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19 November, 2017 11:10:04 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 19 November, 2017 11:20:10 AM


The great lie continues—Rohingya tragedy

Remarkably there is no real voice to express the view that these are human beings and have equal rights with other residents of Myanmar
Forrest Cookson
The great lie continues—Rohingya tragedy

The act of war committed by the Fake Generals in Myanmar against Bangladesh is continuing at a vicious pace. Rohingya continue to flee the sadistic killings and rapes led by the Fake Generals.  The Great Lie continues to be trumpeted by the Myanmar Government —-that all of this violence and killing is in response to terrorist activities.

The Myanmar Government asks “why did all of these people leave?  for the good life in Bangladesh?”  “The Bangladesh Government is keeping them from returning.” Trying to sell this Great Lie runs into difficulties since few believe this trash; nevertheless in the best traditions of the Nazi Goebbels keep repeating and sooner or later people will believe you.
What are the facts?
1.     The Rohingya Muslims have been oppressed for decades.  This abuse has gotten worse in recent years.  The essential point is that the Myanmar Government denied citizenship and hence the rights to education, travel, and freedom to live where you want.  This is pure racial, ethnic discrimination by the Burmese people.  They should be ashamed.  Remarkably there is no real voice to express the view that these are human beings and have equal rights with other residents of Burma.  Most of the Burmese intellectuals, Buddhist monks, and the middle class have adapted attitudes and beliefs that are anathema to human rights.  What is truly disheartening is that the Burmese have exposed their position to the world as an ignorant, cruel people whose leaders have thrown away basic principles and moral standards.  Their actions repudiate any claim to be Buddhists.  It is a nation of sociopaths.

2.     Certainly some young Rohingya organized to resist the violence and cruelty.  What would you expect?  But this organization ARSA was infiltrated by Myanmar intelligence and encouraged to make an uprising on August 25th against some police stations and an army post.  The attacking ARSA had no modern weapons and were easily killed by a waiting police force.  With this excuse the Myanmar Army launched a well prepared attack against the Rohingya.  This army led by its Fake Generals proved their skills by murdering the innocent, raping the women and driving the Rohingya population into Bangladesh.  These are “real men” unable to face those who shoot back and find manhood in throwing babies into the fires.  
3.     All the while the Myanmar leadership trumpets their Great Lie that the fierce Rohingya had let loose a great attack on the poor weak Myanmar Government.  What nonsense.  Everyday the Burmese propaganda campaign continues distorting the truth of what has happened.
4.     The Myanmar Government is not going to take back many of the currently 600,000 refugees that have fled since mid August.  The Myanmar Government will go through the motions of working on return but how many will go back? Perhaps 10% and even that will take a long time to achieve.
5.     The Bangladesh Government finds itself in a trap.  It must press for return of the Rohingya to Myanmar knowing that this will not happen.  The actions needed to deal with this crisis cannot be taken as such steps would signal an acceptance that the Rohingya will stay in Bangladesh.  The Myanmar Government will keep alive the prospect of repatriation by calling meetings, signing MOUs, and flaunting other means of delaying any effective action.
6.     Yet keeping the Rohingya refugees in camps without education, without work, and in crowded difficult conditions will lead to medical crises, riots, violence among those encamped and probably ultimately encourage conversion to Islamic terrorism.  Keeping half a million people locked up in camps will result in serious backlash that will harm the reputation of the Bangladesh Government.  
There are then three tasks to accomplish:  Provide for the immediate needs of the refugees,  work out a long term solution, and punish Myanmar for their aggression against Bangladesh.
The first is the most immediate and the Government has made considerable progress is working with the UN to collect funds from other Governments to support the provision of immediate needs.  But there are a lot of people who have arrived and many more will continue to arrive.  The costs of caring for these people must be shared by the international community.  There is some progress in raising funds but the amounts needed are large and the problem will continue for some years.  The Bangladesh Government will take the lead in presenting requirements.  
The second task is the most difficult but is easy to define what has to be done.  The Rohingya cannot go back to Myanmar without agreements as to their citizenship and rights.  The destruction of their villages and assets has to be compensated and their homes rebuilt.  Already land rights may have been seized by the Burmese.  The Burmese will probably demand foreign aid to help with the resettlement!
The correct disposition of the refugees is clear:  They should be resettled in countries in Western Europe and North America.  Many may go to Indonesia, Gulf State or Malaysia.  Over a five year period with diligent work it will be possible to move the Rohingya to other countries.  This cannot be achieved quickly but it can be done with careful planning and sustained effort.
The third task is to ensure that the Myanmar Government pays for its aggression against the Rohingya and for this act of war against Bangladesh.  The actions that may be taken are as follows:
•     Collect evidence of the actions of the Rohingya military in the killing, rape and torture of the refugees.  One should aim for 10,000 individuals properly recorded testimony with identification of the person who is the victim. This evidence is the basis for a case of genocide or crimes against humanity that will be brought before an appropriate court.  Sooner or later Bangladesh will be able to find a court that will take this case.
•     Bangladesh can regularly ask the Security Council to establish a court to hear the charges of Genocide or Crimes Against Humanity. One hopes the Chinese and he Russians will not use their veto power to block such a court.  Keep testing them.  Seek India’s support.
•     In searching for a court Bangladesh may also seek a European court ready to accept the case as was attempted successfully in Spain with Pinochet; or perhaps in the United States under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.  The later law allows the President of the United States to prevent individuals who are human rights violators from using US Financial Institutions, gives the President the right to seize the financial assets of the proscribed individuals, and bans them from travel to the United States.  The Bangladesh Government can present evidence against the officers of the Myanmar armed forces and the Buddhist monks of violations of human rights and seek to have them listed under the Global Magnitsky Act.
•     Bring law suits in the USA and the UK claiming from the Myanmar Government the costs Bangladesh has incurred in taking care of the Rohingya.  If such a suit can be successfully established Myanmar assets in the UK and the United States including airplanes, property owned by the Burmese Government can be legally seized.  
•     Foreign investors in Myanmar from China, the US, Japan etc. may be sued in their home countries, in the United States or the United Kingdom to seize earnings from investments that they may have made in Myanmar.  
•     The use of the law as sketched here will cause great trouble for the Burmese Government,         Bangladesh ca be relevant less.
•     Bangladesh should engage a very good PR firm in the United States and instruct them to develop and implement a massive worldwide campaign to expose the deeds of the Burmese against the Rohingya.  Over the next two years the world should confront all the time the horrors perpetuated by the Burmese.  The world should identify Burma as a country of cruel sociopaths.
•    Myanmar attacked Bangladesh, causing great suffering to the Rohingya and huge expenses to Bangladesh.  This cannot go answered.


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The writer is an economist



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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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