Rabbi Michael Lerner called today for secular humanists, spiritual progressives, and every religious leader in the Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, and other religious communities, as well as secular social change activists and human rights supporters, to speak out loudly and clearly against the the destruction of the Rohingya People.
Since August 25th, Burmese (Myanamar) forces have burned entire Rohingya villages to the ground, soldiers have indiscriminately massacred Rohingya men, women, and children, and nearly 300,000 people have fled on foot to refugee camps in Bangladesh, a three-day trek from their burned villages.
According to a Human Rights Watch report, this crisis is underreported due to the complicity of the Burmese government with Buddhist aggressors which ultimately does not allow human rights groups to verify the number of those killed and quantify the tragedy in numbers. With de facto leader Suu Kyi denying the atrocities, the struggle of the Rohingya Muslims continues unabated. The Burmese military has blocked both the media and international humanitarian organizations from entering the region.
- Stop the military’s firing on and forced displacement of the Rohingya people.
- Allow media, relief agencies, and human rights organizations immediate access to the region.
- Pressure Bangladesh to allow Rohingya Muslims full access to humanitarian agencies on their own soil.
- Support the UN investigation into mass rape, killing, and other abuses and permit the UN investigation team to enter the region.
Governments of every country in the world must act clearly and immediately to do all they can to protect the Rohingyas from this horrific assault. We cannot allow any ethnic or religious minority to be attacked simply because of who they are and what they believe. And we can call upon the Dalai Lama and all those Buddhists in the U.S. who normally avoid taking “political” stands to speak out, break silence, raise this in meditation retreats, and critique this kind of misuse of Buddhism. Just as we at Tikkun speak out in strong criticism of the way Israel misuses Judaism by denying human rights to Palestinians in the West Bank and in its blockade of Gaza, so we ask our brothers and sisters in the Buddhist world to speak out unequivocally to protect Muslims being viciously attached by the Buddhist regime in Myanamar.
For those who can participate, we invite you to join with us and other Jewish groups to demonstrate this monday morning, September 18th. If you can’t make this demonstration, we urge you to create your own in your own area. And we invite Bay Area congregations to work together to create a similar event in Northern California. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We at Tikkun and the Network of Spiritual Progressives are proud to affirm that “Never Again” must mean “never again for anyone–not just for Jews. We are outraged at the continuing oppression and mass incarceration of African-Americans in the U.S. (and the continuing way in which police murders of African-Americans rarely end in jail sentences for the police). But mass murder of a population is a clear and present danger which, if not challenged whenever and wherever it is taking place, might yet become a legitimated behavior unless we all step up and interfere with such behavior. We in the Jewish world who still feel the pain of having the world do little to stop the genocide against Jews, will not be silent when others face similar genocidal actions. “–Rabbi Michael Lerner , editor, Tikkun Magazine.