Independent Broadcasting: Rohingya Muslims

by Connor Bjotvedt

Global humanitarian and Rwandan genocide survivor Paul Rusesabagina
took to Twitter earlier this week in an effort to express his grief, sympathy,
and fear over the treatment, slaughter, and subsequent forced migration of 600,
000 Rohingya Muslims within the Republic of Myanmar.
Rusesabagina began by tweeting the simple phrase, “To those in the Rakhine state:
I know your pain.” The tweet sparked international interest and left major
and minor news agencies scrambling and working to get boots on the ground
within Myanmar. The ensuing hysteria would as well lead to the global
condemnation of Aung San Suu Kyi, the State Counsellor and former Nobel
Peace Prize recipient, for her apparent apathy towards resolving the crisis.

‘Newly christened as political refugees by the United Nations
the Rohingya Muslims have fled from their homes in the Rakhine state to
the neighboring flatlands along the Republic of Myanmar’s
border with Bangladesh. This refugee crisis began as a state sponsored
campaign of violence against “A Militant Muslim Caliphate developing in the east.”
The state’s official rhetoric surrounding the Rohingya was directly stated
during an interview with Myanmar’s press coordinator,
Paul Phett, who said, “We have never had Muslims in Rakhine.
These immigrants do not belong in Myanmar.” Myanmar, a country
dominated by Buddhists (89%), seems dead set on ousting
its native population of Muslims—who were documented
by Western sources as inhabiting the area as far back as 1799.
The state’s decision to target the Rohingya seems to reflect
the pervasive trend of Islamophobia that has developed across the globe
in the wake of the United States’ war on terror.
The central government’s intentional fear mongering and broadcast coverage
of civilian bombings abroad has allowed the police
and military to justify their actions and even gain support from the public.
Each day more and more individuals escape the Rakhine state and
enter Bangladesh where they show press crews the injuries
that they suffered in their home country. Press crews have so far been unable
to enter the Rakhine state and unable to collect the unquestionable proof
that the atrocities are being committed in Eastern Myanmar
and that they are being orchestrated by the government. Without
the unquestionable proof international organizations have been left
without probable cause and will continue to be unable to intervene.
Though the current situation seems dire, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein,
the UN’s Commissioner for Human Rights, has assured the victims
that the perpetrators and overseeing government officials will
eventually be tried and convicted by the international court
for performing the clear and systematic ethnic cleansing
of the Rohingya population.’—John Whenn