Throughout the history of humanity, children have been regarded as the future of any society. Families generally regard their children as their most precious possession. Their lives revolve around their children being brought up as decent, educated, well-mannered human beings.
However looking at the television or other visual media today, we see people leading different lives in different corners of the world. In one part of the world we see the glorious, pompous lives of a certain group of people. Most of the children born in developed countries -let’s say France or the USA- are born into certain means; many of them have all their lives and education planned for them even before they are born. Special funds are allocated for their education. They are fed with organic food with all their vitamins and minerals calculated. Their sports activities are encouraged. They go to cinemas and theaters every now and then. Their self-esteem is nourished and they are taught to have confidence. Even though God is the One Who defines one’s character, and everything in one’s life happens as God ordains in his destiny, we can say that these children have the necessary means laid in front of them for being well brought-up, educated people.
In another part of the world we see thousands of people packed in refugee camps with no means at all. Their children being brought up in these camps have no access to proper food and sustenance or to humane living conditions. They live with no plumbing and no sanitary infrastructure, let alone proper education.
Muslim Rohingya children are living in such dire conditions. Child labor is very widespread throughout Myanmar among Muslim Rohingya children because many of their parents were forced out of their jobs as they were working in areas that have now been declared to be off-limits for Muslims and many others have bedridden parents as they have no access to proper healthcare. These children have to work to help feed their families. They have no social life in that sense. Most of them spend almost their entire lives confined to a camp. With the means they are given they can barely survive; most of them on the verge of starvation, showing signs of severe malnutrition. These children are trapped in those camps because extremist Buddhist mobs attacked them while they were in their homes. Some others who do not live in these camps are isolated in their villages because of massive and systematic discrimination going on in Myanmar. Their movements are restricted and they have limited access to food, water, education and healthcare.
One cannot help but wonder why there is such an enormous gap between the lives of a Rohingya child living in Myanmar and a child born in a developed country like France.
As a matter of fact, we have all these vast lands and the vast resources of the world; it is certainly big enough to give everyone a beautiful life. In point of fact, the land of Myanmar itself is bigger than France.
Furthermore Myanmar, previously known as Burma, used to be a mighty kingdom and it still has rich resources of zinc, lead, gold and silver. It also has significant oil and natural gas reserves; the country is quite blessed with rich precious stone mines and marine products as well.
When we take all this information into consideration, we see why the Muslims of Rakhine are going through so much suffering.Behind the conflicts in the region lie the interests of Burmese Buddhists to secure more land for themselves. In order to force the Rohingya Muslims to leave their homes and evacuate them they are basically putting into effect a carefully premeditated plan. Because of these plans, conflicts in the region are being encouraged by the state and these ongoing attacks on the Rohingya are more or less officially tolerated. Even though the persecution policy executed by the Myanmar government is presented as a “problem of post-colonial nationalism”, one can easily observe that it is far more than that and the issue is actually an extension of regional power competition. Underscoring the serious problems the Rohingya people are facing in Myanmar lies the calculation of Buddhists to secure their lands. To serve these ends, they are implementing a policy of severe persecution in order to make Muslims leave the region. This is the reason why the government is turning a blind eye to the attacks on the Rohingya; this is the reason why these Rohingya children living in the region are devoid of all these means European children are born into.
The fact of the matter is that the Muslim population of Myanmar, who’ve been stripped of their basic rights as citizens, who’ve been severely persecuted and are currently considered the most persecuted minority in the world, pose no threat whatsoever to the Buddhist population of Myanmar. This should be emphasized thoroughly because the Muslim Rohingya living in that region are peace loving, inoffensive people; before all else Islam, the religion they believe in and abide by, strictly commands peace.
All these people want is to live in their lands in security and to be able to benefit from the rights of citizenship of the country they are born in, like everyone else everywhere. They want their children to have the same rights as those living in Europe or elsewhere.
All these Rohingya children want is to be able to have access to proper food, water, healthcare and education. All these children – who are forced to work to help feed their families – want is to be able to go to school. All they want is to be able to live a normal life, instead of striving hard simply to survive.
In order to close that aforementioned gap the real task falls onto all of us. The international community needs to apply stronger pressure onto the government of Myanmar, a country which has housed many different ethnic and religious groups throughout its history. They need to realize that giving equal rights and freedoms to all the people living on those lands would only serve to bring comfort and ease, not only to the Rohingya, but also to the government and people of Myanmar. The international community should be striving to make them see this fact.
While there is such an easy and just way out, perpetrating such grave persecution and oppression upon innocent people and children cannot be justified in any way, shape or form.
Just like the children brought up in the developed countries as the most prized possession of their families, those children of the Rohingya people deserve to go to schools, to eat proper food and have a beautiful life as well.
Adnan Oktar's piece on Burma Times: