Recalling the war in Bosnia and the genocide in Srebrenica, we need to stop the ongoing war against our Rohingya brothers and sisters
Comment by Almedina Gunić, Revolutionary-Communist International Tendency (RCIT), www.thecommunists.net, 15.09.2017
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Bosnian War, a cruel and bitter part of the Bosniakian identity. Up to 300,000 people (mainly Bosnian Muslims) were killed during the conflict and more than 2 million were displaced. The war was nothing less than a systematic ethnic cleansing committed by Serb paramilitaries in order to create a „Greater Serbia.“ Unbelievably vile and inhuman methods were used during the war to eradicate the Bosniaks or at least force them to flee the country, including the mass slaughter in Srebrenica.
For us as Bosniaks, it is extremely painful to see how our brothers and sisters from the Rohingya people are currently facing the horror of ethnic cleansing and genocide. It brings back all the horrors that we still have to deal with. However, far worse than our bitter past, which is at least safely locked up in our heads, is the insecure and cruel present for the Rohingyas.
As one Rohingya source reported, "Only Muslims are being targeted by the Myanmar army. Buddhists, Christians and other ethnic groups living in Rakhine have been spared from much of the violence. There is a clear plan to wipe out Rohingya Muslims.(1)"
The so-called detention camps in Myanmar, into which hundred of thousands of Rohingyas are being forced to live are little more than concentration camps. For years, a number of reports and pictures from these camps have shown how the Rohingya, including many children, live cooped up in pitiful shanties. Disease and starvation are so rife in these camps that many of the internees look like images of death itself, with their ribs painfully visible. Compare these pictures with those from the internment camps during the Bosnian war and you will see no difference.
Rohingya women have reported incidents of systematic and repeated gang rape at the hands of Myanmar’s soldiers. Like in the rape camps in Bosnia, in particular young Rohingya women between the ages of 12 and 25 are victims of such brutal systematic rape. The Rhakine state lawmaker and commission chairman Aung Win responded to the reports of the rapes by laughing and saying that this cannot be true as Rohingya women are too „dirty“ to be raped by the
Our brothers and sisters in Bosnia were shot in the back, were burnt alive, were decapitated... that happened in Bosnia during the war there and it is
happening today in Myanmar. Our brothers and sisters were not seen as human beings by those who killed them. The Global New Light of Myanmar, a newspaper published by the governmental Ministry of
Information, called Rohingyas “human fleas … loathe for their stench and for sucking our blood.(3)”
Some 313,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh during the last three weeks. More than a thousand of our Rohingyan brothers and sisters have been killed during the same time. Today, it is completely accurate to classify the Rohingya people as "world's most persecuted minority"!
In the face of the horror of ethnic cleansing that is happening again, it is absolutely crucial to give unconditional support to the struggle of the Rohingya for self-determination! It is time to oppose the Buddhist chauvinist regime of Myanmar! It is of the utmost urgency that the international workers’ movement organizes a campaign in solidarity with and of practical support for the Rohingya!
Revolutionary, multi-ethnic joint forces of workers and oppressed fighting for a socialist federation of the Balkans could have saved the Bosniak people from being massacred by the Serb nationalist militias and being invaded by the imperialist forces of the United Nations. Today, we should learn from the past to prevent the recurrence of such crimes.
The liberation of the Rohingya people is a key question in the struggle for the liberation of all workers and the rural and urban poor in Myanmar. The chauvinist regime of Myanmar complains about the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) because they allegedly attacked their oppressors with sticks. What they should really fear is a joint, revolutionary force of Rohingya people and all other workers and oppressed in Myanmar and the entire region of Southeast Asia; a joint force that is willing to take power via an armed insurrection and build a socialist workers’ government based on the urban and rural poor.
(1) ”Rohingya warn of 'another Srebrenica' if violence rages”, by Faisal Edroos, Al-Jazeera, 7 Sept 2017, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/09/rohingya-warn-srebrenica-violence-rages-170907143650993.html
(2) BBC report on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2dAe7nUh20&feature=youtu.be&t=12s
(3) ”Myanmar’s army is tormenting Muslims with a brutal rape campaign”, by Patrick Winn, Public Radio International, 8 Feb 2017, https://gpinvestigations.pri.org/myanmars-army-is-tormenting-muslims-with-a-brutal-rape-campaign-9a64a6cc41dd