News Watch, Side Feature, South Asia

Rohingya Muslim Suffering and the Failure of Current Civilization

A boat carrying 71 weak and hungry Rohingya Muslims fleeing from refugee camps in Bangladesh landed Thursday in Indonesia’s northernmost province of Aceh. One of the Fifteen-year-old Shorif Uddin, who was on the boat with his parents, said two or three people died while they were at sea because of a lack of food. “We have been traveling so long and did not have any food to eat. We are really hungry,” he said. He said the Rohingya had been unable to find work or achieve higher education in the refugee camps and decided to leave Bangladesh for Indonesia. (apnews)

About 730,000 Rohingya, a persecuted mostly Muslim minority from Myanmar’s Rakhine state, fled to Bangladesh in 2017 to escape an army crackdown the UN said was carried out with genocidal intent. Myanmar security forces have been accused of mass rapes, killings, and burning of thousands of Rohingya homes.

According to Oxfam, 70% of the refugees are without adequate shelter, and half have no safe drinking water. More than half of them are women and girls, and 60 percent are children under 18. People live in makeshift tents in hugely overcrowded settlements at risk of floods and landslides. Conditions in the camps are woefully inadequate and unhealthy, with overflowing latrines and contaminated water. They’re primarily unlit and dangerous at night – women, girls, and children are particularly vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, and trafficking. Their future in the camps becomes more vulnerable as The World Food Programme (WFP) reduces the value of its food help to US$10 per person from US$12 starting next month.

The condition of Rohingya either in Myanmar, in the refugee camp in Bangladesh, or those who find a better life in many other countries proves the inability of the current nation-state systems to protect humanity. Despite so many agreements and international organizations that have been set up to deal with the humanitarian issues, those cannot solve the root problem, especially in the Rohingya Muslims issue.

At the same time, it also proves the failure of the existing Western liberal civilization that always preaches to protect human rights through law enforcement and international cooperation. In reality, none can force the tiny state of Myanmar to commit to human rights and dignity. This was very different when the US intervened in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya for freedom and human rights.

Based on this reality, Muslims should open their eyes that Muslim protection through the Islamic State (Khilafah) should be established immediately. Without that, Muslims only can watch their Muslim brothers and sisters discriminated against, killed, and raped everywhere.

Abdullah Aswar – Indonesia