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Rohingya Refugee near Bangladesh-Myanmar border, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

The long Rohingya run is passing more than a year in its current phase – a huge number of the Rohingyaas in Bangladesh. Amidst diplomatic dialogues, and imperialist intrigues the Rohingyas staying in Bangladesh are passing difficult days.

The Rohingyaas’ days are harsh and hard, very difficult to bear. Their days are uncertain and undignified also. Living on doles is not a dignified life. Moreover, dignity dries down when imperialism appears friend. Imperialism’s “friendly” posture creates a lot of critical questions. Nowhere and never imperialism was friend of any people struggling for survival and justice, for democratic rights, for dignity as the two interests – people’s and imperialism’s – are diametrically opposite, contradictory.

The Banglaa monsoon has passed through the lives of the Rohingyaas staying in Bangladesh. Another winter is coming in their lives. Chilling cold will overshadow their shacks within months. Apprehension of sea cyclones battering Rohingyaa refugee camps is always there. It’ll be the Rohingyaa children and the aged, the Rohingyaa women and the infirm to bear most of the difficulties accompanying all elements. Shedding tears in this article mean nothing in real terms to these unfortunate people, victims of persecution, murder, arson and rape. Rather, raising hard facts of life and politics helps chart the future path. And,  imperialism is one of the hard facts influencing life and politics. Ignoring the question of imperialism is suicidal, an approach for making oneself subservient to imperialism. This is the reality the Rohingyaas are now confronting.

Now, another undeniable fact: Bangladesh within its capacity, and by heavily paying in many terms including ecological, is sheltering a huge number of the Rohingyaas. A few of the losses including ecological Bangladesh is incurring are irreversible while the total price is high for an economy like Bangladesh. The total payment, a high price tag, is ultimately being made by the Bangladesh people. And, in final analysis, none, neither the rich nor the robber aristocrats, but the toilers in Bangladesh are making the payment as only the toilers produce resources, surpluses, parts of which reach different destinations.

Uncertainties overshadow lives of these Rohingyaas: What’s waiting in the wings? What’s going to happen to their food-shelter-health-education question, to the livelihood question, to the issues of safety and security, to the issue of rights considered inalienable by humanity, and to the question of dignity all peoples are entitled to? The issues haunt the Rohingyaa people every day and every moment. This business of haunting is neither a hobby nor an amateurish act to the people. This haunting goes on as these are essentials for survival as human being. Today’s world proclaims rights and safety of wild and domesticated animals. The Rohingyaas are neither wild nor domesticated animals. They are human beings, a people; and they deserve rights, dignity and safety as members of the human community. Should the rights, etc. be ignored? Should not be.

But, this people are passing a period hostile to them. There’s geopolitics that’s now determining the path of their destiny. They have no standing ground in real terms other than rights proclaimed by humanity, which is a powerful and solid ground. At the same time, they now face a choice: Saying “yes” or “no” to any possible plan for turning them proxy of imperialism. Any of the two options – “yes” or “no” – makes a lot of difference in terms of time and real gains. This question is now important as imperialism identifies South Asia as a region for its permanent presence in different forms. A senior leader from the Empire has expressed this idea very recently.

How much the Rohingyaa people know about geopolitics concerning the region they are associated with? The term itself is unknown to most of them. Are they aware that the factor – geopolitics – is determining their on-going days, and their unknown days? Imperialism is making efforts to make them mere pawns in the geopolitical game related to the region. It will not be startling if it’s found that there is a plan to make them cannon fodder of imperialism – an “insignificant” issue to imperialism while a life-and-death question to the Rohingyaa people.

The entire business of choosing between the options “yes” and “no” mostly depends on goal and program the people like to achieve, leadership and leadership’s level of maturity, and leadership’s capacity to identify goals, and allies and foes. Mao, in one of his early-writings on class analysis, made the suggestion: Identifying classes hostile and friendly determine success. Option for choice vanishes if the role of imperialist proxy is played. Moreover, imperialist proxies are not having an easy time in today’s world; and coming days, it’s assumed, will be harder for the proxies.

Geopolitics is cruel at times, and geopolitics is difficult to deal with at moments. To anybody, today’s geopolitics is turning difficult for imperialism compared to the early-1990s as imperialism is wrestling with itself at times.  Who imagined at the inception of the WTO that imperialism would question the organization, would ponder leaving the tool, would say the tool organized to facilitate its domination is hurting it? But, now, it says: the WTO is troublesome, the organization is biased against it, majority of its judges go against it! No doubt, it’s a ponder-worthy statement: who is telling why. There are other significant, though small, shifts in the world situation, where imperialism is not always having a smooth sailing. So, turning oneself as proxy of imperialism is not a wise choice even if someone loves to dump conscience in the heap of denunciations, even if someone discards goal and program for a peaceful-prosperous-democratic life. And, goal and program for a peaceful-prosperous-democratic life can never be achieved with imperialism’s “friendship” as imperialist economy doesn’t allow prosperity to any people anywhere, even not in imperialist country. Moreover, a look at the vanished widely-propagated American Dream shows limits of imperialist economy. It’s not possible for imperialist economy to help other lands as the economy can survive only by pauperizing people and plundering lands around the world.

