Of Rohingyas and Bengalis: A tale of failed humanity

The fact that everybody deserves to have a safe life of his/her own regardless of creed, color, race or religion is widely accepted throughout the world. The world body which is the United Nations has been endeavoring to ensure this basic right. Yet, with a great regret we have been experiencing that a community has been totally uprooted from their homeland and has been being driven out of their home with such force that they are simply incapable of fighting back against this. The community I am talking about is the Rohingya people of Burma.
We must accept the fact that the Rohingya are very close to us Bengalis in terms of culture, language and religion. They speak a kind of Bangla which has a strong resemblance to Chittagoniyan Bangla and at the same time they are Muslims. So, it wont be an overstatement to say that these Ronhingyas are a kind of offshoot of Bengalis. It has also been suggested with strong justification that they are descendants of the people who went there to preach Islam and to do business, including the people from the Arabian peninsula. They reside in Arakan province of Burma where they have a significant proportion , though they dont comprise the majority. Nonetheless, they are a sizable minority in their homeland. Now, the point is that as I have said earlier everybody has the right to lead life in his/her own way. But these Ronhingyas have been inflicted with so much systematic persecution of all sorts in the state of Burma that they have lost even the idea of what is called freedom, let alone experiencing it. The question that naturally arises is what is the problem with this group of people as we know that in Burma people of many different ethnicities live. Some of them have been trying to manage things on their own, that is, pushing for independence. This can be illustrated by the fact that The Karen and The kachins have locked themselves in a bloody battle against the Burmas Military Government to get freedom. Surprisingly, they don’t suffer the same fate as the Ronhingyas. The Ronhingyas are deprived of the basic right of citizenship of that country. Therefore, despite the fact that they have been living in that country for no less than 200-300 years and now the 6th of 7 th generation of them are there(This is a very conservative estimate as many deem that The Ronhingyas have actually been living there for no less than 800 years) , now they are nobody.
Is it their religion for which they have been targeted? Is it something else? Is it their Bengali connection that has been the cause of their misfortune? We must ponder over this and think about a right strategy. We have been led to believe by traditional texts on different religious teachings that the Buddhists are very much peace loving and it is blasphemous for them to kill any living beings. “Live and let live” is their philosophy of life. As far as our understanding is concerned, the people who are behind the massacre of the Rohingyas are the followers of Buddhism. By killing Ronhingys and by raping their women, in what way they are ushering in a beautiful dawn for the Rohingya is beyond the common understanding of our intellect. Brutas was indeed a very kind-hearted man! The reasons provided by the those Buddhists that the Ronhingyas are evil and intruders in their holy land! According to this standard, most of the inhabitants of the New World encompassing North America, South America, some parts of Africa, Australia are intruders. What should be done to these people in those parts of the world? However, now We must ask ourselves how much evil the Ronhingyas are. Is trying to save their lives a kind illustration of their devilish activity? If attacked, shouldnt they try to flee to save them? Shouldn’t they try to protect themselves? Now, our peace loving mongol-faced buddhist Arakanese are so harmless that they find it playful activity to kill the Ronhingya man and women. Isn’t it baffling? We might think so. But those Burmese think it is not. In their opinion, you cant be innocent if you are Ronhingya. So killing and driving them away from their home can’t be regarded as a bad thing. This is so peaceful!!! If it was a battle between two ethnic people , we would at least think that they had been influenced by issues beyond explanation. But the case is different. This systematic annihilation of the Rohingyas is backed by Burmese government. There are so many supporting pieces of evidence that it requires no example. Just keeping in mind that The Police are responsible for killing many Rohingyas is convincing enough.
The truth is that like every society in Arakan as well, there are supremacist groups. They want to wipe out the Ronhingyas. But the Ronhingyas are tough customer. However, if broken, this resilience does not come into effect, which is exactly what has happened this time. In the past , whenever they were evicted from their homeland, they found solace in thinking that people here in Bangladesh would help them. This was the reality as well, as many flocked to Bangladesh in the past from the oppression. But what has happened this time is shameful indeed. Many of them finding no other alternatives boarded on the small boats without any food or safety equipments and having starved , spent weeks in the sea, tried to enter Bangladesh. But how unlucky, how cursed, they were that BD border force denied entry and sent them back in the harms way. Think about the young children, the aged women and able bodied young men. How pale they looked in the newspaper photos! How dejected they were! how much rejected they felt in this harsh world! What was life towards them being rejected everywhere! Where else could they go? Think about those starving 6 years olds looking at the face of their mothers with the hope of getting some food and with the realization that their fathers were already killed. What is life towards them. One thing is sure that many of them have got their place in the sea after being driven away by BGB. The sea is indeed spacious enough to give place to these people. The sea would be an eternal abode for many of them. They got peace getting drowned. How many of them shared this luck, we don’t know. But we sure know that many of them suffered that. What else could they do. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Conflicts are common throughout the world. But people live in the belief that others will come forward when they are imperiled. The world helps the endangered. People spend millions of dollars in conservation projects for different animals. What an irony. In this world, when there are so many human lives neglected, rejected, deprived of basic rights of remaining alive, we spend so much on animals. There is no denying that animals should be conserved as well. But who should get preference? A big question? Possibly. But answer should be obvious.
What would have happened to our country if we allowed some other Rohingyas to come to our country? Ours is country of 160 million people. Yes we have poverty. But would we get more impecunious for them? Would we suffer from famine? Would there be a civil war? What? Nothing of these would have happened. But we could have provided hope in the lives of many people. We could have brought a ray of smile on face of those 6 years old children. We could have given them a little happiness. Is it the right way to treat fellow human beings by sending them back in the land of fire knowing that they cannot survive without our help. They are humans as well, aren’t they? We are humans, aren’t we? We are following neither religious teachings nor humanism. What is called humanity if humans don’t help each other when most needed! Where is humanity? Isn’t it now only a big word uttered by so called modern people who don’t believe it?

