Assalamualaikum and good morning,
Without meaning to make light of the gravity of situation in the recent Gaza conflict, which in itself is deserving of our unbridled attention, there are other plights afflicting groups of people which we might not be aware of, due to lack of media coverage, because their plights are "not important to the political global landscape".
First, there are the plight of the Rohingyas, an ethnic group of mostly Islam by religion which traditionally lives in Arakan, in northern Myanmar. They are a marginalised community in Myanmar, deprived of their ancestral land and rights for Myanmar citizenship.
Prof. Gabriele Marranci wrote about their plight in three of his articles (in chronological order) : The other, invisible suffering of Burma; Rohingya Odyssey: a silent cultural genocide?; and Rohingya Muslims and injustice: a security issue? . Their plight are not even listed in the list of ongoing conflicts worldwide in Wikipedia.
Excerpts from Marranci's articles:
"Rohingya Muslims are victims of their lack of strategic value, both for their native Southeast Asia and the wider international community. Similarly to the tragic reality of Black Muslims in Darfur, their lives have no economic, or political, value for the rest of our cynical world."
"It is clear that the Islamic concept of ummah has little value when compared to political interests. Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh, as in other Muslim countries such as Indonesia or Malaysia , are no more welcomed than in Thailand. Rohingya Muslims have protested, even recently, and tried to make more and more people aware, especially other ‘brothers’ and ’sisters’, of their intolerable condition. Yet who is really listening to them?"
"...the majority of Muslims, even those so ready to violently scream and shamefully misbehave in the name of a free Palestine, will not whisper even a single word to help these ‘brothers’. How many Muslims have heard an imam mention the name Rohingya during his supplication (Du’a) for Afghanis, Palestinians, Iraqis and even perhaps the Chechen muhajedeen?"
" ...many Muslim governments...still play the ‘Muslim ummah’ card, as in the case of the Danish Cartoons, when it is needed for their political games - but never when ordinary Muslims, like the Rohingya, without political value to barter with, find themselves oppressed."
"...the discussion is not about them, as human beings or to address their issues, but rather about how to get rid of them as quickly as possible."
Next, is the Darfur conflict raging in Sudan. Last year, the conflict managed to grab headlines for a stretch of time, before being relegated to the dustbins of journalism. The conflict is between people of African-Arab descent (specifically the Janjaweeds, allegedly helped by the Sudanese government) and the Black Africans living in Darfur province of Sudan. UN estimated that around 300 000 people had died. Further information can be gleaned from Wikipedia and the BBC.
The Gaza conflict has ceased for the time being, but the Sri Lankan conflict is still ongoing. The conflict is between the Sri Lankan Government (dominated by the Sinhalese) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who fights for an independent state for the Tamil minority. Since the conflict initially erupted in 1983, 80 000 people has been killed. Now, after years of fighting, it seemed that the balance of power has shifted to the Sri Lankan Army, who has occupied most of north-eastern Sri Lanka (LTTE power base) and pushed the LTTE to a strip of land there.
However, about 200 000 civilians (est.) who are mostly Tamils and not affiliated to LTTE are still trapped in the crossfire.
I was drawn to these conflicts, because it seemed to me that the immediate circle of people around me are sometimes selective in tuning their compassion to the victims of human conflicts.
(to be continued...) Part 2