The final solution and appeasing the perpetrators

Monzurul Huq
Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

Photo: Salahuddin Ahmed


The government of Myanmar seems to have come to a definite conclusion that the time for reaching a final solution of the Rohingya issue has already approached. It is most likely that such an apprehension has prompted the administration not to hesitate in following the examples of discarded strong men of the past in getting rid of an entire population that it finds irritating. The stage was already set before the start of the most recent drama. Rohingyas were ordered in 2012 to move to designated camps where they were to remain until their fates were to be decided. Those camps are the stark reminder of the settings for another final solution somewhere else in this world during first half of twentieth century. We know what eventually happened to those unlucky souls caught in the trap of history. For Rohingyas, more or less same fate awaited and it was only a matter of time that the authorities were to resort to that extreme measure. The armed attacks on a number of police stations and security installations in late August served as the trigger and rest of the story we know quite well by now.


It was probably the mere possibility of losing face internationally that the ruling elites of Myanmar, headed now by a lady with the Noble Peace award hanging proudly on her chest, did not resort to the use of gas chambers for reaching the desired final solution. However, what instead they have done is no less torturous than being subjected to forced annihilation in small chambers fitted with devices to release deadly gas. Almost half of Myanmar’s total Rohingya population is by now forcefully pushed to the other side of country’s eastern border with Bangladesh, where they are now compelled to live an existence of which Primo Levi once reminded us with the following powerful words:


You who live safe…

Consider if this is a man

Who works in the mud…

Who fight for a scrap of bread

Who dies because of a yes or a no.

Consider if this is a woman

Without hair and without name

With no more strength to remember…


There are a number of stark similarities among the acts of two different administrations of two different times in two different parts of our world. Both nurturing a strong desire to get rid of an entire population for the sake of a good life for the rest; and both resorting to extreme means to make that sinister desire come true.


If the setting reminds us of the similarities, the reaction of others living near and far also brings back the memories of what happened not so long ago. As Hitler’s gangs were setting the stage ready for the eventual drama of what they called the final solution, countries around were trying hard to appease the perpetrators with the mistaken perception that rocking the boat at a volatile time would end up bringing more miseries. They compiled a catch phrase “peace in our time,” just as if to deceive those who were looking forward to a more humanitarian approach to find a realistic solution.


The response of the global community to the crisis of Myanmar’s Rohingya population reminds us similarly of the same spectacle that was being staged before the world plunged into a massive savagery. Though there are strongly worded calls on the regime to stop the genocide, there are also parties that would like to give more time to murderers with the hope that the lady with the shining medal on her chest can take the situation under her control and respond appropriately. A number of leading nations of the region, like China and Japan, are playing the same game that Britain was indulged in with Hitler before everything went out of control. The appeasers of the present day also forget a very important factor that the lady in question had shown no sign so far of her maintaining a distance from the goons. On the contrary, all her speeches and comments give clear evidence that she is simply too happy to ride the same boat.


There also exists another striking similarity of ideas of Myanmar’s ruling elite with those of Hitler’s inner circle that later became state policy of the Reich. It is the self-declared assumption of supremacy of race. Hitler did not consider non-Aryans to be proper human beings and obviously looked at his own race as being superior in look and thinking.  I did not have any idea that the ruling elites of Myanmar also hold the same assumption about themselves until I came across a recent column written by Philip Bowring. There the author mentioned about the comment of a Myanmar diplomat in Hong Kong, boasting about the good look of Burmese compared to the ugly faces of Rohingyas that the diplomat regarded as Bengalese. Speaking at a gathering of foreign diplomats in Hong Kong right after the world community was awakened by the misery of boat-loads of Rohingya migrants heading for the safety of neighboring countries back in 2009, the Burmese diplomat told the audience that the Rohingyas were not accepted as a one of the ethnic groups of his country. To give further evidence of that, he told fellow diplomats, “You will see in the photos that their complexion is dark brown, in contrast to the complexion of Myanmar people, which is fair and soft, good-looking as well.” I guess the leadership of Myanmar is still deeply intoxicated with the self-assessment of their good look.


However, we know for sure that this narrow perception of fair complexion with a good-look is a distorted perception that does not necessarily show the good side of human character. Count Dracula, the blood thirsty baron of central Europe was good looking too, and with a fair complexion with blue eyes. Are you willing to call Dracula a handsome man? Now, try to paint this picture in your mind. Madam Aung San Suu Kyi is standing right in front of us with all her charms reflected in fair complexion and soft skin color. But looking closer, what we see is blood seeping out of her lips, the blood of repressed Rohingyas. Are we supposed to call it a beauty?


(Tokyo, September 30, 2017)

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