Crimes That Remain Unpunished: Genocide Against The Rohingya People
22 June 2015
By Tariq A. Al Maeena
In the chronicles of history, many crimes have been recorded that have sometimes
escaped retribution. In recent times, it has been state-sponsored criminal
intent and activity, some of which continues today that has gone unpunished.
Take, for instance, the state-sponsored crime of genocide against the Rohingya
people in Myanmar. As the world watches, this group is under threat of
extermination by Buddhist extremists who want to rid their soil of these
marginalised people. While we watch and sputter a few words of meaningless
protests, the Rohingya fall and die daily. At this rate, they will soon perish
and become a blot in our history.
The plight of the Rohingya today is not unlike the mass slaughter of the Tutsi
tribe by the ruling majority Hutu tribe in Rwanda back in 1994. An estimated one
million Tutsis were massacred by a government-orchestrated genocide. It was an
open season to kill, as the Rwandan army and Hutu civilians took to hacking and
downing the helpless and outnumbered Tutsis.
Declassified US documents released early last year point out to the Clinton
administration's refusal to term the 1994 mass killings in Rwanda as a genocide.
One such document attributed to the US State Department read: ''Be careful.
Genocide finding could commit the US government to actually ‘do something'.''
Seven years later, the current US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha
Power, described the US inaction in a 2001 article titled ‘Bystanders to
Genocide'. She wrote: ''The United States did much more than fail to send troops.
It led a successful effort to remove most of the UN peacekeepers who were
already in Rwanda. It aggressively worked to block the subsequent authorisation
of UN reinforcements.''
Bill Clinton, the US president at the time, later acknowledged that his
country's policies towards Rwanda were mismanaged.
''If we'd gone in sooner, I believe we could have saved at least a third of the
lives that were lost... it had an enduring impact on me.''
He added that if he had sent around 10,000 troops into the country, thousands of
lives could have been spared. In an interview with a TV network, Clinton said
that the failure of his administration to act during the genocide, which claimed
the lives of around a million Rwandans, was one of the reasons behind the
establishment of the Clinton Foundation.
Granted, it was not the US that orchestrated the mass genocide in Rwanda, but it
was in a position to help stop it. But in another time and in another place, the
US indeed has been complicit in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent
civilians. Such assertions come from no less than one of their own — a renowned
and respected attorney who recently passed away.
Vincent Bugliosi, a former deputy district attorney for the Los Angeles County,
rose to fame for his central role in prosecuting the bizarre murders that
terrorised California in the summer of 1969. Those murders were at the behest of
Charles Manson. He was successful in sending Manson and his groupies to prison
for the murders and followed his successful stint as a prosecutor by authoring a
series of best-selling books, the most famous perhaps being Helter Skelter,
which was released in 1974 and provided an account of the Manson case.
In 2008, Bugliosi released a controversial book titled, The Prosecution of
George W. Bush for Murder, in which he laid out a series of reasons why Bush
should be held accountable for war crimes that he engineered when he took off on
his adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In keeping with the prevailing atmosphere at the time, mainstream media ignored
any criticism of the policies of the US president and downplayed the release of
his latest novel.
In an interview with Michael Collins, a Washington DC area writer, researcher
and citizen journalist who addresses subjects corporate media ignores, Bugliosi
laid out his specifics against the sitting president. ''Apparently, it's okay for
George Bush to take this nation to war on a lie, to be responsible, criminally
responsible for well over 100,000 deaths, but it's not okay to prosecute him.
Not only isn't it okay to prosecute him, it isn't even okay to talk about
prosecuting him. This is unbelievable what's going on in this country. How can
we have a country where they permit a president to do what he did and they do
absolutely nothing to him except to try to protect him?
''This is... just absolutely terrible, and the question is how evil, how
criminal, how perverse, how sick can George Bush and his people be? And yet they
got away with all of this. As I'm talking to you right now, there are well over
100,000 people — some estimates go in excess of a million — well over 100,000
precious human beings who are in their cold graves right now because of it. But
so far, George Bush has gotten away with murder and we, the American people,
cannot let him do this. He's gotten away with murder, and no one is doing
Vincent Bugliosi is no more among us, but his words should stir the moral fibres
of those who continue to condone state-sponsored genocide and terrorism in the
name of freedom or democracy. The voices from the graves cry out for
Tariq A. Al Maeena is a Saudi socio-political commentator. He lives in
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. You can follow him on www.twitter.com/@talmaeena