The title of this modest piece of writing refers to some of the noble words from the historic speech that Aung San Suu Kyi delivered at the ceremony where she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. Some of words she spoke are quoted below: “Kindness can change the lives of people”.
Further, “Ultimately our aim should be to create a world free from displaced, the homeless and hopeless, a world of which each and every corner is a true sanctuary where the inhabitants will have the freedom and the capacity to live in peace. . . . Let us join hands to try to create a peaceful world where we can sleep in security and wake up in happiness.” One wonders where else today could that sanctuary for the Rohingya people be other than the place that they inhabited for generations.
Bangladesh cannot alone solve this problem. So far Bangladesh has exhibited great patience and love for the cause of humanity. Voices have been already raised from different globally respected leaders, from organisations and countries, human rights groups, etc. against the Myanmar government for their blatant violations of human rights in Rakhaine.
That Bangladesh parliament has unanimously passed the resolution on 11 September 12, 2017 to urge the United Nations and all other world community bodies to press Myanmar government to make all necessary arrangements for the repatriation of the lacs of people from Rakhine province of that country is a great official milestone for Bangladesh in connection with the Rohingya people. We commend our government for this much-needed step in order that this man-made human crisis of immeasurable significance can be solved with the cooperation from the global community. This resolution and all that it is supposed to imply give Bangladesh a clear stance and sense of direction for any further step for the solution of the issue concerned.
Bangladesh has now about a million Rohingya people as refugees due to untold miseries, persecution in all imaginable forms and dimensions perpetrated by the merciless and brutish Myanmar army crackdown upon the civilian people of Rohingya people, who are a minority people group in that country, which is more than five times larger in size with a population less than three times smaller than that of Bangladesh. It is much richer in natural and mineral resources than Bangladesh, has many internal problems. So to cater even for the basic human needs of the huge influx of the refugee population is a big problem indeed. So Bangladesh has the very natural human feeling to welcome this refugee problem, and it’s heart’s desire that the world community will do all they can to put pressure on the military-backed government of Myanmar to come to sense before too distant a time and create an environment congenial for the safe repatriation of the helpless men and women and children can feel confident that they can go back to their home in Rakhine where they have been living for generations. The refugees keep on saying that they like to go back to their country, i.e. Myanmar.
Today we, human beings live in our respective countries and nations as multi-racial, multi-faith communities all over the globe. To consider the already socio-economically poor and backward Rohingya people as aliens in their homeland and mercilessly persecute them, kill them, rape their females, the burn their houses in order to expel them out of their homesteads and habitation is horrendous crime against humanity.
This process has been going on in Myanmar ever since the Military rule in that land was started in the 60s of the last century. It is no mean a human concern. It deserves that attention of all sensible people anywhere in the world. Had Bangladesh not given the helpless Rohingya people shelter the situation would be almost unimaginable because of the human casualties. That would mean that the water of Naf River would be red with human blood and full of human corpse floating all over!
Any sovereign state authority has the right to punish proven crimes committed against it. If there have been any act of terrorism committed by any people or group the government of Myanmar has all rights to punish them according to their law. But that should not mean that they can violate any basic human rights of any people and persecute them and slaughter then and evict them like they have been doing in Rakhaine.
We, Bangladeshi people could not be hard on the helpless people, not only because we gratefully remember that many times more of our people experienced the similar kind of life during the time of Pakistani occupation army launched a genocide campaign against our unarmed population in the year 1971 but merely because we have great human interest and concern over the Rohingya people and nurse the high hope that a lasting human and deliberately arrived political solution would come up for the Rohingya people that would grant them their genuine citizenship rights.
This would call for the implementation of the much talked of Kofi Annan Commission recommendations. Representing the will of the government and the people of Bangladesh our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has voiced out in unambiguous terms time and again that we have been catering for and will do our best to cater for the Rohingya refugees out of our deep sense of humanitarianism and universal fraternity; but that would not mean that this would continue for unlimited time-span. For that would tantamount to bowing down our heads to evil forces that trample down human life, human rights and values causing opportunity to barbarism, which would help growth of more and more human miseries here and there.
The writer is a Christian Theology teacher and a Social worker