It’ll be a foolish business for the Rohingyaas to allow imperialism to turn them into a time bomb in the region. The time bomb, if planned and executed, will be disastrous for many including the Rohingyaas, Bangladesh and others in the region although there are calls by some quarters to invoke R2P for intervention, a disgraceful act and a dangerous proxy-game. This move makes anyone apprehensive: Is there a long-term plan for imperialist intervention in the region? Is the plan being initiated? Or, has it already started rolling?

It’s a question: How can one suggest invoking R2P after the experiences of Iraq and Libya, empirical evidences, not a theoretical discourse? Shall that – invoking R2P for intervention – be beneficial to any people and to any land other than imperialism? Shall not it hurt Bangladesh, a striving economy powered by the toils of millions in home and at abroad? Is issuing the call a responsible act with obligation to Bangladesh people? Even, it will not help the Rohingyaas. Has not imperialism abandoned its once-friends, its once-proxies? Very recent examples, months-old, are available if someone likes to forget imperialism’s long history of abandoning its friends. Who can forget, from recent-past, Marcos and Noriega, and the way they were dumped? Marcos was humiliatingly helicopter-picked from the presidential palace ground in Manila while Noriega experienced a brutal blow after ending in an imperial prison. No prudent leadership with the aim of attaining rights and obligation to its people depends on imperialism. Shall not the Rohingyaas consider this aspect and move prudently? The answer depends on the Rohingyaas.

Has the Bangladesh anti-imperialist camp protested and denounced the call for invoking R2P for initiating intervention? Has it discussed implication of issuing such a call? A silence on the issue brings nothing but shame for the anti-imperialist camp, expands scope for furthering the call by imperialist proxies, helps create ground for imperialist intervention, records shameful performance or non-performance of the anti-imperialist camp in Bangladesh, and ultimately shows the anti-imperialist camp abandoned its anti-imperialist fight.

For the Rohingyaas, the call for imperialist intervention will be hurting. It, in no way, will further their cause. Any imperialist intervention in any land is only for furthering imperialist interests. Doesn’t the history of imperialism and following developments in intervened countries bear evidences to support the claim, related to imperialist interests, made above?

Who in today’s world stands with imperialism? None, but its lackeys and proxies. None with a sense of dignity, none seeking justice and rights, none with the aspiration for self-reliance, none with dream for a prosperous and dignified nation stands for imperialism. Have not Fidel and his country – Cuba – showed it repeatedly over the last decades?

Over-enthusiasm of the imperialist/mainstream media with the Rohingyaa issue is noteworthy. Although the same media very-often goes near-mute on the Yemeni people’s suffering. But, the Yemeni people are the same suffering people, the same brethren. The Yemeni children and their mothers suffer the same pain as the Rohingyaa children and the mothers, the Rohingyaa orphans suffer. In one case, it’s over-loud while in another case, it’s near-silent. Has ever the imperialist/mainstream media went for any people’s genuine cause? Nowhere and never. The same evidence is present in the cases of Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua. How much information the imperialist/mainstream media has presented on the corrupt elites in Brazil, their corruption in terms of money and in terms of their political plays? How much information this media has presented on the assassination campaign by the rightists to foil democratic movement of the people in Colombia? Audience of this media knows the answer: Almost nil, almost hiding the Brazilian elite-corruption, almost hiding the Colombian assassinations. How much support this media extended to Arafat and to the Palestinian people? Not at all. Then, is not it a question: Why this media is over-loud with the Rohingyaa cause? Is it genuine? Or, is there some other agenda the bosses have in their pockets? The Rohingyaa people should take this issue into consideration. It’s the Rohingyaa people to decide.

Against the backdrop of this existing reality the Rohingyaa people are to decide their journey, to choose their friends and not-friends, to articulate their aspiration, to decide about their form of move for gaining rights and justice. Their rights include democratic rights, fundamental rights, human rights, birth rights, environmental and ecological rights, rights as members of the world human society. These rights are inalienable, un-snatchable, undeniable. None can snatch away these rights, none can deny these rights. These rights are included in democratic movement. And, all democratic movements must be anti-imperialist as imperialism stands against people’s democratic movement. In today’s world, there’s no space left for democratic movement to establish alliance with imperialism as imperialism is opposed to democracy for the people. The facts, in brief, are: The interest democratic movement strives to secure is completely different from the interest imperialism defends; imperialism moves with its own economic, political and geopolitical agenda while the agenda of democratic movement is opposed to that of the imperialists; democratic movement is for people’s rights while imperialism never ensures people’s rights. A deviation from this stand makes a democratic movement an appendage of imperialism, takes away democratic character and essence of the movement. The Rohingyaa people should take this – the question of imperialism – into their consideration; they should decide their path free from any provocation and adventurism as provocation and adventurism aids imperialism and co. – enemy of people.

Farooque Chowdhury writes from Dhaka.

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