IN THE NAME OF HUMAN RIGHTS
By Maung Tha Hla
The Human Rights issue is a noble purpose to pursue, but if misled conscientiously or unconscientiously it might just be the opposite, leading to the probability of bringing misunderstanding upon the objective and integrity of the pursuers.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted on December 10, 1948 in consequence of the Second World War and ever since mania for human rights has captivated the West which takes a role to set a moral standard by their own utopian notions. The crux of the matter is that centuries before and decades after the adoption of the Declaration the European expansion of empery had denatured the so-called Third World into living hell flagrantly violating the dignity of person of the servile people who lived in subhuman conditions in their own lands. Regrettably, the Western society who claimed moral high ground, despite the gory past, condescendingly decried the former colonies, which were being besieged by political crisis and social exigency, the intrinsic legacy of Imperial Empires of the bygone days. Over the years there was the mushroom-growth of organizations mostly based in Europe, which claimed to be working for the cause of human rights. But one is constrained to question the devotional claim and cast doubt on the dedication and integrity of self-assertive organizations as most of them have become agents and the mouthpiece of special interest groups. The recent inter-communal strife in Rakhaing state of Myanmar is a case in point. They slavishly mounted a slew of charges against Myanmar of alleged mistreatment of the illegal immigrant Bengalis.
THE ORGAN GRINDER AND THE MONKEYS: It is much of a conspiracy that once the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) woefully howled echoing canards of illegal Bengali secessionists, the Human Rights monkeys sprang up to franticly dance to the tune wailing over the alleged violation of Bengali human rights. The parallels are striking between the OIC and Human Rights Organizations which not only made adverse comments about the government for its handling of the Bengali matters but also strewed lopsided reports demonizing the indigenous Rakhaings who had long been fallen victims to atrocities committed by the pugnacious alien Bengalis in the course of the virulent campaign for a free Islamic state in the Rakhaing land. The Bengali Muslims ruthlessly slaughtered the once dominant Rakhaing communities of Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships where they squatted in the looted lands, having made up the majority in the ratio of 97 to 3 per cent over the indigenes; yet the Bengalis, who lived by the legacy of lies, played the victim card, hurling accusations at the native Rakhaings of ethnic cleansing.
The United Nations Organization, which is supposed to be icon of morality and impartiality, is suffering from credibility problem as it now buckled under pressure of the OIC comprising of 57 Muslim nations and European Union of 28 Christian nations, let alone being bypassed by regional groups such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or used as a tool by powerful nations to advance their political agenda. The world organization, which had been increasingly in partnership with the powerful groups, passed Resolution (A/C.3/68/L.55) on situation of human rights in Myanmar, which was sponsored, with the OIC's approbation, by the European nations plus the United States. It brought pressure bearing upon Myanmar to allow equal access to full citizenship for alien Bengali separatists in contravention of the law of Myanmar. Also the resolution spewed accusations of religious persecution, racial discrimination and human rights violation against the Muslims but purposely pretermitted the Bengali atrocities and violation of human rights against the native population, nor did it reflect on the perfidy of the British imported Bengalis who raised the banner of Mujtahid separatist movement for an Islamic state which they laid a plan to accede to their former homeland, now Bangladesh. It is the general notion that citizenship comes with loyalty to the host nation compounded with the obligation to uphold its constitution, solute the national flag, adapt to the native language, admire native culture, tolerate the religion of the land, and thus assimilating into the life of adopted country. Notwithstanding the egregious breach of the above fundamentals, the organization pushed for the citizenship of illegal Bengalis, having touted the politically motivated terminology which the Bengalis had hankered after in excuse of the demand for the entitlement to a national race, and hence a free Islamic state. The world organization unjustly rested onus of Bengali delictum with the host nation. The partisan resolution could only be construed as interference in the internal affairs of Myanmar, hence amounting to impingement on the sovereignty of a member nation.
How prejudicial is the resolution of the world organization, but what is more reprehensible is a set of parochial reports by the human rights organizations predisposed to anti-Myanmar agenda, which are perfect examples of how a situation can be exploited and facts distorted to serve the political purpose of an interest group. Sadly there seem to be no bottom to the pit of abasement in which some organizations and apologists had been falling, who throve on the business of human rights.
Special rapporteurs or independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work. That he was not paid for his work prompted the public to frown at UN expert Thomas Ojea Quintana who accused Myanmar of committing "genocide" against the illegal Bengalis in the greatly exaggerated report based on the fabricated Bengali source. He went too far reporting with complete impunity morphed accounts on Bengali situation, which only tarnished the image of the world organization. The worst was that he overstepped the mandate to demand granting of citizenship to the disfranchised Bengali separatists, thus encroaching on Myanmar's sovereign.
