Protesters against Myanmar’s ruling junta have launched an unprecedented campaign of solidarity with the country’s most persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority, which has previously been subjected to a campaign of ethnic cleansing by the military and Buddhist extremists.
Today, Sunday, the solidarity activists published pictures of themselves on social media, dressed in black and with three fingers raised, in a salute that is a symbol of resistance, and attached the publications with the hashtag (in black for the Rohingya). Read also Traveling: The camera’s journey through the grief of refugees in the Rohingya camps The Rohingya massacres and the coup coincided.. 13 questions about Israeli arms deals to Myanmar despite the international embargo Is Myanmar a new Syria? Escalating violence threatens to repeat the tragedy With increasing repression, Myanmar’s revolution against the military coup slips into armed confrontations
The show of support by most of the Buddhist population in a country where the majority is Bamar, in sharp contrast to the situation in past years, when the mere mention of the “Rohingya” was controversial.
A prominent activist from the Rohingya minority based in Europe said that the online campaign is actually an annual campaign for awareness, but this is the “first time” that it has spread widely in Myanmar.
“I feel very happy to see people in Burma (Myanmar) join this campaign. I have more hope for greater solidarity from them,” he said.
Since the military ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi in the February 1 coup, the anti-military movement demanding the return of democracy has expanded its activism to include defending the rights of ethnic minorities.
The “national unity government”, formed by a group of deputies who were overthrown in order to overthrow the military council, extended an olive branch to the minority, calling on them to “participate in this spring revolution.”
The position of the military regime
Myanmar’s military has classified the opposition shadow government as a “terrorist”, while the council’s leader, Min Aung Hlaing, described the word Rohingya as a “fantasy term”.
The ruling military junta has stated that the Rohingya is not one of the ethnic groups it recognizes, raising doubts that the minority will be granted citizenship any time soon.
“The government of national unity (the shadow government) is talking about the Rohingya for political gain,” Bloomberg News quoted Zaw Min Tun, a spokesman for the state board, at a press conference on Saturday.
He added that the Rohingya were “nothing but a fictional name” for a group of people who called themselves by that name and were often referred to as “Bengalis”.
A bloody military campaign in western Myanmar in 2017, prompted about 740,000 Rohingya to flee across the border towards Bangladesh, where they reported that the minority was subjected to rape, mass killings and burning.
The army repeatedly insisted that the security campaign “was justified to root out the rebels”, while Sochi also defended the army’s behavior at the time, and even went to The Hague with the aim of refuting accusations of genocide against the military establishment in the highest UN court.
The people of Myanmar at the time did not sympathize at all with the suffering of the Rohingya, and even activists and journalists who reported on these events were attacked on the Internet.
For decades, most Rohingya Muslims have been denied citizenship, rights, freedom of movement and access to services, while authorities – including previously elected governments – have refused to even recognize them as Rohingya, calling them “Bengalis” whom they consider “degenerate”.
The military’s treatment of the Rohingya has prompted the United States to impose sanctions on military leaders, damaging Sochi’s international reputation and souring the investment climate