(part of The Darkness Visible series)
It has always made me uncomfortable comparing any group of modern murderers to the fascist Nazis of the 30's and 40's. Having ancestors who fled from the spread of Nazism into Yugoslavia I have a deep grudge towards those who encouraged genocide in Croatia. And all be it that my family that died at the hands of fascist most likely did so at the hands of the Ustase I still found it hard to compare the RNDP to the German Gestapo. Yet over the past few months the comparison continued to nag at my conscience.
In the 1930's the Gestapo took off as a branch of the already established Nazi SS (Schutzstaffel). It's goals were clear from the very beginning. The Gestapo was meant to enforce the Nazi theology by enforcing its social code amongst the German people. This meant that the Gestapo had to act like sheepdogs by separating the "pure" German population from the "undesirables". It's main target was of course the Jewish population within Germany.
The Rakhine Nationalities Development Party began officially on May 6th, 2010 as an extremist group with very clear ethnocentric goals. From the start the RNDP was meant to force the racial ideology of racially driven politicians who were forced out of the majority part the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) due to their extremist views. This meant that upon founding the RNDP had to begin acting like pit bulls in their relentless attacks upon any political opponents and all portions of the population they deemed to be "foreign" to the "pure" Rakhine nationalities. Their main target has been shown to be the Rohingya minority within the Arakan region.
At first glance one could say that the RNDP was just another political party in Burma looking to advance their ethnic group's political ambitions. After all, there are currently nearly a half dozen parties dedicated to a given ethnic group or another within the Amyotha Hluttaw (House of Nationalities) and just as many in the Pyithu Hluttaw (House of Representatives). Yet it is hard to find a party within either of these houses of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Assembly of Union) that is so violently dedicated to the destruction of an entire ethnicity. And that is where the RNDP stands out amongst the many corrupt parties that make up Burma's government.
In the Rakhine state the RNDP is the controlling party. It is in this area of Burma that the government is defined by the RNDP. It is here that the modern day Gestapo has the ability to begin enforcing their radical ideology upon the citizens of the Rakhine.
Much like the original Gestapo, the RNDP does not need to be present in every village to achieve its goal of the complete destruction of the Rohingya people. With only 11 township offices the RNDP has been able to spread its propaganda across the Rakhine region by infiltrating the religion of its people. By making their goal of an ethnically pure Rakhine state and a religiously run state appealing to the monks of the Arakan region the RNDP was able to feed the flames of hate over the summer of 2012. In Nazi Germany the Gestapo achieved the same success by lifting community leaders in areas it controlled up through the ranks of the Nazi party. This method allowed the Gestapo to gain control of the religion, politics, and police of an occupied area with as little presence as possible.
Once the religion, the backbone of Burmese society, was under control of the RNDP the fascist only had to feed the flames of hatred they had already sparked. Turning a little known murder in the Rakhine state into a propaganda campaign, the RNDP had the fuel they needed to turn the Arakan into an inferno. Now the RNDP could simply point the Rakhine people at their target and watch as the mobs acted as stormtroopers.
When the killings began during the summer of 2012 the RNDP highlighted Rohingya neighborhoods that were meant to be torched to the ground and those meant to be left standing. In what now appears to be a systematic assault, the RNDP made certain to leave select villages standing so as to act as per-assembled concentration camps. Much like the Gestapo the RNDP is now active in the said camps and the villages acting as concentration camps.
In October of 2012 the RNDP attempted to whip the Rakhine people into yet another outburst of ethnic violence. This attempt resulted in the deaths of a known 89 people. More importantly it led to the complete blockade of all aid that had started to flow towards the Arakan state since the summer riots. The RNDP had completed its aim of forming modern concentration camps by blocking the Rohingya from leaving and keeping the aid from arriving.
Today the RNDP has begun performing the role the Gestapo played during the final years of the Nazi rule in Europe. Today the RNDP is attempting to perform ethnic cleansing throughout the Rakhine state. Through using the blockades and deportations the RNDP fulfills their aims of killing off and destroying the Burmese Rohingya population.
During the fall of the Nazis the Gestapo joined in the effort to carryout the "final solution". By increasing the number of deportations and executions the SS and Gestapo were able to drastically decrease the populations of "undesirables" in Western Europe in the last few years of the war alone. The methods of dehumanization that they had formed early in the war only further degraded as the war continued to drag on. The Gestapo was not immune to the increase of barbarism as it too relaxed code of conduct and increased its activities throughout occupied Europe.
In Burma the RNDP has begun to notice moves by other parties as threatening to their genocidal efforts. For this reason it appears that the RNDP has decided to increase its efforts to deport Rohingya whom they consider to be taking longer to die of starvation than time will allow. Young men and children are being led out to waiting boats where they are often forced out to sea. This tactic appears to be believed will work since the outside world now views the "waves of boat people" fleeing Burma as normal. On the other hand the RNDP bribes Rohingya families and girls to leave their villages, an act that is illegal for all Rohingya throughout Burma, so that they can be sent off into human trafficking rings. Other Rohingya who see the RNDP as helping them flee Burma are often turned over to Burmese police and military so as to be detained seemingly indefinitely. All of these methods are obviously intended to either drastically decrease the Rohingya population or more directly lead to the completion of the RNDP's genocidal goal of a complete Rohingya extermination.
For me personally the realization that there is in fact a group of radical fascist active today was not hard at all. The realization that they were using the same tactics that led to the deaths of my ancestors was the hard part. Not because I think there is anything unique about how genocide plays out over time but rather because it was hard to imagine this happening in my time. It is never easy to believe that such an evil endeavor as this one is taking place. Often when faced with such atrocities it is easier to look away. And with the distance between us it is often the path most Americans take.
Once again Alder's Ledge would like to take the opportunity to offer you the reader to change that, to help end this. If you have been reading this blog very long at all you know by now what a screamer is (if not follow the links below). We here at Alder's Ledge would like to ask you to scream on behalf of all the Rohingya people. We ask that you never remain silent. That you lift your voice and join with us as we demand our government and world leaders end this senseless slaughter.
Do your part. Wake up, Stand up, and Scream.