TEHRAN (Press Shia) – A London-based political analyst likened the massacre of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar to the Srebrenica genocide, and said the ethnic cleansing operation by the Southeast Asian country’s government is “nothing short of sadistic”.
“This operation has all the hallmarks of the Srebrenica (massacre),” Riaz Karim, the director and co-founder of the Mona Relief Organization, said in an interview with the Press Shia News Agency.
“The torture the Rohingya Muslims endure in the hands of the (Myanmar’s) government soldiers is nothing short of sadistic,” he added.
Dr. Riaz Karim holds a PhD from Harvard University. He is also the Director of Veritas Centre for Strategic Studies in London. He is also an analyst and commentator for a number of media outlets around the world.
Following is the full text of the interview:
Press Shia: As you may know, Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has canceled her trip this month to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) as she faces mounting criticism over the systematic killings and displacements of Rohingya Muslims in the western Rakhine state. More than 370,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh to escape violence since August 25, according to the United Nations, an average of almost 20,000 a day. What is your assessment of the Aung San Suu Kyi’ decision not to attend the UNGA? She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. What’s the use of having a Nobel prize? Why does not she make an appropriate move to prevent the tragedy in her country?
Karim: Suu Kyi's new party mantra as far as the Rohingya Muslims are concerned is ‘unspecified “terrorists” and not the country's military are targeting the Rohingyas' and the lame excuses they are giving for Suu Kyi's absence from UNGA are truly deplorable.
1. "The first reason Suu Kyi cannot attend is because of the Rakhine terrorist attacks," her spokesman, Zaw Htay, said in a news conference, "The state counselor (as she is called) is focusing to calm the situation in Rakhine state.
2. The second reason is there are people inciting riots in some areas. We are trying to take care of the security issue in many other places.
3. The third is that we are hearing that there will be terrorist attacks and we are trying to address this issue."
According to reports, we are getting is that "Aung San Suu Kyi will speak for national reconciliation and peace" in a televised address to the nation on Sept. 19.
The Nobel peace prize also comes with a hefty sum of money too, since she received the prize. Aung San Suu Kyi's political aspirations have overtaken her democratic goals and what you see today is the result of that.
This is the same Aung San Suu Kyi, who was garlanded for her dignified and defiant democracy activism under Myanmar’s former junta. She was once the darling of the international community. She made her debut before the UN assembly by winning warm applause for a speech delivered months after she became Myanmar’s first civilian leader in decades, she also vowed to find a solution to long-running ethnic and religious hatreds in Rakhine “that will lead to peace, stability, and development for all communities within the state”.
She is now being blasted by the same rights groups that campaigned tirelessly for her release from house arrest for failing to speak up in defense of the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar. This is how far Aung San Suu Kyi has fallen in the ranks of Human Rights.
Press Shia: The Rohingya Muslims has long been a victim of systematic violence and religious discrimination. The members of the 1.1 million population in Rakhine state have limited rights and are classified as illegal immigrants rather than citizens. Reports of violence and massacre of the Rohingya Muslims have prompted international human rights groups to call for urgent foreign intervention. Many of the Muslims are living in makeshift camps in neighboring countries where there are not enough water or sanitation facilities for the growing number of refugees. What do you think about the ongoing tragedy in the Southeast Asian country?
Karim: I said this before in a piece for Press Shia News Agency long time back and I will say it again 'This is a textbook ethnic cleansing operation by the state of Myanmar. This operation has all the hallmarks of the 'Srebrenica'. The torture the Rohingya Muslims endure in the hands of the government soldiers is nothing short of sadistic, when you slice open the belly of a pregnant woman with a bayonet, throw people alive in burning fires and rape women and daughters while their families watch, it surpasses all boundaries of humanity and therefore becomes sadism.
Let alone foreign intervention, the world should be in an uproar which sadly it isn't, even Pope Francis has issued a plea on behalf of the Rohingya Muslims, the world is big enough to house a million Rohingya Muslims and yet they will not, Australia went as far as paying the traffickers to keep the 'Boat People' in the boats and get rid of them.
Essentially the chaos around the world in Myanmar, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and other countries has resulted into something very noteworthy, It has exposed the extent of the value of human life over the value of human greed and I can sadly say that human greed has won every time. Our humanity is tainted with stains that can never be expunged.
Press Shia: On Tuesday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei decried the muted response to the ongoing violence against Rohingya Muslims, urging the Islamic governments to take practical measures to force the “merciless” Myanmarese government to stop the persecution of Muslims. What is your take on that? Why are the international community and some Muslim countries keeping silent on the sufferings of Muslims in Myanmar?
Karim: My respect to Iran and the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei for spearheading this campaign, it is because of him the world is actually starting to pay attention to the plight of the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar. Regardless of whether it is a Sunni or a Shiite, we cannot forget that we are human beings first, then Muslims and sectarianism shouldn't even be on the list, time and again Ayatollah Khamenei has extended a hand of unity in order to make some of the Muslim countries realize that when one Muslim hurts the whole of Islam should hurt. I can remember one of his quotes that answers this question in its entirety: 'Today, the Muslim world is injured and corrupt people who are the enemies of all Muslims are trying to cause disunity in the Islamic world by intensifying ethnic difference and separating people under names such as 'Shiite and Sunni', 'Arabs and non-Arabs’. The fabric of Islam is woven in many beautiful colors and textures, regardless of religious or political affiliations, when one Rohingya, Yemeni, Syrian, Libyan, Iraqi or Afghani hurts, the whole of Islam should hurt.