Editorial Comment

Editorial Board

The need to call genocide by its name vital to the Rohinya people in Myanmar


The Rohingya, a Muslim people group in Myanmar, have been forced to flee from their homes into Bangladesh after a Rohingya militant group attacked police posts on Aug. 25.

During this incident, over 370 militants and about a dozen Myanmar police were killed.
This set off an ongoing safety military campaign by the Myanmar government that has put the lives of the Rohingya in danger.

A group of about 1.3 million people, the Rohingya are the largest Muslim people in Myanmar, a Buddhist nation.

They are mostly located in western Rakhine, a northern region in Myanmar bordering Bangladesh, but have slowly been migrating into southern regions.

The Myanmar government refuse to consider Rohingya as citizens and in 2014 the people group was excluded from the census.

A surge of violence has struck the Rohingya since the incident in August.
NY times interviewed Rajuma, a woman who witnessed Rohingya men being rounded up and executed by soldiers while they pleaded for their lives.

Rajuma’s baby was then ripped from her arms and thrown into a fire.

Her suffering did not end there. Soon after, she was forced into a room and raped by a group of soldiers.

Rajuma’s story is not an outlier in the Rohingya suffering at the hands of the Myanmar government. Many others have suffered a similar fate as she described in her account.

This story is just one of many accounts of the crimes being committed against the Rohingya and many others can be found with similar incidents of violence. Entire villages have been attacked and destroyed, some even being burned to the ground.

The Myanmar government has framed the military action against the Rohingya as a security campaign, citing the militant attacks as the cause.

The U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, sees it differently and has called this a “textbook case of ethnic cleansing,” according to the NY Times.

The Responsibility to Protect is a United Nations political commitment that was endorsed in the 2005 World Summit.

This agreement states a responsibility to prevent and act against any “genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and other crimes against humanity.”

If the U.N. officially declares the Myanmar military campaign as a form of genocide against the Rohingya, members of the council would then be expected to intervene on behalf of those being targeted.

Over 500,000 people have already fled to Bangladesh refugee camps, but the United Nations have yet to officially declare it a genocide or anything of that nature.

The media, however, has had no such reservations. Outlets like CNN and the New York Times have outwardly called it a genocide, and many journalists have done the same.

Meanwhile, the Rohingya people continue to be targeted and endangered due to the actions of the soldiers under the safety campaign.

The questions “what would you have done during the Holocaust” is one that has been thrown around a lot, many claiming that if faced with a similar situation, they would not stay quiet.

Still, hate and genocides are not a thing of the past.

People are still targeted due to their faith, nationality and other essential parts of who they are.

Many of these reasons cannot be controlled by external forces.

Faith, ethnicity and appearances cannot be altered by the will of a government or anyone else.

Now is the time to speak up for these people. Rohingya have been suffering abhorrent crimes for months now and it doesn’t appear to be ending soon.

Too many people are unaware of the situation or don’t feel the need to talk about it.

If you have stated that you would not be a bystander during a time of crisis for people under attack, now is the time to act. Make this matter known, and bring focus to it.

Not only is it our Christian responsibility to speak up, but it is our human responsibility as well.

We cannot allow history to repeat itself. We should not allow history to even resemble itself, when it comes to situations like this one.

Our nation, as well as the international community, should not allow this crime to go on any longer. Hundreds have already been killed, and thousands have lost their homes.

What will it take to start calling heinous crimes by their name?

The Rohingya are experiencing genocide, and something needs to be done.

Calling it what it is only the beginning.