Human Right Watch made public a one-sided and offensive report on inter-communal riots in Myanmar. Despite its claim being so upright and impartial the organization was criticized for its unfair and biased reporting on the human rights by national governments, other NGOs, the media and even its founder and Chairman Emerita Robert Bernstein. It came under criticism on the issues in Eritrea and Ethiopia and the Arab-Israel conflict. The HRW which depended on wealthy donors had to comply with the desire of financiers who liked to see its reports made headlines which the media had put in the limelight. Accusations were also leveled against it for being influenced by US foreign policy with regard to unbalanced reporting on Latin America and the Palestinians. That's bad enough, but worse was the accusation that it requested donations from Saudi Arabian citizens on the basis of criticism of Israel; which posed a vex question as to the integrity of the author and credibility of the lopsided report on Myanmar, wildly deploying the terms, "crime against humanity", "ethnic cleansing" and "genocide".
HUMAN RIGHTS OR BENGALI RIGHTS: In seeking to achieve their goal the alien Bengalis made desperate efforts through powerful Islamic lobbyists to boost political influence courting Western proxies. The self-seeking, multicultural zealots who see nothing but to pander to the Muslim world were using their political clout to enforce a permanent solution to the illegal Bengali issue embarking on the infringement upon the sovereignty of Myanmar. Posing in the forefront as key players was the duo of the United States and the United Kingdom, which ridiculously asserted that the belligerent Bengali Muslims were innocent victims of Buddhist aggression. Siding with the Bengali secessionists they demanded citizenship rights for them. The Bengali problem started with the British colonialists who imported them for their invested interests and now the United States which had been the chief target of Muslim hate campaign thrust itself as the champion of the Bengali rights with sole purpose of pacifying the anti-American Muslim world. Being powerful is not a license to manipulate the internal affairs of others.
Why was the United States, which had been duped into leading the NATO to establish an Islamic State in the heart of Europe, so impassioned about the Jihadist Bengali separatists who slyly sought the patronage of the powerful West to help bring their separatist movement into the vortex of international politics having deluded themselves into the precedent of Kosovo? In virtue of the potential levers of economic sanction against Myanmar the United States, which had been in the business of aggressive lobbying with illusion about possibility of making the illegal Bengalis citizens of Myanmar and entitlement to a national race, escalated its efforts to shape a pro-Bengali strategy in such intensity that it came to the point of raising a question as to whether it was lobbying or abuse of super power position.
The American pressure cooker gathered steam with the visits of state actors. Barack Obama was followed by former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, with Ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair following in his footsteps. They all are peace-brokers by their own rights, who were involved in peace missions and human rights campaign; at the same time none of them had a success in the Middle East peace process, the trade mark of the nation's highest office. It was of much doubt whether their righteous orations, which much the same as the language of OIC stooges of human rights syndicate, would help bring about a solution to the communal conflict in Myanmar, and in the least their patronizing remarks would have positive effects on the natives, if not make them feel like sickening.
Interestingly, timing of Clinton's visit coincided with that of European Union delegation headed by foreign policy chief, Catherine Aston, being trailed by the OIC delegation. Concurrently, the coercive measures effectuated in Myanmar were complemented at the home front where a Bengali delegation was received in audience by the Senate foreign relation committee, which resulted in introduction of House Resolution 418, which if adopted would urge Myanmar to end the persecution of illegal Bengali Muslims. However, any fair-minded lawmaker would not compromise his or her conscience to go along with the resolution since it failed to address the violence and crimes perpetrated by the Bengali immigrants against the indigenous people. It may be noted that a similar pro-Bengali resolution was doomed in 2010. It is not surprising that the powerful Islamic lobbying was gaining influence on the American foreign policy issues given the instance that Obama had faithfully played a pro-Bengali card in his Islamic surrogate mission to Myanmar in 2012.
HYPOCRISY AT WORK: It is plain hypocrisy that the bigoted Muslim countries which consolidated into a world Muslim organization nursed feeling of solidarity with the Islamist Bengali separatists and exerted pressure on Myanmar demanding to take measures to eliminate the alleged offences of religious persecution and racial discrimination, notwithstanding human rights violation and persecution of religious minorities were the order of the day in their own nations. Following the disintegration of Sadden Hussein's Iraq and Gaddafi's Libya, the powerful Islamic nations which vied for leadership of the Muslim world conveniently exploited the inter-communal violence of Rakhaing state in hopes of redressing the failure to mollify the ongoing turmoil across the Muslim world, particularly the Middle East which had been convulsed with the deadly sectarian conflicts among the Muslims who claimed themselves being the most peaceful and nonviolent people on earth.