Of freedom, what is it?

Freedom is a two syllable word with so much implication that it seems to be the most important coveted aspect that we need to lead a life of happiness. It would not be an overstatement if I say that freedom is the most wanted state in communities everywhere. Freedom is related to a country’s existence, an individual’s thought, a system of living and what not. In the past, people laid down their lives in big numbers to acquire it , to get the taste of what is called freedom. We want freedom from subjugation, oppression, tyranny. Likewise, freedom of speech and freedom of choosing our way life have been at the fore of struggle over many centuries.

However, freedom might be defined as an highly evolved illusion of human mind which perceives a particular state as freedom. Interestingly, delving into the matter would trigger a question of whether we can be really literally free or not. Thinking freedom as lofty a state as we have been led to believe , it might be hard even to think that the realistic freedom in terms of wider range of things is utterly unrealistic. Are we free? Do we have freedom? Apparently, we are free to believe whatever we like!.

It is possible to distinguish different kinds of freedom and at the same time it is also possible to point out which one of those is most vital for us. We human beings have been created in a way to live a physical life with all kinds of biological needs. On individual level, fulfilling these needs take the top priority of which there can be little doubt. Food will definitely come first in the list. We want to make sure we dont suffer for want of food. In the past, the need for it caused violent battles among different communities , and between man and animals. The modern age with its numerous achievements has been the most successful one as to dealing the problem of food. Yet, in different parts of the world, many people die every year starving. The picture becomes bleaker when we come across stories of farmers committing suicide being aware of the fact that they are unable to meet their family needs. So, being in a state of first world life, we might think the world has advanced a lot, which to a great extent true, but many around the world are still in whirlpool of food insecurity. To these people, the most important thing would be to get freedom from the vicious cycle of food insecurity. Other aspects matter little to them. For us, living with food security another kind of problem is ineluctable. Can we defy our biological need of taking food? The question might sound a little odd. But lets think. Can we? The answer is obviously negative. So , to survive, to live, to lead a healthy life we need to take food. This is nature. This is the biological rule. We cant but follow this. So, in this regard, are we free? We might be free in choosing what kind of food we would like to eat , but are we free from the need of taking food. A physical, or rather biological obligation, so to speak. We might wonder why we need this.

Now lets look at another point from a different perspective. We know that this universe is being governed by a set of rules, of which I think every educated reader has some knowledge. It is thought that gravity rules everything. Whatever. Every thing in this vast universe follows the laws of physics and can be explained as such according to science. The moon moves around the earth and the earth does that around the sun which does the same around the center of our galaxy, the Milky-way. We can explain quite accurately how a particular object would behave in a particular situation . Now, are we human beings not a part of this universe? Oh yes obviously. Are we not in the same way subjected to the physical laws? Any guess. Your guess is right. We are also. As everything influences every other thing next to it by every possible means, we are also being influenced by everything-the sun, the moon, the air, the light, the environment, the people around us, and what not. Every variable comes into effect while we do something. Are we then free? From a superficial point of view, we are free, but in truth we are not.

In a so-called free world, can we do whatever we like? We live in countries which have enacted laws to regulate our lives. Every society has laws and it is made sure that the laws are upheld and applied. What if somebody does not like the existing laws? What if he does not want to abide by the laws which he believes unlawful? For example, if he wants to drive his car towards the reverse way in a one-way road, why would he be punished? Its his will. Wont the police come after him If he crosses 50km/h mark in a road of 40km/h restricted speed? Who has given the police the right to sentence him? The government. Who has given the right to the Gov? Say it is 70% of the population. But he is one of the 30%. Why wont he be able to do whatever he likes as he does not agree with others. Well, we know that every society has formulated some ways to control its member for the greater good, whether some people like or not does not matter. So, are we literally free??

Lets talk about family. A father has some duties to do , as has a mother. Their duties might be of same kind or different. Do they have the freedom to escape their duties! Even do they have have the freedom to choose from options? Can a would be mother decide not to remain pregnant? There are other ways, though! Of course, by means of test tube technology, she might become a mother. But, the natural laws are different. She cant escape carrying the foetus in her womb, as cant the father of the child avoid duties to rear the child, once it is born. They are duty-bound.If a person works for an organisation, he/she has to follow the organisation’s system. Defying this would cost his job, a must thing in this world. 9-5 job each day! Are the parents free; or is this executive free!!

Nowadays, some so-called educated people want to believe that there should not be any restriction in the lives of people. Many of them have the idea that following some of the teachings of religion curbs freedom of their lives. They want to experience freedom! Being under different set of rules in every aspect of their life, and being unable to redress these as these are beyond their capacity, their target is religion. Are they biased for some reasons? Or how much likely is the idea that they are simply delusional!!? Besides, It would be an interesting question whether they realize that they can never attain freedom in its broader definition. If a driver wants to drive his/her car, he/she needs to know how to drive. Although both the driver and the car are ruled by the laws of physics, if the driver does not know how to drive, accidents are inevitable. In the same way, although we are biological beings subjected to chemical reactions and laws of physics , we need to know how to lead our lives. If we don’t know how to lead it and if we always follow our impulse , the results might not be as desired. When it is established that almost every aspect of biological, social, professional affairs is intertwined with specific rules and laws of different nature, it is only natural to believe that there is a right way to follow in other spheres of life as well. Defying this would be tantamount to denying the very nature of our existence.