Oh Rohingya, Who Art Thou? Where Art Thy Homeland?

POETRY FORMAT, 2 Apr 2018

Maung Zarni – TRANSCEND Media Service

In deep disgust, I wrote the poetry this afternoon after feeling rather outraged and dismayed at what I have been observing everyday about the “Rohingya crisis” over the last 6 years. Ultimately, it is the crisis of Humanity itself, the crisis that exposes this deeply inhumane and immoral world run by those with neither the intellectual vision nor human compassion.

 UK, 30 March 2018

*********************************

Oh Rohingya, who are you?  And where is your homeland?
Oh Rohingya
you are many things to many people.
Oh Rohingya
you are a name 50 million Myanmar are brainwashed to hate who know next to nothing about what’s in a name.
Oh Rohingya
you are the content to erase from textbooks whose “not real” identity the snake-tongued Suu Kyi seeks to ban in her dubious Diplo-Speak

Oh Rohingya
you are a fundable project in the name of “local partners”

Oh Rohingya
you are an award-winning subject of reportage or documentary
Oh Rohingya
You are a legal volleyball played by human rights rights lawyers
On Rohingya
you are a security threat to nations and regions, potentially as “radical Islamicists”;
never mind that you have not blown yourselves up in 40 years since your lot’s genocide began.
Oh Rohingya
you are a new ‘boat people’ whose survival flights at night the United Nations bleached as “irregular movements”
Oh Rohingya
you are a subject of surveillance to many a “anti-terror sickos”
For you pray out loud to Allah when your infants are burned alive, and the world stand idly by.

Oh Rohingya,
you are a subject of worldwide charity, but the one which triggers no real solidarity.
Oh Rohingya
you are a subject of interest which neo-Orientalist academics & experts dissect, from Asian Studies to the US Institute of Peace
Oh Rohingya
you are sources of memories to extract, collate, compile and deposit in some posh Ivory Tower
Oh Rohingya,
you are an agenda item which UN councils will debate, closed doors, with neither substance nor results, for decades.
Oh Rohingya
you are creatures whose children have been orphaned by the hundreds of thousands
Oh Rohingya
you are a people whose women have been widowed, raped, maimed, & terrorised.
Oh Rohingya
you are this deeply pathetic world’s Celebrities from Hell
Oh Rohingya
you are a subject of endless TV shows, academic debates, photography exhibits, and policy masturbation
Oh Rohingya
you are Myanmar Commander-in-Chief’s “unfinished business”,
the High Command’s objects to exterminate,
the ground troops’ preys of mass-rape, whom burn alive, mutilate, blow up, fire upon, bayonet, behead or cut throat, literally.
Oh Rohingya
you are our world’s largest tribe of Survivors with No Promised Land to run to

Oh Rohingya
you are a people stranded on our Earth, shoved around like dirt by sovereign states,
you are a people without the Right to Belong or Settle-down

Oh Rohingya
you are a people in desperate need of a Protected Homeland.
________________________________________________________

A Buddhist humanist from Burma, Maung Zarni is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, former Visiting Lecturer with Harvard Medical School, specializing in racism and violence in Burma and Sri Lanka, and Non-resident Scholar in Genocide Studies with Documentation Center – Cambodia.  His analyses have appeared in leading newspapers including the New York Times, The Guardian and the Times. Among his academic publications on Rohingya genocide are The Slow-Burning Genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingyas (Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal), An Evolution of Rohingya Persecution in Myanmar: From Strategic Embrace to Genocide, (Middle East Institute, American University), and Myanmar’s State-directed Persecution of Rohingyas and Other Muslims (Brown World Affairs Journal, forthcoming). He holds a PhD (U Wisconsin at Madison) and a MA (U California), and has held various teaching, research and visiting fellowships at the universities in Asia, Europe and USA including Oxford, LSE, UCL Institute of Education) , National-Louis, Malaya, and Brunei. He is the recipient of the “Cultivation of Harmony” award from the Parliament of the World’s Religions (2015).

 

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 2 Apr 2018.

Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Oh Rohingya, Who Art Thou? Where Art Thy Homeland?, is included. Thank you.

If you enjoyed this article, please donate to TMS to join the growing list of TMS Supporters.

Share this article:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.


Comments are closed.