it, as the Rohingya believes that there would be help coming from the Pope and the world, and is still waiting. “In the name of all of those who have persecuted you, hurt you, I ask forgiveness. I appeal to your large hearts to give us the forgiveness that we are asking” – Pope Francis to the Rohingya refugees. (Berlinger, etal)
The government in Myanmar refuses to recognise the Rohingya as citizens. This is because Rohingya descended from farmers from what is now called ’Bangladesh’ But due to a military coup in 1962, the Rohingya lost its status and were given foreign identity cards. (Dewan, etal) ’Bangladesh also doesn’t consider the Rohingya to be Bangladeshi.’ (Dewan) The Rohingya are being set aside as they do not know who they are, and what they are supposed to be. Though there seems to have been a peace agreement signed between from both Rakhine Buddhists and the Rohingya Muslims but still the attack happened. Soldiers joined by 50 Rakhine Buddhists and non-Rohingya minorities from outside the village started their mass killing against the Rohingya. The government has denied the attack, and claimed that they were targeting terrorists, ARSA, a Rohingya group that claimed responsibility for the August attack that killed the Rakhine security forces and military posts causing a big casualty. This targeting towards the ARSA led to the burning down of houses. Majority of Rohingya killed was apparently from the ARSA. Similar statement was made by the winner of the nobel peace prize, Aung San Suu Kyi, saying “Moreover, a belief was expressed that those who fled did so due to an affiliation with terrorist groups, and did so to evade law enforcement” (The Guardian News) and avoided any discussion about the Rohingya, but mentioning about the safety of the Rakhine. She also seemed to blame the terrorists for a ’huge iceberg of misinformation’. (Angela Dewan)
The government is looking out and being cautious about the Rohingya – that may cause some kind of action again – and there is not yet anything revealed at this point about who is speaking of the truth. The UN has accused the government of ’textbook example of ethnic cleansing’. (Dewan, etal) “Action will be taken against all people, regardless of their religion, race and political position, who go against the law of the land and violate human rights.” – Aung San Suu Kyi (Slodkowski, etal) Regarding this issue, to be honest I am not sure how I exactly feel with this. I have thought that the way the government is treating the Rohingya isn’t acceptable after looking through what the Rohingya has experienced, but I was then concerned with the terrorist group ARSA, that has done similar things before, attacking the Rakhine as how the soldiers did to the Rohingya. At this point I became unsure to who was doing the right thing and not. There is a part of me saying that it is right for the government to be cautious about the terrorist group, but another part saying that there could have been another way to resolve this problem other than violence. No people should be treated like they don’t exist. Everyone has an identity, and for that identity to be stolen away from you just makes you lose your pride in who you are, and losing all rights of what you can do. The whole situation itself is really complicated for me, and I understand that there are reasons to why the Rohingya can’t get citizenship – military coup – and is hard for the citizens and the government to accept the whole identity called ’Rohingya’ that doesn’t exists in neither places. As I researched more about this, the more I became confused about the whole issue. There are still some unknown truth hidden, since I am not even sure if the whole attack was planned for the sole purpose of killing the terrorists and if any of the Rohingya fled from the village actually has a connection with the ARSA.
I feel like I’m wondering between ethical and ideological views. Furthermore, about this case, it would be quite hard for me to take part and do something. I am still unsure about which side I think is more ’better’ and even if I was able to understand how I feel about this case, it would be hard for me to even do something. This is not something a student can fix. It may work to spread awareness to others about the existence of the Rohingya and what’s driving them to migrate, but that is as far as I can go. Already, the human rights group UN is involved and the government is too. The scale of this incident is too big for me to follow. I wish the best of the Rohingya – to overcome their situation – and the government to look over the terrorist group. “The world is waiting and the Rohingya Muslims are waiting” – Malala Yousafzai (Angel Dewan)
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