Among the leading Muslim countries that rallied behind the illegal Bengali separatists were Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Egypt as well as Islamic members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which unfairly played upon the inter-communal conflict to their own advantage, despite their own notorious human rights records. Turkey, for one, bolstered by the prestige of membership to the NATO, thrust itself forward as the global protector of Muslim rights having put up a good show through the visits to Myanmar of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu accompanied by teary-eyed Mrs. Emine Erdogan and crying OIC secretary-general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, who led the organization delegation, in a measure to demonstrate the Turkish leading role in promoting the welfare and the human rights of the Bengali Muslims. It is ironic that Turkey denounced Myanmar for the speculative genocide of alien Bengalis against its horrific past and prevailing situation in human rights violation. Turning to its past, the country was still haunted by the ineffaceable crime against humanity and the 1915 genocide of Christian Armenians, the first ever of the sort in the history of modern world, which was perpetrated at the height of the Ottoman Empire that comprised an area covering 45 sovereign nations today. Pope Francis bestowed sainthood on "Martyrs of Otranto", to honour the 813 Italians who were slain in the southern Italian city in 1480 for defying demands by Turkish invaders who overran the citadel to renounce Christianity. The modern day Turkey is not exonerated from the ethnic cleansing being blatantly executed against the Kurds and Arab minorities as well as religious persecution of the Alevis. Did the Turkish First Lady or the OIC secretary general ever shad tears over such crimes? Is it not hypocrisy that espoused their pious hearts bleed for the Islamist separatist Bengalis?
Saudi Arabia, which has ironically been elected to serve on the United Nations Human Rights Council, used religion as a tool of oppression. The kingdom, which is the chief promoter of international Islamic fundamentalism and the backbone of the OIC, reached the deep pocket to insensately impose Islam on the non-Muslim nations and pulverize other religions. It sanctimoniously condemned Myanmar for religious persecution, ethnic cleansing and human rights violations of the jihadist Bengalis, despite its own record of human and civil rights violations and the religious persecution of Shiite Muslims in the kingdom where no other religion was allowed to establish or being practised, much less a non-Muslim would ever take the risk of being beheaded to set foot in Mecca. Pakistan is the home of the world's most notorious hatcheries for fanatic jihadists and suicide bombers, where sectarian butchering of minority Shiites and attacking Christians, Ahmadis and Hindus were unchecked. The Pakistani Taliban who carried out deadly suicide mission day in and day out declared to attack Myanmar to avenge their Muslim brothers. Iran is infamous for human rights violations and persecution of religious minorities such as Sunni and Sufi Muslims, Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians; so too is Bangladesh which is ill-famed for discrimination against religious minorities, such as Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and other Muslim minorities. Egypt was widely criticized for persecution of the Coptic Christians as well as Shiite and Sufi minorities. In Indonesia where Ahmadis were persecuted and Christians attacked, the religious extremists stoked religious violence against the local Buddhists in reprisal for the alleged persecution of Muslim brothers in Myanmar. Malaysia is not exculpatory of discrimination against minorities, where the Islamic fundamentalism is on the rise.
CONCLUSION: In a twist of event Myanmar which transformed itself into a democratic society on being aspired to wiggle free from the economic sanctions imposed by the West placed great expectation to foster close relationship with the West, particularly the United States. Appreciative as was of the continued commitment to the country's transition to democracy, nonetheless all that was anticipated turned to somewhat disenchantment over the unwarranted Western pressure in favour of the illegitimate demands made by the disfranchised Bengalis based on beguiled claims. The Bengali Muslims are small in numbers but are lousy on the international scene and awfully good on manipulating the general public. The bellicose rhetoric addressing on the identity woes compounded with religious colouring not only agitated the Muslim world but also held the Western audience spell-bound. The Bengali population who concentrates in Rakhaing state constitutes a fraction of the Muslim community in Myanmar. They are not recognized by the government of Myanmar as a national race, nor were they featured as an indigenous race by the Imperialist British but only categorized them in the religion grouping along with other Muslims from different parts of India. Those who brought pressure on Myanmar should not ignore that the Islamist separatists Bengalis were economic immigrants from what is now Bangladesh, who fought the national army flying Pakistan flag, or the fact that the Bengalis looked always towards their Muslim brothers abroad, al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives inclusive, consolidating the Islamic solidarity. They have thus become a menace to the national security.
Myanmar would not be intimidated or blackmailed. Any measure under foreign pressure could prove counter-productive. Myanmar cannot be pressured to accept the demand for carte blanche citizenship of illegal Bengali immigrants. No country in the world even the United States, an immigrant nation and supposedly the most democratic society, welcomes just anybody who makes it across the border, grants unrestricted mass immigration or unscreened citizenship, let alone to recognize them as a national race with the constitutional rights to a political entity in the Union and a separate state within its territory. Given the current situation in Myanmar the nationality question along with immigration regulation is the sine qua non of national security. From Myanmar perspective the values whereon the Western nations took a stand are secondary to the top priority of national security.