The untold suffering of the Rohingyas touches the heart of all sensible people all over the world irrespective of caste and creed. Sheikh Hasina, the honourable Prime Minister of Bangladesh has expressed her deepest sympathy for the sorrows and sufferings of the Rohingyas who were forced by the savage Myanmar military to flee to Bangladesh.
Leaving a country of their ancestral home they have become destitute. Their houses were burnt and hundreds of them have been killed.
It is a planned and systematic ethnic cleansing, a massacre and genocide that we have seen in Bosnia, Herzegovina, Srebrenica, West Bank, Hebron, and Gaza in Palestine. It is a black chapter in the history of human civilisation which stands on the crossroads of destruction.
History furnishes us with the fact that this minority Muslim community has been living in the Rakhine state formerly called Arakan situated in the north-west of Myanmar where the famous poet laureate Alaul emerged in the 14th century.
In many countries of world, ethnic minorities live side by side with the majority people in peace and harmony. India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia and Bangladesh are examples in point. Under Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has become a rare example of communal harmony. Though Rohingyas have rendered valuable contribution to the liberation of Burma in 1948, they were denied education, healthcare and other basic human rights. Even they were deprived of their citizenship. They are regarded as migrants from Bangladesh. The only cause of their tragedy is anti-Muslim stanch of the Myanmar authorities. The problem has become more serious under Aung San Suu Kyi.
A section of the people of Myanmar is just like uncivilised brutes that do not have the compassion and fellow feeling for the minority. They have also become cruel hearted under the military regime. Their inhuman character reminds me a few words from an English poet:
‘‘Intellectual disgrace starts in every human face,
The sea of pity locked and frozen in each eye’’
If we go through the pages of history, we see that the world has experienced two great wars. Another war is looming large in the Korean Peninsula which raises doubts in our minds whether man has any future or not. As a matter of fact the trouble lies in the minds of men and it is in enlightening the minds of men that the cure must be sought.
In this perspective we can see two personalities: Sheikh Hasina and Aung San Suu Kyi. The later won Nobel Prize for her bold and fearless stanch for democracy and peace. In spite of this, she is mentally undeveloped and unkind like the two Pelican daughters of King Lear who traumatised their old father and drove him to madness and death. Now, it is crystal clear to the world conscience that she does not deserve the Nobel Prize she won. It should be revoked and given to Sheikh Hasina who is in letter and spirit the Angela Markel of Bangladesh for her great love for distressed humanity.
We know that Angela Markel gave shelter to millions of refugees from the war-torn Middle-East countries like Syria, Iraq and Libya without bothering much for their religious background. Truly Sheikh Hasina is a large hearted Prime Minister like the German Chancellor. She is a great statesperson who has no aggressive attitude even to the hostile neighbour. She has given shelter to 5 lakh refugees for the sake of humanity even though her country is over-populated and flood-affected. Her clarion call to the international community to come forward to feed the hungry Rohingyas and help them in their safe return to their homeland has created great response. She is making concerted efforts diplomatically for a permanent solution to the problem. Finally, let us say down with Aung San Suu Kyi. Long live Sheikh Hasina, the Angela Markel of Bangladesh.
The writer is a Professor of English and Vice-Chancellor (In-Charge), Britannia University, Comilla