More From Alder's Ledge

January 13, 2013

The Final Solution In The Modern Era

How Myanmar Is Rewriting History
(part of The Darkness Visible series)

(Victims of Ethnic Cleansing)

For all of written history the Rohingya people have lived in the area now belonging to the Burmese government known as the Arakan state. Their ancestors lived here for centuries. Their fathers farmed these lands and fished the waters along the coast. And though Rohingya live on the other side of the Bangladeshi - Myanmar border nearly a million Rohingya have called Burma home for generations.

Throughout history however the history of the Rohingya has been somewhat rewritten to better suit the will of their conquerors. The modern Burmese dictatorship is no exception to this rule of historic precedent. And like most others who came before them, the Burmese seem far to willing to rewrite the books so as to wipe the Rohingya out of existence. 

The Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP) has long exploited the "facts" they claim are the real history of the Arakan state. In their version of history the Rakhine people (a developed term that now refers to all Buddhist people in Arakan regardless of ethnicity) had a rich and vibrant culture dating back to prehistory. At times the RNDP links such claims to actual historical kingdoms such as the Kingdom of Mrauk U, an odd adjustment of history since the Buddhist kings of this kingdom received Islamic titles. Yet even in doing this the RNDP usually alters the dates by only recognizing the kingdoms beginning as of 1531... when the kingdom split with Bengali Islamist.

Messing with history books is of less concern to those now living in concentration camps however. The most effective method of implementing and organizing the current genocide of the Rohingya by the RNDP was enacted in 1982 when the RNDP managed to get a law passed that stripped all Rohingya of citizenship. This was the first step in starting the ethnic cleansing of the Arakan. This was the push that the Buddhist needed to start the genocide. 

In 1935 the fascist were high on power as their Nazi ideology became the political theory of the German state. They had taken full control of Germany in 1933 and had pushed their leader onto the population of Germany. Hitler's antisemitic views were now to become the daily bread of an oppressed nation. His views were to be carried out across and occupied continent. But to start the ball rolling Hitler needed to alter the law of the land. Hitler needed the Nuremberg Laws. 

Among the litany of new demands and restrictions upon the Jews was the most striking of all, the Jewish people were forever to be banned their citizenship to the new German state. With this Hitler had effectively made the Jewish people, German people until that day, stateless. This widened the gap between the "Aryan" people of Germany and the Jewish people. It also opened up the Jewish people to a sudden and harsh reality of servitude to a state that now professed it's hatred of them. 

With the Rohingya stateless the RNDP was quick to exploit the new list of demands placed upon the Rohingya of the Arakan. The Junta had given the racially bias RNDP the opportunity to force the Rohingya into slave labor at beckon call. The Junta also turned a blind eye to the open rape of Rohingya women and children by the RNDP and the Myanmar military. Killing of a Rohingya person was suddenly possible with little to no consequences. And every since 1982 the RNDP and Buddhists extremist have taken full advantage of this political classification of the Rohingya within Burma. 

When democracy was supposedly on the horizon the RNDP decided to speed up its goal of creating an ethnically and religiously pure Arakan state. Exploiting the rape of one woman the extremist set out to cleanse the land of an entire ethnic group. Targeting Rohingya villages, the RNDP whipped up a virtual army of Rakhine mobs. Looting and torching of Rohingya homes became the summer carnival as the Arakan burned before the eyes of the onlooking outside world. 

(Night of Broken Glass)

On November 9th, 1938 the fascist in Germany and Austria grew tired of waiting for the hostilities to begin. That night the long knives took to the streets and the glass began to break. Kristallnacht had begun. In one night the once civilized people of "Greater Germany" killed nearly 100 Germanic Jews. A further 30,000 were arrested as the pogrom burned seemingly out of control. These 30,000 would be sent to concentration camps that had proved affective just months before in the murders of mentally disabled Germans (Buchenwald being one of the new death camps).

(Rohingya Home Burning Summer of 2012)

In what appeared to be the worse outbreak of ethnic violence in the Arakan in generations the RNDP hid the start of their "Final Solution". When the villages began to burn the world would not nor could not guess that the RNDP and other Buddhist extremists had answered their "Rohingya question". Yet looking back at it now we can see that the RNDP and their cohorts have in fact created the framework in which to work to create and finish their genocide of the Rohingya people. Looking back at it we can now clearly see that this is premeditated murder... this is ethnic cleansing at its finest... this is genocide. 

With the strategic destruction of given Rohingya villages the Rakhine forces were able to isolate larger villages in more remote parts of the Arakan. This allowed the military to create ghettos out of the still standing villages and in turn create ready built concentration camps. The hard work of finding land upon which to put their "refugee" prisoners was already done by the time the smoke had cleared. The next stage was already in motion by the time the world was ready to admit that the Rohingya were at the very least "in trouble" and facing "persecution". 

RNDP sponsored blockades raised up out of nowhere in a police state that has never left its dictatorship past. Food, medicine, and other humanitarian aid was now stopped before it could even start to reach the victims of the summer violence. The starvation of the Rohingya people started the moment the first villages were torched. This war of attrition had been launched the moment the RNDP began its propaganda campaign that summer.

We saw a similar event in 1994 in Rwanda when the Hutu militias staged spontaneous pogroms across Rwanda. Almost overnight the Hutus were able to set up roadblocks where they could butcher the Tutsi who dared to try to flee. It was at this point in the Rwandan Genocide that the UN could have intervened with either military force or the arming of Tutsi militias capable of breaking the blockades.

Similar roadblocks were raised in the Arakan by the Burmese military along with help from the RNDP and the Rakhine police forces. These roadblocks were upgraded to military checkpoints as barbwire was raised around the Rohingya refugee camps and outside the still standing Rohingya villages. The transition seemed almost effortless... too effortless... on the part of Myanmar's government.

(How Many More Need To Die?)

Today the Rohingya continue to face the final stages of ethnic cleansing on the long road to the RNDP's "final solution". Mass starvation is being used to kill off the Rohingya as the extremist wait for nature to claim the remaining Rohingya. In addition the Rakhine Buddhists are using human trafficking as a means to deport Rohingya to neighboring countries while making a profit of their "human cargo". This is further complimented by the tactics used in prior pogroms such as forced labor and arbitrary arrests of Rohingya men and boys. 

In recent days eight "boat people" (Rohingya) were arrested in Pyay township. Among the Rohingya were two of the ages 22 and 23 years old, the rest were below the ages of 16. In Parin, Arakan the military of Myanmar faked an attack so that they could arrest all male Rohingya in the village including a 15 year old boy. In Sandawli the Burmese police arrested 12 Rohingya after claiming that they had burned down their own homes and should thus face 10 years in jail. 

In each of these incidents the Rohingya face the possibility of being killed in police custody or being sold to human traffickers. What they are guaranteed by the RNDP sympathetic police is that they will be tortured for their supposed crimes against the state. Those who live may never see their families again since they will most likely be deported. This is insured by the fact that immigrations officers are often brought in to force the Rohingya to sign documents claiming they are illegal immigrants while the police point a pistol at their head. 

Death by starvation, deportation, or a slow death in captivity are all the Rohingya have left as the Rakhine extremist carry out their "final solution". We on the outside can rest assured that if the genocide of the Rohingya is not stopped the RNDP and their cronies will rewrite the history of the Arakan. This is not a simple war of annihilation, this is campaign to erase the Rohingya from the history books. This is a sickening attempt by an extreme element of society to completely dominate and destroy another. And in the end we will all be witnesses to it in one way or another.

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