How the country proved to be one of the few voices of reason
Gambia has set an example for the world. If you want to fight oppression, the most fundamental quality you need is courage.
The small West African nation proved it by taking Myanmar to the highest court in the United Nations on charges of genocide, taking action on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
In an opening statement at the tribunal of International Court of Justice, Gambia’s Minister of Justice Abubacarr Tambadou said: “All that Gambia asks is that you tell Myanmar to stop these senseless killings. To stop these acts of barbarity and brutality that have shocked and continue to shock our collective conscience. To stop this genocide of its own people.”
This statement describes the situation in a nutshell.
There is no mincing words anymore: What Myanmar has done is nothing short of genocide, and the Rohingya are still hurting despite being miles away from their homeland.
The Rohingya refugees are survivors of the massacre carried out by Myanmar and its army -- they lost their families, their property, and their national identity.
And the barbarity was operated by their own government. Not limited to mass killings, the Myanmar army raped and killed Rohingya women, burned down their houses, and forcefully displaced them from their own land.
It is indeed high time that the world recognized the sheer brutality of the Myanmar administration, and punish the perpetrators responsible for the massacre.
Within our limited resources, Bangladesh has been brave and kind enough to receive the refugees to whatever capacity we have done so far.
But as a populous country, it has been difficult for us to carry the load of the refugees and ensure a good life for them, at least by ourselves.
At the ICJ, Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has been defending the genocide that her government has been carrying out, which is indeed a matter of great shame.
She once valiantly fought for peace and an end to her country’s military dictatorship, but now finds herself defending the army for killing innocent people.
If this is not a mockery of the Nobel Peace Prize, I don’t know what is.
The international community needs to stand by Gambia and raise their voice against the brutality with which Myanmar has been persecuting the Rohingya.
The world has seen enough bloodshed to last a lifetime.
As a civilized species, I would like to believe that ideas such as genocide and mass killings are well behind us, and to that end hope that Gambia succeeds in its endeavour.
The world cannot ignore the Rohingya crisis anymore.
Fahim Ibne Sarwar is a freelance contributor.