Daily Archives: September 22, 2017
Tamilnadu Chennai stands with the Rohingya at a rally tomorrow
Many are unfriending me since my reporting about the Rohingya genocide. The same thing happened last year when I reported nonstop about the military killing spree in Kashmir. That’s just my approach to crises among those subject to war, occupation, genocide. There’s no apology for it. I just don’t do kitten shots when there’s a genocide going on.
India’s border guards using chilli & stun grenades against Rohingya refugees
BDNews24, one of Bangladesh’s leading media sources, reports today that India has increased patrols on its eastern border with Bangladesh to stop Rohingya refugees from crossing into India. One official with the Border Security Force (BSF) said “We won’t tolerate Rohingya on Indian soil.” Dovetailing with India’s attempts to deport 40,000 Rohingya refugees by portraying them as terrorists, an Indian official said border guards have been authorized to use “rude & crude” methods to stop “infiltration” by Rohingya refugees.
By “rude & crude” methods, the BSF means the chilli & stun grenades it is using against thousands of traumatized refugees who have traveled for days in flight for their lives, haven’t eaten for days, with many sustaining bullet wounds, knife & machete cuts, burn injuries. Some are elderly, some are small children.
Chilli grenades are called non-lethal weapons by the Indian army which also designates pellet guns as non-lethal & were approved for use in Kashmir in September 2016. They weaponize one of the most powerful chili peppers in the world to become a skin & eye irritant that overcomes protesters & bystanders. There is nothing non-lethal about them any more than “collateral damage” is an incidental result of carpet bombing civilians.
The Indian government is monstrous for this crime against refugees but who will rebuke them since all countries allowed thousands of Rohingya refugees to drown in the Andaman Sea in May 2015? Which government has the moral authority to protest when the EU allows tens of thousands of refugees from Africa & the Middle East to drown in the Mediterranean & EU officials have used all sorts of weapons to drive back war refugees from Afghanistan, Syria, & other countries?
The only political force that can defend refugee rights is men, women, & children of good will around this world standing up & demanding asylum for refugees from war & genocide.
(Photo of Rohingya refugees from CNN)
The impotence of the United Nations when it comes to war, occupation, genocide
Reposting this from one year ago whilst the Indian army was on a killing spree in Kashmir. These are political cartoons by two Kashmiris about the UN response to India’s violence & occupation. They are just as apropos the UN response to the genocide against the Rohingya people.
It’s one of life’s rude awakenings to face realities about the role the United Nations plays in world politics. It functions more as an agency giving official sanction to war & occupation than one of settling differences in non-military ways. It formulates lots of resolutions about human rights but can do little to enforce them & does not condemn nations in unequivocal terns for flagrant war & human rights crimes. That’s because the countries that run the operation are the ones causing all the trouble in the world.
But the UN also has a military force, second only to the US in the number of soldiers deployed around the world. They call their army “peacekeepers” just like the US Pentagon calls civilian deaths “collateral damage.” It took UN officials over six years to acknowledge that UN troops deployed to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake were responsible for the outbreak of cholera that made over 786,000 people sick, hospitalized over 434,000, & killed 9,700.
These are cartoons about the current UN silence in addressing the extreme violence of the 76 day military siege in Kashmir.
(Top cartoon by Suhail Naqshbandi; bottom cartoon by MIR Suhail)
Child protection an imperative for Rohingya refugees
Rohingya Vision is already reporting incidents of Rohingya children being kidnapped. Now it’s by criminal gangs but soon phalanxes of traffickers will show up posing as parents or child welfare agencies. At the same time, they are reporting that “Rohingya families have reached the peak of starvation due to the shortage of humanitarian aids in the temporary camps.” What in the hell is going on with the delivery of food, shelter, clean water, health care, child protection? What agencies are there? What are they doing? Why is there insufficient reporting on the state of humanitarian aid?
At the same time that we rally against genocide in Arakan state, we must demand our governments & the UN stop all their grandstanding & hand-wringing & start delivering massive aid of every kind to Rohingya refugees.
(Photo of vulnerable child refugee by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)
U.S. pledges $32 million in funny money for humanitarian aid to Rohingya refugees
The US State Department announced it will provide $32 million of humanitarian aid to Rohingya refugees & claimed this will bring the total of US aid to “Burmese refugees, including Rohingya” to nearly $95 million in 2017. The aid package will include shelter, food, healthcare, water, sanitation, & other aid to refugees in Bangladesh. Sounds good doesn’t it? It’s nothing but political grandstanding. Rohingya refugees will be lucky to see a dime.
In 2010, the US pledged $100 for humanitarian aid to Haiti earthquake relief; overall nations pledged over $13 billion to be managed by Bill Clinton & the Haitian prime minister. Millions were stolen, including by Clinton, & there is no evidence any was dispersed to build housing. They couldn’t even provide port-au-potties when hundreds of thousands were living without shelter. There’s no accounting of the money, including how much was actually released, but there’s considerable evidence that none of it was used for humanitarian aid so much as to turn Haiti into a sweatshop haven for US garment manufacturers.
In 2015, the US pledged $800 million in development aid to Afghanistan & had previously pledged millions more. But what the US considers humanitarian & development aid in Afghanistan has more to do with rolling in suitcases of money to pay off government officials & less to do with addressing homelessness caused by the war in Afghanistan.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he spoke to Aung San Suu Kyi after her televised address denying genocide of unspecified people in Arakan state. He told her the US found allegations of human rights abuses “deeply troubling” but “welcomed the Burmese government’s commitment to end the violence in Rakhine State & to allow those displaced by the violence to return home.” Did he listen to a different speech than we heard?
Let’s just cut through the baloney: if it isn’t funny money altogether, $32 million or $95 million is chump change compared to the billions of dollars US corporations are milking out of their investments in the Burmese economy. The US knows exactly what is going on in Arakan state; it understands the fascist character of the junta. But in the interests of plunder & profits & to counter Chinese & Russian influence with the generals, it has chosen to turn a blind eye to genocide. Reimposing sanctions, the US could bring that economy to crisis until the junta ended genocide–if it wanted to. But it doesn’t. Which is why they pledge funny money & play stupid about genocide against the Rohingya people.
This is 20-year-old Sameera with her 7-month old infant living in a cement cylinder in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Thousands have been living under such conditions for years & will continue to do so unless there is an international & sustained clamor for humanitarian aid, especially from those countries milking profits from Burma, including from this genocide.
(Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)