Parade of politics
If Bangladesh turns harsh about bearing the brunt of Rohingya exodus and India assists with relief, then the international community must rationalise its concern.
Did Germany spring a surprise with the recent federal election result? The three coalition partners lost support and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) entered the Bundestag for the first time in its life of four years. AfD, however, will not be the leader of opposition due to lack of numbers but it is still the third strongest force in the Bundestag. Chancellor Angela Merkel has never had such a defeating win. But going by the prominent trend globally, a Right-leaning electoral preference gaining ground is not uncommon. Donald Trump's rise to American Presidency and Brexit have pretty much indicated what to expect.
It has emerged from local interviews that a disconnect between politics and the people made way for the rise of Pegida in 2014 and the enthusiasm surrounding AfD. AfD, a right-wing populist and Eurosceptic party, managed to have a breakthrough on account of solipsistic, firebrand rhetoric. Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (Pegida) is a German nationalist, anti-Islam, far-right political movement that was founded in October 2014 to check the Islamisation that is allegedly threatening Germany. Their agenda starts with insisting on curbing immigration. It is observed that their support increases as their position gets more extreme, indicating a possible radicalisation of mainstream German society. A shock to the German system, nonetheless.
In light of the recent development in Germany, allowing refuge to over a million displaced foreigners has been a decisive factor in how things have played out there. Domestically, a consensus propelled Germans to generously take in increasing numbers of refugees. Germany's act to lead by example is bound to significantly alter the ethno-cultural dynamics of its society in the coming times. But in terms of immediate impact, there is a complicated aspect to this noble gesture for integration that is riddled with uncertainties. Germany has to battle the dual challenge of AfD and the most primary concerns about security, allocation of resources, and employment, which are assumed to be the rightful priority for the natives.
Talking about accommodating asylum-seekers, India is faced with a similar dilemma given the monumental crisis manufactured by Myanmar. The continued persecution of Rohingyas raises a question on the actual existence of democracy in Myanmar. The Islamophobia causing the ethnic cleansing in the most appalling manners is essentially a radical assertion by the Burmese government. This is to the extent that repatriation of refugees is an option that refugees refuse because of the heights of atrocities they will then be subjected to. As of now, keeping them safe, and with dignity in a restricted area should adequately take care of the security concern.
It is due to Myanmar's systemic antipathy and state-fomented xenophobia that sectarian tensions have been allowed to precipitate between the majority Buddhists and the minority Rohingyas. This betrays the weak civilian government that has managed to acquire a position after tremendous struggle but is still too feeble to consolidate force to assert its democracy. The military of Myanmar that could have effectively contained the crisis is reported to be only compounding matters. After decades of oppression by the military – among the most crucial maladies being absence of independent judiciary and economic isolation – there is understandably much reconstruction required in a nascent democratic Myanmar. Perhaps Aung San Suu Kyi's exasperating reticence is not such a mystery.
The internal dynamics of Myanmar may be preventing and incapacitating the prominent leadership from taking a stand in favour of the persecuted community lest it loses support of the greater majority. Although unjustified and questionable, this utilitarian position is consistent with the requirements of functional politics. In that case, with the international community constantly making statements, Myanmar must be pressured to part with its territory that was occupied by the Rohingyas if it refuses to accommodate its people. The influx of refugees is known to cause several kinds of disruptions and beyond a point, any state will have to overlook the humanitarian aspect and consider its national interests.
If Bangladesh turns harsh about bearing the brunt of Rohingya exodus and India assists with relief, then the international community must rationalise its concern and start articulating possible methods of rehabilitating displaced people. Services can be arranged, restoration to an extent can slowly be done by different countries in agreement, but more area cannot be created in places of refuge so as to facilitate a life of dignity – the most humanitarian of all concerns. Pushing away the responsibility of the people Myanmar does not want to accept has essentially internationalised the issue. Neighbouring countries may allow entry to the banished but this humanitarian gesture to mitigate the crisis is just not managing the crisis. Myanmar must be collectively made to understand that this deplorable overdrive of ethnic cleansing is no longer its internal matter.
(The author is Editorial Consultant and Senior Copy Editor with Millennium Post. The views expressed are strictly personal.)