Documentary on Rohingya genocide in Myanmar

This is a quite useful documentary about the military strategy of genocide against Rohingya in Myanmar. The video was published in October 2015, about 6 months before Aung San Suu Kyi became the human rights face of the military junta which continues to rule the country.

It raises questions however. One is the suggestion that violent conflict between Buddhists & Muslims in Burma goes back to the Moghul Empire (the Muslim dynasty that ruled India from the 16th to 19th century). The evidence is far more compelling that British colonialism over the region (which succeeded Moghul rule) fomented tensions between religious & ethnic groups as a strategy of social control.

The documentary also briefly lays out how the Burmese generals reintegrated Buddhist monks blacklisted & sustaining violent reprisals for involvement in the 2007 Saffron Revolution against the generals by whipping them up & engaging them as storm troopers in the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya.

The genocide against Rohingya does not flow from some organic disfunction between Buddhism & Islam but is a sustained political manipulation. What has been malignantly engineered can be undone.

Another question raised: in May 2015, many sources, including the UN, reported that 25,000 Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar were adrift in boats in the Andaman Sea without food or water, not allowed to land in Thailand or Malaysia. Only a few boats were allowed port, leaving thousands still unaccounted for.

At the time, authorities claimed human traffickers had abandoned the boats when refused port. How they got away is not explained. Swimming to shore? Paddling in a row boat? This documentary interviews a Rohingya man who claims that in 2015, the Myanmar military forced Rohingya from concentration camps to board a few boats, then towed them out to sea, warned them not to return or they would be shot, & abandoned them to drown.

So the question becomes more strident: is that how 25,000 Rohingya ended up adrift in boats without food or water? Is that why no agency, including the UNHCR, has ever shown the slightest concern about the fate of nearly 25,000 refugees? How many were set adrift by military tug boats & how many were captained by human traffickers who abandoned them?

The third issue with this documentary–& quite frankly what makes it somewhat dull & stifling–is that the adjudications about whether the Burmese government is orchestrating genocide is left to Europeans & Americans from Yale University, the UN, Queen Mary’s College in London, & Fortify Rights, a human rights group. What about interviewing Rohingya, if not in Arakan state, then those in exile? They could be just as legalistic as Yale law students but would have the force of experience.

There can be no objection to Yale or Queen Mary’s investigating; in fact it renders international authority. But they are not a substitute for the voices of Rohingya who know exactly what is going on in Arakan state & what to call it. This is an issue not just because of European supremacism but because the UNHCR just called for an investigation of genocide & is denied entry to Arakan state by Suu Kyi & the military. There is nothing to stop them from interviewing 75,000 Rohingya in Bangladesh who fled Myanmar just since October 2016 & not being able to go to Arakan should not impede an investigation for even one moment.