There is no greater indictment on the human species than when we turn on each other and slaughter in cold blood. And yet for all our technological advancements, scientific breakthroughs, civil-rights achievements, and individual freedoms, we still succumb to those primeval, dark, and unspeakable acts of genocide. The very fact that we needed to invent a term to convey the message of “people killing” is a stain on our history as a species. What is currently happening to the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar (Burma) is exactly the sort of horror that shames the very notion of civilization and mankind.
The Burmese army and government have adopted a “scorched-earth” policy against the ethnic Muslim population, resulting in the violation of human rights so terrifyingly grotesque as to bewilder the imagination. The Burmese military has engaged in a campaign of arson, rape, and murder, including women and children. Human Rights analysis has shown via satellite imagery that at least 1,500 houses were burned from October 9th to November 23rd. According to U.N. officials, the death toll for Rohingya Muslims may be in the thousands, and since 2012 more than 100,000 people have been displaced.
To compound such atrocities further, the government, along with Nobel Peace Prize winner and democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, has issued one denial after another. In an interview with Singapore’s media outlet in December, she downplayed these acts of torture by stating that, “It helps if people recognize the difficulty and are more focused on resolving these difficulties rather than exaggerating them so that everything seems worse than it really is.” So not only are the Burmese authorities committing unspeakable acts of horror, but they also deny the very acts that threaten the lives of thousand of ethnic Muslims.
Is it any surprise that when criminals are allowed to conduct an investigation of their acts, they should all come out innocent? And yet this is precisely what is happening. A government is raping and slaughtering with impunity while denying the crimes they commit. This is an affront to any notion of civilized society. It certainly is beneath any notions of dignity and humanity: two characteristics the Muslims of Burma are being viciously denied. An independent investigation is absolutely necessary in order to stop further atrocities. Governments from around the world must denounce these killings and put pressure on the government of Burma to cease immediately or face severe international sanctions and consequences. Genocide should not be tolerated in the modern world. It is an affront to our democracies and our species. It cannot be tolerated.
Photo Credit: AK Rockefeller