Burma Times: By Dr. Khubaybe
As days go by, reading the news of horrors faced by Rohingya on daily basis, “Mr. so and so is killed by Rakhine; Mr. so and so is shot dead by police; Mr. so and so is killed by hospital staff; and Ms so and so is raped in Bangladesh unregistered refugee camps,” I come across the four stages of Dr. Martin Luther King taking about Injustices.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said that there are 4 stages to go through when one, here a community, faces injustices. As a community that has been facing injustices under the brutal regime of Myanmar for more than 5 decades, these stages of Dr. King seems to speak to our contexts. Some stages might have already passed or are being underway or need to be focused. I discussed these four stages here.
The first stage is, “People must ascertain that there are injustices being perpetrated.” With no doubt, there are certainly injustices that have been committed or are being committed towards Rohingya. International scholars who are expert on Genocide such as Dr. Maung Zarni, law professor Prof. Dr. Penny Green, Dr. Amartya Sen, and many more are calling the suffering of Rohingya as no other than Genocide or slow-burning Genocide. So we have gone through the first stage.
The second stage is, “People have to negotiate, in other words, approach the oppressor and demand justice.”To me, this stage has been already passed and still underway. Our elders have been trying in many ways or other since the beginning of injustices to demand justice from the oppressor. Nothings seem working. To me, the oppressor is committed to finish the project of Genocide of more than one million Rohingya.
The third stage is, “Self-purification.” Self-purification starts with the questions, “Are we ourselves wrong doers? Are we ourselves oppressors?” I personally find this stage very interesting because the above mentioned two stages need other party to be involved to accomplish the process. This third stage of ‘self-purification’ is, on the other hand, within our scope. We don’t need other party to purify ourselves. What we really need is to ask ourselves, “Are we doing wrong to ourselves? Are we committing injustices to our fellow Rohingya? Are we carrying out injustices to our wives and sisters? Are we fulfilling responsibilities of being a neighbor to the people of other faiths?” We collectively need to answer these questions before too late.
In fact, we have been committing injustices to ourselves by not being farsighted enough to see the traps of the oppressors, and by being so much divided among ourselves. One wise man said, “A community will be either in jail or in exile or in grave due to three reasons such as poverty, ignorance and division.” If we look into our situation, we as a community are in exile or in jail (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, etc.) or in the graves (including mass graves).
Therefore, it is high time that Rohingya elders whether in leadership position or in scholarship should lead their followers into collective self-purification. As long as we are injustice to ourselves, in other words, as long as we are oppressors, injustices towards us will never be ending. There will be one nightmare or the other.
The fourth stage is, “To take action after true self-examination, after removing one’s own wrongs before demanding justice from others.” This stage is beyond discussion here.
Dr. Khubaybe Twitter @drkhubybe