I am somewhat disappointed reading some accusatory notes in which they seemed to accept the alleged rape story of Buddhist girls/women by Muslims for a fact.

As such, mere assertions are non-starters for any serious dialogue of mending of the fences between various ethnic and religious communities within Burma. There is simply no truth to these accusations of Rohingya Muslims raping Buddhist girls/women. The human rights condition of the Rohingya people living inside Burma, esp. in the Arakan state, is so deplorable that these people have lost even freedom of movement from one location to another. Crime of rape is not one that they can afford to commit, nor have they committed.

There are tons of information contained in the reports filed by the US State Department, Karen Human Rights group, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, among others, that show the horrendous situation this people are being forced to live. It is simply criminal of the highest order now to accuse them of a crime that they have not committed. And worse still is to use that unproven accusation as a signal for further marginalization and victimization of the community.

As I have stated few times before, none but the SPDC regime benefits from demonizing one group against the other. It is to its benefit to use that race or ethnic or religious card to polarize and divide and rule a failed state. They have succeeded in the past and current events of destruction and riot against the ethnic minority people once again prove that they are winning big time.

There is no hiding the fact that of all ethnic and religious minorities, the Rohingya Muslims of Arakan have been the worst victims of pogroms practiced by the criminal SPDC regime. The latter has used propaganda so effectively that some people almost accept point blank whatever rumours are being spread, including rapes of Buddhist women/girls by Muslims. They forget that in a civil society what is expected is not mass agitation or systemic destruction of all properties belonging to the alleged rapists’ religious community but a rule of law that forces its functionaries to investigate impartially and punishes the culprits if the accusations are found to be true.

It simply demonstrated how rumors can be used as an effective weapon to hype up mass hysteria for committing monumental crime against another people. We should never forget how Der Sturmer of Julius Streicher was used in the 1930s to create the poisonous environment that led to the Holocaust in Europe. The war, as we all know, led to deaths of 40 million people. We should not also forget what Nazi propaganda minister Gobbles had to say in terms of efficacy of repeating lies so that people take them as mere facts.

Religion is supposed to make people conscious about his surroundings – his relationship with the self, others and God (or higher power whatever he believes in). It is supposed to make people free internally, make him more compassionate and friendly or amicable. Instead, what we sometimes find is just the opposite. It is used as a doctrine that breeds hatred.

There are bad guys everywhere and in every religious community. But when we terrorize or incriminate a community based on the crime of the few, what we show is our own savagery and not civility nor higher moral ground. We show that we are worse than those criminals. And worse still is when such terrorization is based on unsupported allegations. The responsibility of a civilized people and its government is to make sure that allegations, whatever they are be proven in a court of impartial law and then appropriate punishment be handed out to the criminal. When, instead, it lets one community prey on another based on mere rumours it shows the moral bankruptcy of both the government and those people that fell for such propaganda.

Towards bridge-building, my suggestion is they should amend their ways, correct their evil with goodness, and stop from victimizing the minority. When a society fails to protect its minority, it is no civil society that one can be proud of.

I wish most people had sounded like the Buddhist monk who deplored such violence.


Habib Siddiqui