GeneralPolitics

BREAKING: Rohingya Mass Graves Discovered in Burma – History will Never Forgive us for the Rohingya Genocide

Associated Press (AP) broke news earlier this morning, confirming the existence of 5 previously unreported mass graves in Burma. For sometime western media had been unable to report emphatically on an organised military extermination of Rohingya people in the Burmese village of Gu Dar Pyin. The government vehemently denied that this attack on Rohingya civilians ever took place. That is until AP broke the news that evidence of the mass burial of victims of this atrocity as well as four others have been found.

The graves, confirmed by AP through eyewitness testimonies of two dozen Rohingya survivors in Bangladesh and their time-stamped videos are bearing testimony against the Burmese government’s insistence that it is not targeting civilians but also strengthening growing global worries that the situation in Burma is more than mere ethnic violence but government-sanctioned genocide.
“This is one of the worst emergencies I’ve been involved in. On my first day four people died, and that’s really shocking to me, even though I’m a hardened old doctor” says Dr Ian Cross of Médicins Sans Frontièrs (Doctors without borders or MSF).

If you’ve bought The Economist or The Week lately you might have seen the promotional material from the lauded development charity where this quote was taken:

Promotional Material for Médicins Sans Frontiers (Credit: Muhammad Oleolo).

Tonally, this message has been diluted several degrees so as to be non-polarising. MSF, UNICEF, the World Food Program and Others, while necessarily having to make apolitical statements to do the work they are doing for the Rohingya, are not accurately signposting the nature of the disaster.

To speak of this issue as a crisis of humanitarian concern, while true, is not the actual message. An ethnic group is being specifically targeted through violence (something that MSF has maintained is the cause of the crisis) which has fuelled a wave of refugees; malnourished and stateless.

Rohingya woman with children in refugee camp in 2017 (Credit: Seyyed Mahmoud Hosseini, Tasnim News Agency).

The discovery of these mass graves is not only a red flag but a call to action. It is a clear indication of attempts to exterminate a population. It gives lie to the myth that Burma is simply hunting terrorists.

Twitter user claiming that Rohingya discrimination is justified in order to curb extremism (evidence of extremism and wahhabi links not provided).

It may seem unnecessary to be caught in semantics while people are being slaughtered but the slaughter is made possible by an international community still perceiving this issue the same way as they would treat a mudslide or a drought. This is targeted ethnic cleansing the likes of which we have yet to see this decade; a spade ought to be called a spade in such situations.

Genocides of the past were possible through the passivity of the international community. Here are some things you can do right now to mitigate the damage being done:

Donate to Doctors Without Borders http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/rohingya-refugee-crisis

Donate to the World Food Program http://m.wfp.org/news/news-release/wfp-concerned-about-high-malnutrition-rates-among-rohingya-refugees-cox’s-bazar

Urge Parliament to vote in imposing financial sanctions on Burma https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/200224

Urge Parliament to suspend UK training of the Burmese Military https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/200089

This list is not exhaustive and one can suspect that this catastrophic event is going to have to draw on the power of social media more than any in recent memory.

Our failure as an international community, especially those of us tasked with reporting the truth, to challenge Burma for these crimes against humanity will not be looked at favourably by history.

Muhammad Oleolo
Muhammad is a Student of Law at the University of Manchester and is pursuing practice in prosecuting white-collar crime. He is an English Tutor and likes to write about the cultural impact of art, politics, and sport. He avidly follows Rugby, Basketball, and football - to his continued frustration, he has been a devoted supporter of the Arsenal Football Team. Recently he has begun exploring how we might bridge the ideological gap between the West and Islam and Muslims.

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