The BBC reported on the 12th of November: “Amnesty International is stripping Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi of its highest honour, the Ambassador of Conscience Award”. Aung San Suu Kyi was honoured by Amnesty International in 2009 for her opposition to Myanmar’s military dictatorship, for which she received many other awards including the Nobel Peace Prize, but now she has fallen from favour. Amnesty told Myanmar’s civilian leader: ‘We are profoundly dismayed that you no longer represent a symbol of hope, courage, and the undying defence of human rights.’
The Muslim Rohingya people of Myanmar have suffered genocidal waves of expulsions, burning of villages, organized murder and rape at the hands of Buddhist nationalist zealots in Rakhine state for many years, and in the latest escalation that began in August last year, 720,000 have been forced to make the perilous journey to Bangladesh where they are suffering in horrid conditions. Despite the horrific living conditions, at least they are living, but Bangladesh doesn’t want them, even though Bangladesh is a Muslim country. Myanmar does not even call them Rohingya, but instead calls them Bengali illegal immigrants, and yet in neighboring Bangladesh they are disowned. May Allah disown those who disown them!
Now some of these refugees are fleeing again, because this week the first of the repatriations is planned for them. A list of 4000 ‘approved’ refugees has been drawn up and the Myanmar government promises them safety, but no sane person would feel safe going back when nothing has changed. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said this week that: “We are witnessing terror and panic among those Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar who are at imminent risk of being returned to Myanmar against their will”. In 2016, Amnesty International condemned Bangladesh for forcing Rohingya refugees to return to Myanmar: “The Rohingya are being squeezed by the callous actions of both the Myanmar and Bangladesh authorities.” Just months before the latest massacres, Bangladesh was working on plans to resettle tens of thousands of refugees from former waves of persecution to flooded swamplands surrounded by water.
The government of Bangladesh has made its inhumanity plain, but what of other rulers over Muslim lands? Saudi Arabia has been too busy ambushing and dismembering one of its own citizens in its embassy in Turkey to be troubled about Muslims in Myanmar, and besides, they have been busy for even longer killing their own immediate neighbours in Yemen, with billions of dollars worth of US weapons, to think of brotherly relations further from home. Beyond that, their subservience to US plans over Aqsa and the Blessed Land – Palestine, don’t give any basis for hope in an Islamic intervention from them.
However, one possibly heartening news report came out the day before Amnesty announced the withdrawal of its Ambassador of Conscience Award from Aung San Suu Kyi who has defended the Myanmar military’s ‘ethnic cleansing’ as the UN correctly termed it. A Nigerian newspaper printed an article titled: “Graves of scores of ‘previously unknown’ Nigerian soldiers found in Myanmar”, and while the thought of large numbers of Nigerian soldiers being killed in Myanmar is a sad one, it raised hopes that at least one Muslim country had stood up for the Muslim Rohingya. Unfortunately, these turned out to be the graves of Nigerians who “fought in the 1st West African Brigade of the 82nd West African Division of the colonial British Army” from the time of the second world war.
So all that the Rohingya have to protect them in this world are the perilously weak and malleable so-called universal ‘values of western civilization,’ but these are only as precious to Western leaders as the resources or strategic value of the lands upon which humanity suffers, and hence, the huge disparities in Western treatment of dictators across the world. Despite the anguished pleas of human rights organizations, no Western power will put human rights before significant economic or strategic advantage, and the rulers in the Muslim world, who sold themselves long ago for a small price, at best will speak fierce words, and more likely remain silent and easily conspire with the oppressors of Muslims as the Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina does. It should surprise no one that in September, at the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Sheikh Hasina received two humanitarian awards for her non-existent kindnesses to the Rohingya refugees who live in camps under the mortifying fear of being forced back into the arms of their butcher.
Dr. Abdullah Robin