Time has come for the western scholars to delete permanently the word ‘humanity’ from the dictionary they have compiled. Yes, we live in such a world where the strong has kept on tormenting the weak.
The words such as harmony, civility and diversity have become mere rhetoric with no implications.
Nothing is more important than business in the contemporary world in which lives of millions are the cheapest things.Business can be done with a human face. In the case of Rohingyas, however, Myanmar has decided to exhibit the terribly inhuman face.
According to a recent news item, a motive behind destabilisation of northern Arakan state is related to new discovery of chemical elements in the coast of Maungdaw which has made tens of thousands of Rohingya lives so ‘cheap’. Unfortunately, the site is where the Rohingya majority lives and it has become the racing ground of some big powers, and locals looking greedily at Arakanese natural resources. As its mining requires total evacuation of the region, the easiest way to do so is to repulse Rohingyas under smart pretexts.
In this regard, the rhetoric of terrorism suits best as it is acceptable globally. In the coast of Maungdaw, especially the southern beaches, a rare soil is found recently that contains aluminium and titanium, and is being tested by the Gold Finder Company, according to RFA that quoted Aung Than Tin, the Arakan State Minister of Forestry and Mining as saying such. The source added that the Gold Finder has been testing the black sands discovered there since last November and found that in every 500 ton of sands, there may be one ton of aluminium and titanium.
Titanium is a precious chemical element, resistant to corrosion in sea water, aqua regia, and chlorine, which is used in plane engines, rockets and spacecrafts. Thus, it is now not at all a secret that Myanmar government and army will stop the clearance operations permanently only after the last Rohingya child is either killed or expelled from the soil of Myanmar. In a vast land, four times bigger than Bangladesh, the Myanmar government could easily have rehabilitated the Rohingyas somewhere else.
However, it has decided instead to get rid of each and every Rohingya by means of brutalities of horrendous dimensions. It has found a land where it can dump the Rohingyas and that is Bangladesh. Bangladesh, however, can neither accept nor reject them with a sealed border for the sake of humanity. That is why thousands of Rohingyas are entering Bangladesh despite the BGB’s stance and efforts to stem the influx of Rohingyas. It is true that we cannot afford the Rohingyas in our scare land. But, where will they go? Will they embrace watery grave at the Naf River.
In fact, that has become a harsh reality already as many Rohingya dead bodies have been recovered from the Naf River. Not only are Myanmar army committing cruellest forms of crimes against humanity in Arakan, their aircrafts have entered Bangladesh airspaces for a number of times recently against which Bangladesh government has expressed strong protest. From the posture of the Myanmar army, it is becoming symptomatic that it is in a bid to be at loggerheads with Bangladesh under some pretexts.
Though Bangladesh should not fuel the situation, a weak position in this regard might spell disastrous for Bangladesh as such a state of affairs will embolden the Myanmar army and might even propel them to be ambitious of expeditions in Bangladesh areas, both water and land. In passing, Bangladesh’s recent proposal to Myanmar for joint operations at the borders is nothing but a subservient form of response. It is beyond the reach of the civilians to have clear knowledge of the military preparations of the forces.
However, the civilians of Bangladesh have the right to be assured that our forces have the preparedness and capacities to ward off external expeditions. As a neighbouring country, Bangladesh government should have registered a strong protest against atrocities against Rohingyas as Bangladesh has to bear the brunt of the Rohingya influx. Unfortunately, however, Bangladesh’s position in this issue has so far been hesitant and shaky which exposes a hiatus in the country’s security.
Reportedly, Myanmar is strengthening its military presence and arsenal at Arakan which is indeed a matter of great concern in military terms. The Bay of Bengal is a big stake between Bangladesh and Myanmar. Myanmar forces have long taken strategic positions for capturing the vast resources of Bay of Bengal. It is difficult to say whether the leadership in the country has taken full stock of the requirements for safeguarding our positions in the Bay of Bengal.
If necessary steps have already been taken, it is well and good. If not, it brooks no delay.
President of Turkey Erdoğan seems to be playing a proactive role in bringing some respite for the tormented Rohingyas. Reportedly, he has already talked to 17 heads of states of Arab countries for garnering support. Turkey has requested Bangladesh to open the borders for the Rohingya refugees and also proposed to bear the expenses for them. Being a country burdened with overpopulation and severe land scarcity, it is difficult for us to accommodate the Rohingyas. However, Erdoğan’s gesture seems pretty soothing considering the world response to the issue.
There should be sincere efforts to bring some peace for the most persecuted and tortured Rohingya community. In addition to being active in the social media, the conscious sections of the society should think of doing something meaningful for this helpless and hapless community. Amidst us, there are both intellect and resources to do. Let us work from our own positions and come forward to this community facing total extinction. Something can surely be done to assuage their immense sufferings and steps should be there to at least launch a humanitarian campaign.
The writer is a Professor, Department of Public Administration, Chittagong University. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org