Via Dr. Maung Zarni
Dear US State Dept,
This current violence was immediately proceeded multiple Buddhist organization’s resolutions forbidding financial and further contact and aide to Rohingya with threats including label of traitor.The AP story from Yangon that has hit the international news today reports that the violence above is bilateral aggression with Buddhist casualties and property destruction. This was verified by the Myanmar government spokeperson for Rakhine Myo Thant and Rakhine StateAttorney-General Hla Thein. These two gentleman are members of the ruling regime, which has been implicated in attacks on Rohingya in June and July by human Rights Watch’s report “The Government Could have Stopped This.”President Thein Sein‘s most recent call for more benevolence toward Muslims in Burma was nice but ineffective in halting third party aggression nor absolving the State of any role in direct violence and other human rights violations of Rohingya.The US and international community will not step in to stop the violence, nor call this violence genocide or ethnic cleansing which obligates intervention.The violence is at such a high and diffuse level that Rohingya are not able to go outdoors to collect money from banks, or get to transportation out of Rakhine. They are still turned away from close by Bangladesh. The Rohingya are trapped in Rakhine.
As much as I absolutely agree that the Rohingya have the right to stay where they and their ancestors have lived, Rakhine, Myanmar, aka Burma. Rohingya in harms way and threatened by harm who are inside Burma, especially Rakhine, should have the freedom to chose whether to stay or leave. I believe survival and life free from humiliating and torturous persecution is their priority. Right now they do not have the choice because they are trapped in Rakhine. They are sitting ducks with Rakhine violence increasing and State security forces watching, not intervening.
I propose the US take the lead in negotiating a facilitated exodus for the Rohingya who chose to leave. The OIC has proposed ~200 million dollars in relief. Have this money go for immediate transport, refuge and long term resettlement of Rohingya, if they chose. It is not undoable. The Muslim world is upset specifically about the lack of US and other Western country attention let alone aggressive negotiation or intervention on behalf of the Rohingya. Other rational and irrational anger is being funneled into complaints about the plight of Rohingya.
Please don’t let this be another Bosnia, Nazi Germany and Rwanda where
the international community steps in only in time to dig up or bury the dead.
Nora E. Rowley MD MPH