Letter on the Rohingya refugee crisis (II)

Sir, I am writing to thank you for the important and informative article on the ongoing Rohingiya refugee crisis (article bears the same title) in the October 1-15, 2017 issue of MEL. I would like to first of all express my sincere regret and sadness at the plight of the people who have been displaced from their homes in Myanmar. I would also like to join you in condemning the attitude and the behaviour of the government of India that has said that they would send them back to Myanmar possibly into the hands of certain oppression under the military and government of Myanmar. The article has correctly pointed out that the policy of the government is at odds with the large hearteness of Indian people who have always welcomed the most unfortunate people and have offered them care and sanctuary through history. The article is also marked by its careful attention to detail in addition to its sympathy to the refugees, and is greatly educational in content. In particular, it is shown that the problems are a continuation of the legacy of divide and rule of the British colonialists, and which have not been resolved after 1948 when what was then called Burma became independent of colonial rule.

It has been pointed out that the people who live in the Rakhine region have never had their rights recognized by Burma/Myanmar. Furthermore, it is the stand of the government in Myanmar that these persons do not belong in Myanmar and should go back to Bangladesh or India from where their ancestors purportedly came. This flies in the face of modern definition of rights and nationalities and should be condemned.

That said, it also brings into question the entire treatment of the national question in all the countries of the region that were under British rule. A refusal to contend with these issues in a principled manner precisely those pretexts for large imperialist powers to interfere in the internal affairs of countries, including in Myanmar at this time. It has been pointed out in this article that in the region large deposits of hydrocarbons have been discovered in the early part of the present century, and that China has helped Myanmar develop these natural resources and has also built a port and pipeline for transport of hydrocarbons over a 770 km pipeline, thereby shortening the path for oil tankers and also avoiding strategic areas such as the Straits of Malacca through which shipping lines had to pass in order to get to China directly.

It should be emphasized that all bilateral ties between countries is entirely the business of the two parties involved and no other country, big or small that is in no way affected by such ties should have a say in such ties. Thus, it appears that the present brouhaha over human rights abuses in Myanmar is something that the US impeialists have whipped up in order to blackmail the government of Myanmar and to interfere in its relations with China. That said, the actual denial of rights should be condemend and all means available should be brought to end the suffering of the Rohingiya people. Furthermore, there is an object lesson to all the peoples of the region, including India that if the problems of, e.g., the North-East part of India are not settled in the favour of the people, it could pave the path to disaster for all the peoples of the region. I take this opportunity to thank you for having provided such an indepth coverage of a burning issue on the periphery of the country.

I also support the call to build the unity and solidarity of all the peoples of the region.

A. Narayan, Bangalore

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