The Myanmar military has consistently used the pretext of the August 25 uprising by ARSA for their crackdown on the Rohingya, which amounts to nothing less than ethnic cleansing.
However, according to accounts shared by many Rohingya refugees now in Bangladesh, attacks by Myanmar authorities started well before the August 25 uprising, contradicting Myanmar government’s official narrative.
Survivors recounted that the insurgency was a result of being starved and terrorised for weeks as the army torched their crops, tortured and abducted villagers, and threatened to kill them unless they left — thus compelling them to strike back.
When women see their husbands being dragged out of their homes and their throats cut, when husbands see their wives being raped and then burned alive, when children grow up without basic human rights, there comes a point when the all-too-human instincts to survive and protect one’s kin take over and people fight back. That’s not terrorism — that’s a reaction to being terrorised for years.
Why else would a ragtag band of rebels with nothing but knives and spears attack an armed and well-trained police force?
Myanmar’s insistence that the campaign is merely a response to the ARSA attack thus no longer holds water; rather, it looks more like a clever ploy to get ARSA to act up so the military can finish its “unfinished business,” as General Hlaing himself described it in early September.
In fact, Myanmar’s top officials have made no secret of their hatred for the “non-native” Rohingya, and there is simply no excuse left for the international community’s failure to act decisively to end the violence.
Dhaka Tribune, October 17, 2017